Preservation and Access: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Period of Performance

7/1/2009 - 6/30/2011

Funding Totals (outright + matching)

$350,000.00 (approved)
$350,000.00 (awarded)

Encyclopaedia Iranica [EI]

FAIN: PW-50328-09

Columbia University (New York, NY 10027-7922)
Ehsan O. Yarshater (Project Director: August 2008 to October 2011)

Preparation of the "Encyclopædia Iranica," a multi-disciplinary reference work and research tool on Iranian history and civilization from prehistory to the present.

Encyclopaedia Iranica is a major interdisciplinary research tool in the humanities for scholars and students in Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Caucasian, and Indian studies, and for non-specialists interested in Persian culture and related fields. It is a vehicle for the publication of original research or synthesis. All of the articles are written with careful documentation and extensive bibliography by leading scholars from many different countries. Nearly 14 volumes have been published electronically and in print: a total of 92 fascicles plus 571 additional online articles. Focusing increasingly on the electronic edition (, we continue working on improving its accessibility and technical aspects as well as planning for enhancement of its search engine and metadata architecture. The present two-year application is for support to publish c. 375 articles per year of which 175-200 articles will be first posted online & 150-175 will be printed and then posted online.

Media Coverage

Prof. Ehsan Yarshater of Encyclopaedia Iranica (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Sholeh Shams
Publication: Rahavard
Date: 12/1/2010
Abstract: Interview with the editor-in-chief, with discussion of the history and objectives of the Encyclopaedia Iranica (cover, pp. 7-13). Language: Persian.

"Note 149 - Without Explanation" (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Ehsan Yarshater
Publication: Iranshenasi. A Journal of Iranian Studies
Date: 9/1/2009
Abstract: Reproduces the text of a release (in Persian) from Iran's Fars News Agency on "some of the founders of anti-revolutionary researches abroad," with particular focus on Encyclopædia Iranica (pp. 427-429).

Iran Scholar, at 91, Puts In 11-Hour Days on Encyclopedia (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Anna Spinner
Publication: The Record
Date: 6/24/2011
Abstract: Account of the work of the Encyclopædia Iranica in the tri-weekly newspaper of Columbia University.

BBC Documentary: Professor Yarshater with English Subtitles (Media Coverage)
Publication: BBC Persian
Date: 7/1/2010
Abstract: Interview with the Prof. ehsan Yarshater and discussion of the work of the Encyclopaedia Iranica, filmed in 2009, broadcast in 2010 (in Persian, English subtitles).

Associated Products

Encyclopædia Iranica (Book)
Title: Encyclopædia Iranica
Editor: Ehsan Yarshater
Abstract: Volume 15, containing the entries JOCI to KAŠ?ARI, and made up of: ISBN 978-1-934283-14-1, Vol. XV, fascicle 1 ISBN 978-1-934283-20-2, Vol. XV, fascicle 2 ISBN 978-1-934283-21-9, Vol. XV, fascicle 3 ISBN 978-1-934283-26-4, Vol. XV, fascicle 4 ISBN 978-1-934283-27-4, Vol. XV, fascicle 5 ISBN 978-1-934283-28-8, Vol. XV, fascicle 6
Year: 2011
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Encyclopædia Iranica Online
Access Model: open
Publisher: Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation
Type: Edited Volume
ISBN: 9781934283295

Encyclopædia Iranica (Online) (Web Resource)
Title: Encyclopædia Iranica (Online)
Author: Encyclopædia Iranica Foundation
Abstract: The entire contents of the printed volumes are made accessible, as well as articles for the rest of the alphabetical sequence not yet in print. The articles are formatted in Unicode for accurate and reliable viewing.
Year: 2010
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: This is a redesign of the 1998 website, with essential features added such as tagging and comments, improvement of search capabilities, and online administrative functions for real-time maintenance of the content by Encyclopædia Iranica staff.

The Business of Making an Encyclopedia and the Impact of Digitization: The Example of the Encyclopædia Iranica (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: The Business of Making an Encyclopedia and the Impact of Digitization: The Example of the Encyclopædia Iranica
Author: Dagmar A. Riedel
Abstract: The fundamental challenge posed by the digital environment is how a small academic nonprofit publication can keep on top of it while preserving a modicum of academic standards. As a free online encyclopedia that depends on private and federal grants, the Encyclopædia Iranica database must proactively attract visitors to its website. In the near future it is imperative that the project addresses two issues. The first is that the development of the digital database must reflect how search engines of different browsers crawl the web in the search of information, for in the end every search engine can only find that which has been coded and indexed for discovery. The other issue concerns the internal organization of the database.
Date: 6/17/2010
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Repository for academic research
Conference Name: Third International MARGOT Conference: The Digital Middle Ages in Teaching and Research, Barnard College, June 16-17 2010

Ehsan Yarshater’s Contribution to Iranian Studies (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Ehsan Yarshater’s Contribution to Iranian Studies
Author: William Hanaway
Author: Richard N. Frye
Author: Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak
Author: Charles Melville
Author: Oktor Skjaervo
Abstract: This panel of scholars surveyed the life work of the editor-in-chief, and especially the current project, Encyclopaedia Iranica
Date: 5/29/2010
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Conference information webpage
Conference Name: Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Society for Iranian Studies (ISIS)