ZIC Launches New Online Catalog

ZICPageArrow.001The Zohrab Center is pleased to launch its new online library catalog. The catalog allows anyone to remotely search the precious resources of the ZIC library.

The catalog is accessed at dac.kohalibrary.com or by using the link at the top right of the ZIC website.

The new catalog replaces ZIC’s original library catalog with a state-of-the-art system incoporating powerful research tools. The catalog is powered by Koha, a full-featured open-source integrated library system that is used by hundreds of libraries and research centers around the world, including the Armenian National Library and the Union Catalog of Armenian Libraries (ՀԱՅԱՍՏԱՆԻ ԳՐԱԴԱՐԱՆՆԵՐԻ ՀԱՄԱՀԱՎԱՔ ԳՐԱՑՈՒՑԱԿ)

“Our new Koha system gives anyone with an internet connection access to the treasures housed in the Zohrab Center’s library,” said the Director, Fr. Daniel Findikyan. “The system provides a range of tools to facilitate research in every facet of Armenian Studies,” he added.

World-Class Collection of Rare and Old Books

The Zohrab Center’s library numbers well over 50,000 items with particular emphasis in modern Armenian literature, Armenian history, Armenian art and architecture, Armenian theology and Church culture, and Genocide studies. ZIC also houses a world-class collection of Armenian journals, newspapers and periodicals from throughout the world. Many titles are not found in any other library in the western world and a number of rare and old volumes exist nowhere else.

As a non-circulating research library, the ZIC’s largely irreplaceable holdings generally do not leave the reading room. Every effort is made to provide users with electronic scans or photocopies of materials. Of course readers and researchers are always welcome to visit the Center during normal business hours or preferably by appointment.

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 6.59.39 PMEven though much of the ZIC collection remains to be catalogued, it already offers a wealth of resources and information to users. Researchers can search for materials by author, title, subject, place or date of publication, language and other variables. As they browse the library’s holdings users can collect items into a personal “shopping cart” and create various lists to facilitate research.

Surprises Abound

“People will be surprised at the variety of treasures we have,” Fr. Findikyan noted. “Researchers will find standard works in every branch of Armenian Studies. Well-known authors from ancient times to the present are represented as well as obscure writers, who are otherwise unknown. Surprises abound. Works by Armenian authors share shelf space with classic works by Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, Milton, Aesop, Dante, and others, which were translated into Armenian long ago by our bibliophile ancestors.”

Give the catalog a spin. Type your last name or that of a friend or relative into the search bar and see what comes up! Your great uncle may have been an author! Enter the Armenian village where your grandparents were born and follow the trail of books and materials…

A Growing Repository of Armenian Culture and Thought

Looking ahead, ZIC will catalog its many 19th and early 20th-century manuscripts, many of them eyewitness accounts of the Genocide that await study. The Center’s many old photographs too will eventually be registered into the database allowing users to search for images of ancestors. In addition, electronic versions of many rare materials will be linked to their catalog entry, allowing users to access them directly.

Researchers may search for Armenian materials by using the Library of Congress transliteration system, which is the international standard. Koha supports unicode, so in the future, users will also be able to search for materials in Armenian and other non-Latin alphabets.

As funding becomes available, the Zohrab Center will acquire a professional, high resolution touch-fee scanner, which will allow us to digitize rare and fragile books and documents to make them available to scholars and students. For further information and to contribute toward this and other projects please contact the ZIC at zohrabcenter@armeniandiocese.org or (212) 686-0710.

 

 

 

 

Digitized copy of “The Christian Literature and Fine Arts of the Armenians” available here

“The Christian Literature and the Fine Arts of the Armenians,” by Valerie Goekjian, is a valuable book that traces the history of Armenians through literature and art. The book contains information on religious and literary figures who contributed greatly to Armenian history and culture, including St. Gregory the Illuminator, St. Mesrop Mashdotz, Komitas Vartabed, Taniel Varoujan and Hovhaness Toumanian among many others. Armenian architecture and significant Armenian edifices such as Holy Etchmiadzin and Aghtamar are also discussed. To read the whole book, please click here.

Zohrab Center’s Book of the Week – The Other Voice: Armenian Women’s Poetry Through the Ages

by Jennifer Manoukian

As the title indicates, Diana Der-Hovanessian’s The Other Voice: Armenian Women’s Poetry through the Ages introduces readers to the work of over 50 female poets writing between the eighth century to modern day. Many of the poems featured in this collection, especially those written by contemporary poets writing both in the Diaspora and in the Republic of Armenia, appear for the first time in translation, widening the readership and the possibility for greater exploration into Armenian women’s poetry in the future.

Although readers may be more familiar with the poetry of Bedros Tourian or Vahan Tekeyan than with the poetry of their often lesser-known female counterparts, these female poets, frequently writing during the same periods and nourished by similar literary currents, provide an alternative perspective on society at any given time and expand our understanding of the reality gleaned from the work of male literary figures. It should be noted, however, that the female poets in this collection, especially those writing before 1915, represent an elite tier of Armenian society who had the good fortune of receiving an education in their mother tongue and having the leisure time to pursue their literary interests at a time when the vast majority of Armenians, both men and women, were unable to read or write. The earlier poets in this collection are therefore privileged women whose experiences, desires and ideas are not necessarily representative of their contemporaries.

Indicative of very different experiences across centuries and borders, the poets write in a variety of different forms and address a variety of different themes in their work. Beginning with anonymous folk chants and lullabies and an eighth century acrostic poem, there are also a great many ballades, odes and free verse poems in the collection. These poems vary greatly in subject matter, but generally focus on themes relating to two of the poets’ identities: their identities as women and as Armenians.

The poetry in this collection reveals an unwavering pride in their nation and in the unique experience of their sex that unites this otherwise very diverse group of women living in very different circumstances. The collection encourages the reader to reflect on the evolution of what it has meant to be an Armenian women and especially, given modern geographic, cultural and social differences, to reflect on what it means today.

Click here for a digitized version of the book.

Zohrab Center’s Book of the Week – “Pages From My Diary” by Archpriest Nerses Babayan

“Pages From My Diary” represents Archpriest Der Nerses Babayan’s experiences and subsequent survival during the Armenian Genocide. Fr. Babayan, who was born in Aintab in 1887 and ordained a priest of the Armenian Church in 1913, was arrested and imprisoned on May 16, 1915 by Turkish authorities. A survivor of the deportations during the genocide, Fr. Babayan kept day to day records of the atrocities he and his family – along with thousands of others deportees – faced. His memoirs also depict the daily life of the deportees when they spent fifteen months in the refugee camp in Port Said, Egypt. Fr. Babayan also writes about his return to Aintab in 1919 and the eventual evacuation of the Aintab Armenians and their escape to Aleppo, Syria. Please click here to read the digitized version of “Pages From My Diary.”

Rev Fr. Nerses Babayan and his son Yervant, 1929

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Zohrab Center’s library collection contains over 20,000 books and resources ranging from Armenian literature, history and religion to Armenian newspapers, journals and periodicals. Each week, one of the center’s holdings will be highlighted to familiarize the general public about the contents of the Zohrab Center.