Recent posts

The Network of MESA (2009–2017)

26 minute read :: Posted on November 12, 2017

The Middle East Studies Association (MESA) celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. Although it is not as large as such associations as AAR and AHA, it is very dear to most of us who are engaged in the study of Middle East. Those who attended the annual meeting in Boston must have seen an attempt to visualize acad... more...

A Digital Humanities for Premodern Islamic History

7 minute read :: Posted on October 18, 2017

Defining digital humanities is tricky. Our scholarship has been intrinsically digital for quite a few decades already, as we rely more and more on electronic storage to save, word processors to write, bibliography managers to organize, databases to consult, digital libraries to search and read. Living in the digital... more...

Cultural Production in the Islamic World

8 minute read :: Posted on October 14, 2017

Biographical and bibliographical texts can offer a valuable insight into the process of cultural production in the Islamic world. One of the most relevant texts is the Hadiyyaŧ al-ʿārifīn (“The Gift to the Knowledgeable”)—a bio-bibliographical collection written by Ismāʿīl Bāšā al-Baġdādī (d. 1338/1919 CE). Although... more...

Arabographic Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

less than 1 minute read :: Posted on October 5, 2016

The OpenITI team—building on the foundational open-source OCR work of the Leipzig University’s (LU) Alexander von Humboldt Chair for Digital Humanities—has achieved Optical Character Recognition (OCR) accuracy rates for classical Arabic-script texts in the high nineties. These numbers are based on our tests of seven... more...

Creating Frequency-Based Readers for Classical Arabic

4 minute read :: Posted on May 30, 2016

Learning classical Arabic is a long process. Most of us took great pleasure in advanced reading classes with our professors, but, often struggling with an overwhelming volume of new vocabulary, we also—at least occasionally—had a feeling that a traditional method is not necessarily the most effective one. While adva... more...