UX Awards

The Premier Awards for Exceptional Digital Experience

Qatar Digital Library Details


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Bringing the documents of Qatari history to its people for the first time.

In line with its vision of bridging with knowledge Qatar and the Arab and Islamic World's heritage and future, Qatar National Library has a firm commitment to preserving and showcasing Qatar’s heritage and the Arab-Islamic heritage and sharing knowledge with students, researchers, the wider community in Qatar and the world.

The Qatar Digital Library (QDL) is revolutionising the way that people study and understand the history of the Gulf region. The portal provides access to a growing digital archive, currently 553,333 records, provided with descriptions in both Arabic and English, for academics and casual users alike.

It is the result of a partnership between the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), the Qatar National Library (QNL) and the British Library (BL), presented in a site designed and developed by Cogapp.

Why this project is worthy of a UX Award:

The Qatar Digital Library is a leading example of a new type of online archive; the website makes scholarly documents available to a wide audience thanks to an easy to use, non-technical interface with a powerful image viewer.

User research was carried out in Doha, Qatar and in the UK to inform the development of the site. A prototype version of the site allowed for user testing and further iterations to ensure that the site meets the needs of the people who are going to use it.

The responsive design means that users can explore Gulf history and Arabic science in a way that works best for them: whether on mobile phones, on tablets or desktops, they can explore 475,000 archived pages from the India Office Records which includes historical maps and photographs and sound recordings, in addition to 25,000 pages of medieval scientific Arabic manuscripts.

Since its launch in October 2014, Qatar Digital Library has had over 2 million page views and more than 235,000 unique visitors.


“Fantastic new Qatar #DigitalLibrary by @BritishLibrary and @QF. Bi-lingual #library of Gulf history & Arabic science http://bit.ly/1wuHrEK”
Ed Vaizey, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, @edvaizey on Twitter

“We are diving in history and looking around.”
Anas Hasanain, Student at Qatar University, Doha

“Students, scholars – whether here, in the Gulf region or indeed anywhere on the planet – will be able to explore this material, find new learnings from it, make new connections and make new discoveries.”
Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library

“This is going to result in a whole new generation of historians, a boom in the historiography of the Gulf. This is profound; this moment right now is a milestone in the history of the region.”
Dr James Onley, Senior Lecturer in Middle Eastern History, University of Exeter

Submitted By: Cogapp

Client Name: Qatar Foundation Partnership, Qatar National Library, British Library

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