KITAB provides a digital tool-box and a forum for discussions about Arabic texts. The goal is to empower users to explore Arabic texts in completely new ways and to expand the frontiers of knowledge about one of the world’s largest and most complex textual traditions.
The project is leading with a tool that detects how authors copied previous works. Arabic authors frequently made use of past works, cutting them into pieces and reconstituting them to address their own outlooks and concerns. Now you can discover relationships between these texts and also the profoundly intertextual circulatory systems in which they sit.
The technology that powers KITAB project is at the cutting edge of computer science and is deeply indebted to its partners. Their first algorithm has been developed by David Smith of Northeastern University. They are also working with Marco Büchler of the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities. The Perseus Digital Library, led by Gregory Crane, has been a major collaborator from the start on many aspects of the project.
To use the corpus and search tools, get in touch with them via their contact form. At present, KITAB is a closed community of users.
Dr. Sarah B. Savant leads the KITAB project. She is an Associate Professor at Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC), and Principle Investigator of KITAB. Dr. Savant is a cultural historian specialising in the Middle East and Iran ca. 600-1100. Her work on KITAB is motivated by a desire to write a cultural history of the Arabic book using digital tools. Her publications include The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran: Tradition, Memory, and Conversion (Cambridge University Press, 2013; winner of the Said-Sirjani book award given by the International Society for Iranian Studies on behalf of the Persian Heritage Foundation).
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