Directed by Frédérick Madore, the Islam West Africa Collection (IWAC) is a collaborative and open-access digital database supported by the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) and funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Science, Health and Care. Building on the success of the award-winning Islam Burkina Faso Collection launched in 2021, the current repository features over 7,500 archival documentsnewspaper articlesIslamic publications of various kinds, audio and video recordings, and photographs on Islam and Muslims in Burkina FasoBeninNigerNigeriaTogo and Côte d'Ivoire.

The majority of documents are in French, with others available in HausaArabicDendi, and English. The database also indexes over 850 references to relevant academic references such as books, articles, chapters, theses, reports and blog posts. Each document is tagged with detailed metadata and subjected to optical character recognition (OCR), making it easily accessible via keyword searches or more advanced multi-criteria searches. The IWAC also includes a comprehensive index of over 2,400 events, languages, locations, organizations, people, and topics.

The IWAC is committed to democratising access to vital research materials. By making these resources available online without financial barriers, we offer both West African and international researchers valuable alternatives to the often difficult conditions found in regional libraries and archives. In addition, the database is designed to facilitate the export of data and to support flexible and diverse query methods. Our aim is not only to advance research on Islam in West Africa, but also to serve as a pioneering model for similar initiatives in the future.

La base de données est aussi disponible en français.

News and release notes

The website is constantly evolving, with metadata being edited and new documents being added to the collection on a regular basis.

17 April 2024

The Collection is now compliant with the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) standards. This enhancement not only marks a leap forward in our commitment to making the database more accessible and user-friendly, but also underscores our commitment to promoting interoperability among digital repositories. The Universal Viewer allows for more interactive and immersive exploration of digital objects. Users can zoom, pan and explore images in fine detail.

22 January 2024

11 issues of the Islamic newspaper ASSALAM from Benin, published between 2002 and 2018, have been added to the Collection.

9 November 2023

The Islam West Africa Collection was officially launched on 9 November in Berlin. Further information.

31 October 2023

To demonstrate the potential of digital humanities to analyse the data in the Islam West Africa Collection, a series of visualisations were created using two corpus of press clippings from Beninese and Burkinabè newspapers. See more here.