Michael A. Toler has been the Archnet Content Manager since September 2012. He also served as Interim Program Head of the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT (AKDC@MIT) from July 2018 to April 2020.
Michael has been involved in the digital humanities since the mid-1990s. From 2001-2010 he served as the Program Director for the Al Musharaka Initiative of the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education. Michael was responsible for the development of content for the Arab Culture and Civilization Online Resource, and for coordinating inter-institutional, collaborative endeavors of faculty, librarians, and technologists using technology to enhance teaching and research on topics relating to Islam, the Middle East, and North Africa. Michael has contributed more than 3,500 images to Archnet, and creates most of the help videos and user guides. He is particularly proud of collaborations with the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM) and other institutions, including Wellesley College and the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress to bring online the glass negatives from TALIM's collection showing Tangier, Morocco, Algeria, Spain, and Frace in the period from roughly 1890 to 1930, and the nearly 70 hours of Moroccan music recorded in 1959 by Paul Bowles.
Michael received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a Certificate in Translation Studies from Binghamton University (SUNY), after teaching in Morocco at L'Ecole Supérieure Roi Fahd de Traduction and Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. He also holds an MA and BA in English from New York University and Virginia Commonwealth University, respectively. He has published and lectured extensively on digital pedagogy and scholarship, as well as the literature, history, cinema, music, and cyberspace of the Maghreb, and the Middle East more widely.
Michael is Secretary of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM), and serves on the board or advisory groups of numerous academic societies and cultural institutions.
Toler, Michael A. "From Tangier’s Old Medina to the World: Efforts to Make the Visual Resources in the Collection of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies More Widely Available. in MELA Notes 2016 89 (2017): 15-22. https://www.mela.us/publications/mela-notes/mela-notes-archive/.
The library of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM) is a small, highly specialized research library in the old medina of Tangier. Though the library contains specialized, often unique materials on Morocco, the Maghrib, and US-Morocco relations, it has not been well known among academics and researchers, and consequently is underutilized. This article surveys efforts by the TALIM Director and Board to rectify that by making the library catalog available online, and to make unique visual, textual, and audio materials available through Archnet. As a small nonprofit, TALIM faced unique challenges that it met by building collaborative networks. The article briefly outlines prior efforts of TALIM to facilitate access for scholars and academics worldwide. It then focuses on an inter-institutional effort involving the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT, Wellesley College, and other institutions in Morocco and the United States to simultaneously conserve a collection of glass negatives, and to make the images more widely available to scholars and researchers. Finally, the article will assess these efforts, and chart future directions.