The Arab Educational Information Network (Shamaa) is an online database that documents educational research carried out in Arab countries in all fields of education, in the three languages, Arabic, French and English, providing free access to researchers and those interested in educational research. Shamaa collects educational bibliographic data on books, articles, reports and university dissertations (master's and doctoral) from universities, colleges of education, research centers, publishing houses, journals, ministries and regional and international organizations in the Arab world. Bibliographic reports and abstracts are then prepared and in some cases full texts are made available.

Shamaa was founded towards the end of 2006 at the initiative of the Lebanese Association for Educational Studies (LAES) as a pilot project funded by a two-year research grant provided by the Ford Foundation.

Work on the Shamaa project was extended for a further two years with funding provided again by the Ford Foundation together with several Arab and regional organizations including the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States, the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States (ABEGS), the Kuwait Society for the Advancement of Arab Children and the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU).This funding confirmed the recognition of the importance of this project by the granting agencies and their conviction that there is an urgent need for it in the Arab region.

In 2010, four years after the start of the project, Shamaa left the tutelage of the Lebanese Association for Educational Studies (LAES) and was established as an autonomous Arab organization with an Arab Board of Trustees as per decree no. 3323, promulgated by the Lebanese government on Feb 3, 2010.


Following this qualitative change in its status, both legal and institutional, Shamaa began a new stage in its expansion. A plan of action was drawn up for the two-year period 2011-2012 resulting in a number of achievements including the following:

1.

Expanding its coverage of educational intellectual production across the Arab world as well as expanding the variety of the resources accessed.

2.

Enlarging its network within the target group, both in terms of those supplying information and those accessing it.

3.

Providing a trilingual thesaurus for the first time in the Arabic language.

4.

Providing abstracts of the collected scholarly educational writings, and, when available, full text access.

5.

Providing translations of the abstracts.

6.

Developing technological resources and capacity building.

7.

Diversifying funding sources.


As regards financing, Shamaa has received two research grants, one from the Ford Foundation and the other from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development. As to logistics, Shamaa has moved to new premises in the Sodeco area of Beirut, and has become fully independent from the Lebanese Association of Educational Studies (LAES). In the process Shamaa has undergone a transformation from a pilot project to a fully autonomous non-profit Arab organization.

Organizationally Shamaa is structured as follows: An Arab constituted Board Of Trustees, an Executive Committee, an Executive Director, a group of consultants, administrative and technical staff and a network of correspondents, partners and collaborating institutions.