ARCHIVES, MUSEUMS AND COLLECTING PRACTICES IN THE MODERN ARAB WORLD.

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  • This article was downloaded by: [Northeastern University]On: 13 November 2014, At: 23:23Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK

    Technical Services QuarterlyPublication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wtsq20

    ARCHIVES, MUSEUMS AND COLLECTINGPRACTICES IN THE MODERN ARABWORLD.Kay Downey aa Collection Management Librarian University Libraries, Kent StateUniversity , Kent , OHPublished online: 15 Mar 2013.

    To cite this article: Kay Downey (2013) ARCHIVES, MUSEUMS AND COLLECTING PRACTICESIN THE MODERN ARAB WORLD., Technical Services Quarterly, 30:2, 241-243, DOI:10.1080/07317131.2013.760376

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07317131.2013.760376

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  • Technical Services Quarterly, Vol. 30:241250, 2013

    Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

    ISSN: 0731-7131 print/1555-3337 online

    DOI: 10.1080/07317131.2013.760376

    REVIEWS

    ARCHIVES, MUSEUMS AND COLLECTING PRACTICES IN THE MODERNARAB WORLD. Sonja Mejcher-Atassi and John Pedro Schwartz, editors. Farn-ham,UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2012, xiii, 234 pp., ISBN 978-1-4094-

    4616-3, hardcover, $99.95.

    This new scholarly work, Archives, Museums and Collecting Practices inthe Modern Arab World, was inspired by the 2008 conference, CollectingPractices in Lebanon, organized by the American University of Beirut. Editedby professors from the American University of Beirut, Sonja Mejcher-Atassiand John Pedro Schwartz, this book surveys the collections and collectingpractices in archives and museums in the Gulf Region. It is comprised ofa number of essays that describe collecting activity for antiquities, art, con-temporary film, architecture, and textual artifacts. Contributing authors arespecialists in a number of disciplinary backgrounds including Middle EasternStudies, history, art history, archaeology, anthropology, and comparativeliterature. This work provides unique case studies and critical examinationof Middle Eastern culture, collectors, and local practices from both historicaland contemporary perspectives.

    The essays are organized in three parts preceded by an introductorynarrative written by the editors. The introduction, entitled Challenges andDirections in an Emerging Field of Research, presents the readers withthe central concept that examines the process of building collections in theMiddle East and reflects on each of the authors chapter contributions. Theoverall theme centers on correlation of local and national identities in relationto art and culture of collecting in modern Arab society and the complexdynamic of the current art market for public and private collecting practicesin Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, and the Gulf Region.

    Part I, entitled Local Representations of Modernity, provides a frame-work for identifying Middle Eastern collecting activity and culture in bothcontemporary and historical context. It includes three essays. The first, Col-lecting the Nation: Lexicography and National Pedagogy in Al-Nahda Al-arabiya, by Nadia Bou Ali, examines dictionaries, encyclopedias, lexicons,and other textual works produced in Egypt and Lebanon and illustrates therelationship between language, written works, and national historical iden-tity. Between Looters and Private Collectors: The Tragic Fate of LebaneseAntiquities, by Hlne Sader, looks at the impact of past looting of archae-

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  • 242 Reviews

    ological sites on current collecting practice, the role of antiquities collectors,and the impact of antiquities collections on the national heritage of Lebanon.The last essay, Tawfik CanannCollectionneur Par Excellence: The StoryBehind the Palestinian Amulet Collection at Birzeit University, by VeraTamari, recounts the collecting methods of physician and scholar TawfikCanaan. It tells the story of his life work, his systematic documentation, andcontextual approach to collecting, and how the Palestinian Amulet Collectioncame into being.

