Paygah-i Ittila" rasani-i Sarasari-i Islami
Iran's contribution to the promotion of Islamic scholarship and publication is probably equal to those other prominent poles in the region such as Lebanon and Egypt, but unfortunately less known to the world. Language barrier between Arab and non-Arab nations is one reason for this dilemma, in addition to the gap in culture and history. However, the best possible solution to overcome these obstacles is the advancement of information science and its services as well as knowledge sharing practices in Iran and in the region.
PARSA Islamic Data Bank is primarily an electronic publisher; however, the publisher of Reference series offers information in three different formats; print, compact disk and the World Wide Web. While highly considering the accuracy of the material in different formats the publisher remains impartial in terms of political or ideological judgments.
With the increasing demand in the field of Islamic studies, the scarcity of available tools and sources came into light. In order to address that need, PARSA Islamic Databank was established by the office of Ayatollah Sistani in 2000. As an electronic publisher, PARSA aims at assisting scholars to gain access to various fields of Islamic studies. They include all of the books, articles, dissertations, software and other works. PARSA's main area of activity is on the Internet. Its products are currently offered in three languages; English, Arabic, and Persian.
Reference 78, offers 5435 entries in two volumes containing publications about Islam on a wide range of subject such as: Morality, Narration by the prophet Mohammad, Mysticism, Philosophy, Koran, and even sections on Law, Social sciences, Arts, Geography, ...etc, also, each subject contains a number of sub-sections. Reference 78 covers material that has been published in the year 1378(2000) in Iran. (Based on Persian solar calendar)
It's also important to note that the entire information presented in Reference 78 and all other PARSA products are vigorously drawn from the original pieces.
Reference 78 has been crafted with three distinctive characteristics, in order to serve users with the best of quality; it is comprehensive, accurate and consistent in information presentation.
Scope and resources
PARSA publication objectives are to provide and distribute Islamic resources. Therefore, it is imperative to identify and define the scope of Islamic sciences/studies. It seems as if Islamic sciences only covers areas such as principals of Islam, interpretations, narrations by the prophet Muhammad...etc. But to present comprehensive resources, the following subjects have also been included: history of Islam, geography of the world of Islam, biographies, and Islamic cultural heritage. Hence the following guidelines are in place:
In addition to scholars and researchers in the field of Islamic studies, Reference 78 has considered a general audience with various backgrounds and academic levels. The following independent and state institutions have contributed to completing this project:
1. Cultural office of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance
2. Institution of Khaaneh ketaab e Iran
3. Islamic Studies Publishers
4. Academic libraries throughout the country
The content in the entire bibliography has been categorized in sixteen major sections and sub-sections; from ethics to arts based on Thesaurus semantic classification. Also, all works under each section/subject are organized alphabetically according to author and in the absent of author, by subject. Every information unit in this bibliography has a serial number and is divided into three major sections:
1. Annotation (Note: annotations in the entire collection have been compiled from original works)
Like all other bibliographies, every entry in the present work, is labeled by a series of numbers, such as Library of Congress Classification Number, Dewey Decimal Classification Number, International Standard Book Number (ISBN), and PARSA Number for a smooth cross reference in the online databases, it also includes five symbols; B=monographs, A=periodicals, S= series of articles, G=series of articles in a particular journal, and P=dissertations. Also, only contents with a higher academic value have abstracts as supplementary information, which covers almost 50% of this collection. They are primarily descriptive and follow these guidelines:
1. Should not exceed more than 250 words
2. Should be objective and leave the judgment to scholars
3. Contains key words for a quick overview
Sample of entries
Most entries in Reference 78 include annotation unless it is self explanatory. Further, volume 2 includes 11 indexes in alphabetical order such as: Title, Author, Publishing house, Periodicals, Subject, Also an index of entries by the Library of Congress classification numbers, Dewey decimal classification numbers, and title index in English. The entire work of an author including book, articles, translations...etc is accessible by reference numbers under one name in the same entry in author index.
Volume 2 also includes a number of useful statistical charts on the number of books, dissertation or journals published (all included in Reference 78) in the following categories:
-Diversity of languages
-Variety of subjects -Variety of locations (Iran)
-With a variety of prices
-Number of Islamic author/translator/editor......
-Number of most active Islamic publishers
Symbols applied in Reference 78