Open Islamicate Texts Initiative

Creating the digital infrastructure for
the study of the premodern Islamicate world

About OpenITI

The written heritage of the “Islamicate” cultures that stretch from modern Bengal to Spain is as vast as it is understudied and underrepresented in the digital humanities. The sheer volume and diversity of the surviving works produced in Persian and Arabic by denizens of these lands in the premodern period makes this body of texts ideal for computational forms of analysis. Efforts to utilize these new digital forms of analysis, however, have been stymied by the lack of a reliable corpus.

The Open Islamicate Texts Initiative (OpenITI) is a multi-institutional effort to construct the first machine-actionable scholarly corpus of premodern Islamicate texts. Led by researchers at the Aga Khan University (AKU), Universität Leipzig (UL), and the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland (College Park) and an interdisciplinary advisory board of leading digital humanists and Islamic, Persian, and Arabic studies scholars, OpenITI aims to provide the essential textual infrastructure in Persian and Arabic for new forms of macro textual analysis and digital scholarship. In the process, OpenITI will enable new synergies between Digital Humanities and the inter-related Islamicate fields of Islamic, Persian, and Arabic Studies.

OpenITI Implementation Plan

After completing pilot Persian and Arabic corpus projects over the course of 2015 (i.e., The KITAB (Knowledge, Information, and The Arabic Book) and Persian Digital Library (PDL) projects), OpenITI team members began drafting an implementation plan that would bring together these efforts in one united Islamicate textual corpus that would contain approximately 10,000 Islamicate texts (ca. 7,000 Arabic and 3,000 Persian texts). In this stage, we will (1) review and format existing open-access premodern Persian and Arabic text according to the CapiTainS canonical text services (CTS) standards; (2) enrich these texts with as much verified metadata as possible (using our data schema developed in the pilot stage); and (3) develop and execute a plan to achieve greater parity in the number, genre, and chronological coverage of both Persian and Arabic texts in the OpenITI corpus after reviewing results of first phase of the work plan.

OpenITI Team

Co-Principal Investigators

Sarah Bowen Savant Maxim Romanov Matthew Thomas Miller
Associate Professor @ Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, Aga Khan University, London ( Research Fellow @ Alexander von Humboldt-Lehrstuhl für Digital Humanities, Institut für Informatik, Universität Leipzig Roshan Institute Research Fellow @ Roshan Institute for Persian Studies Associate Director, Roshan Initiative in Persian Digital Humanities (PersDig@UMD), University of Maryland, College Park

Senior Advisors

Bridget Almas Gregory Crane Neil Fraistat
Senior Software Developer & Architect, Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Digital Humanities, Alexander von Humboldt-Lehrstuhl für Digital Humanities Institut für Informatik, Universität Leipzig and Professor of Classics, Tufts University Professor of English and Director, Maryland Institute for Technology (MITH), University of Maryland, College Park
Ahmet T. Karamustafa Fatemeh Keshavarz Verena Klemm
Professor of History, University of Maryland, College Park Roshan Institute Chair in Persian Studies and Director, School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of Maryland, College Park Professor of Near Eastern History and Culture, Universität Leipzig

External Advisory Board

Christopher W. Blackwell Jamal J. Elias Sunil Sharma Olga Davidson
Louis G. Forgione University Professor of Classics, Furman University Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies and South Asia Studies, University of Pennsylvania Professor of Persian and Indian Literatures, Boston University Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, Boston University
Fred Donner Beatrice Gründler Konrad Hirschler Matthew Jockers
Professor of Near Eastern History, University of Chicago Professor, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Freie Universität Berlin Professor of Middle Eastern History, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of English, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Hugh Kennedy Emad Khazraee Paul E. Losensky Laura Mandell
Professor of Arabic, School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London Assistant Professor, School of Library & Information Science, Kent State University Professor of Central Eurasian Studies and Comparative Literature, Indiana University (Bloomington) Professor of English and Director, Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture, Texas A&M; University
Intisar A. Rabb Chase Robinson Sabine Schmidtke
Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and Professor of Law, Harvard Law School President and Distinguished Professor of History, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York Professor of Islamic Intellectual History, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Contact OpenITI

For more information about OpenITI, please contact the project manager, Samar Ali Ata, or follow us on Github. Useful online tools: Online Word Counter - count syllables