    Part II, Collecting Practices, Historiographic Practices includes 3 es-says. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: Collector, Dealer, and Academicin the Informal Old-Paper Markets of Cairo, by Lucie Ryzova, provides ananalysis of various types of dealerclient relationships and business prac-tice of the used print materials market in Cairo. Ryzova contends that theuniverse of old-paper material available via the markets of Cairo serves ascollective cultural memory because, unlike Western archives, the NationalArchives of Egypt do not collect private documents such as diaries, letters,and photographs. Collectors and scholars must use open market materialsto assemble materials that document historical and social context of theculture. The Reform of History School Textbooks in Lebanon: CollectingConflict Memories in a Peace-Building Process (19962001), by Betty GilbertSleiman, provides an interesting look at a national project to rewrite historytextbooks for students of post-civil war Lebanon. Using textbooks for primarygrades as a sample, the author describes public policy and the developmentcurriculum that promotes civil peace and ensures unified national identity.The third essay entitled The Beit Beirut Project: Heritage Practices and theBakarat Building, by Sophie Brones, summarizes history of the Barakatbuilding in Beirut and provides an account of its transfer from a privateto public site, the preservation efforts of French and Lebanese cultural orga-nizations, and the municipal plans to transform the historical building intoa museum and cultural center. Brones shows how the emerging museum isdefining it mission and collecting practices to reflect the collective memoryand plurality of its local heritage.

    Part III entitled From Institutional to Artistic Practices of Collectingcontains four essays. The Formation of the Khalid Shoman Private Collectionand the Founding of Darat al Funun, by Sarah A. Rogers is the story of theDarat al Funan in Amman, Jordon. The museum itself is of architectural andhistorical importance and provides a public venue for contemporary art andartists of the Arab world. Rogers describe the museums collection build-ing activity, which is influenced by the Khalid Shoman Private collection,and its exhibitions, many of which support regional and emerging artists.The Ecstasy of Property: Collecting in the United Arab Emirates, by EmilyDoherty, analyzes the public and private collecting activity in the youngand wealthy nation of United Arab Emirates currently in the midst of greatarchitectural and cultural growth and production. The author discusses in

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    particular the collecting activity in the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi withinthe context of Walter Benjamins 1931 essay Unpacking my Library. Dohertydraws correlation between the collecting activity in relation to local andnational identity. Collecting Modern Iraqi Art, by Nada Shabout, focuses onthe development of modern art culture in Iraq, its art centers, and collectingpractices before the 2003 war. The author reviews the role of the artist inpost war collecting practices and the development of the museum of modernart in the midst of the post invasion contemporary art market. Shaboutprovides a context that contrasts functional art objects of daily life withhow contemporary art presents itself today. The final essay Collecting theUncanny and the Labour of Missing, by Walid Sadek, reviews contemporaryArab film and installations that conceptualizes and depicts the aftermath ofthe Lebanese civil war in terms of the survivors of those who are consideredmissing or forcibly disappeared.

    Archives, Museums and Collecting Practices in the Modern Arab World

    is appropriate for academic and museum libraries. It will be of interest toscholars and researchers in museum studies, art history, Islamic studies andthe Gulf Region, and the cultural aspects of national identity. It will alsobe of interest to those studying the art market and collecting practices inthe Middle East. The chapters consist of case studies, bibliographic essays,historical narratives, and descriptive analysis of contemporary art of theregion. Topics include interdisciplinary aspects of art historical research andmuseum practice influenced by political movement, military unrest, and warin the Arab World.

    Archives, Museums and Collecting Practices in the Modern Arab World

    includes black and white illustrations, bibliographical references, and a well-developed subject-name index. It is written in English and also available asan ebook, ISBN 97811409446170 (ebk).

    Kay Downey

    Collection Management Librarian

    University Libraries, Kent State University

    Kent, OH

    INDEXING NAMES. Noeline Bridge, Editor.Medford, NJ: Information Today,Inc., 2012, vii, 384 pp., ISBN 978-1-57387-450-2, softbound, $55.00.

    Indexing Names is a thorough compendium on how names should be in-dexed for retrieval from databases and catalogs of many types. This mono-graph addresses many of the issues an indexer comes across when attempt-ing to index names for articles and other bibliographic work.

    The editor has invited sixteen authors (plus the editor herself ) to offertheir expertise in resolving the problems of indexing names. The editor sets

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