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The collection contains: classical Arabic poems (including copies of pre-Islamic Arabic poetry) with commentaries and glosses in Arabic and Soninke Ajami; Mandinka Ajami poetry; Islamic jurisprudence texts dealing with various subjects (including marriage law); Quranic exegesis; and, texts on the Arabic language and grammar with commentaries and glosses in Arabic and Soninke Ajami.

Led by Professor Fallou Ngom, the project initially focused on preserving endangered Mandinka Ajami manuscripts of the southern Casamance region of Senegal. However, our fieldwork team found on the ground when the project began that the endangered manuscripts were richer than initially anticipated. They encompass four major types: 1) Arabic texts; 2) Arabic texts with glosses in Arabic; 3) Arabic texts with glosses in Arabic and local languages (Soninke and Mandinka); and 4) Mandinka Ajami texts. Because all the manuscripts are equally important and document the preoccupations and intellectual traditions of the Mandinka people of Senegambia and beyond, we expanded the project beyond its original focus on Mandinka Ajami texts to include Arabic and bilingual (Arabic and Mandinka or Soninke) manuscripts we were allowed to digitize.

This is a joint project between Boston University and the West African Research Center (WARC), funded by the British Library/Arcadia Endangered Archives Programme. Support for this project was provided by the BU College of Arts & Sciences (Dean Ann E. Cudd and Associate Dean Nancy Ammerman), the Department of Anthropology, and Boston University Libraries. Fieldwork Team: Professor Fallou Ngom (Principal Investigator; former Director of the African Studies Center), Ablaye Diakité (Local Project Manager), Mr. Ibrahima Yaffa (General Field Facilitator), and Ibrahima Ngom (photographer). Technical Team: Professor Fallou Ngom and Eleni Castro (Technical Lead, BU Libraries). This collection of Mandinka Ajami materials is copied as part of the African Studies Center’s African Ajami Library. Access Condition and Copyright: These materials are subject to copyright and are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are fully cited using the information below. For use, distribution or reproduction beyond these terms, contact Professor Fallou Ngom ( Required Citation: Materials in this web edition should be cited as: Ngom, Fallou, Castro, Eleni, & Diakité, Ablaye. (2018). African Ajami Library: EAP 1042. Digital Preservation of Mandinka Ajami Materials of Casamance, Senegal. Boston: Boston University Libraries: For Inquiries: please contact Professor Fallou Ngom ( For technical assistance, please contact

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