OMAR comprises microfilms of approximately 2.500 Arabic and Ḥassānīya manuscripts recorded by Ulrich Rebstock, Rainer Oßwald and Tobias Mayer between 1978 and 1997 in cooperation with the Institut Mauritanien de Recherche Scientifique (IMRS, Nouakchott) in over 300 different private and public libraries in Mauritania. The projects were funded by the German Foreign Office and the DFG.

Collection history

"The research assignment with which Rainer Oßwald and I [Ulrich Rebstock] were sent to the IMRS, which had been founded shortly before, was to view, collect and preserve Arabic manuscripts in Mauritania. The vagueness of this formulation can only be explained by the state of knowledge at the time. It was based mainly on the catalogue provisoire, scattered French library descriptions - and rumours. The subsequent journeys through central, southern and eastern Mauritania in search of libraries and manuscripts fundamentally revised this state of knowledge. The spread, number and quality of the manuscripts found proved the existence of a literature whose recording and description seemed both urgent and unfeasible."


A short catalogue of all manuscripts and their metadata can be found in:

  • Ulrich Rebstock, Sammlung der arabischen Handschriften in Mauretanien. Kurzbeschreibungen von 2.239 Manuskripteinheiten und Indices, Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1989.
  • Ulrich Rebstock, Rainer Oßwald and A. Wuld ʿAbdalqādir: Katalog der arabischen Handschriften in Mauretanien. Beirut: Harrassowitz 1988 (BTS, Volume 30, 162 page)