Welcome Dr. Madlene Hamilton! We are excited to welcome Dr. Madlene Hamilton to our team as the SHARIAsource Lab & Special Projects Manager. Dr. Hamilton holds a B.S in Child and Human Development and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership – Policy Studies from George Washington University. She is a social scientist, with strong technical and subject-matter expertise in health and education, as well as management experience in the social sector, specializing in strategic policy analysis, mixed-methods research, program evaluation, and data innovation. She has held various positions at several academic institutions including Rice University (Postdoc), Stanford University (Academic Research and Program Officer), and George Washington University (Research) and with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Data Specialist). “Joining PIL has really pushed me to think creatively and broadly about the use of data science and AI tools in a way that I would not have thought doable in the past. The project is forward-thinking and groundbreaking in its use of modern technology, specifically with its focus on AI translation and Arabic OCR,” says Dr. Hamilton, “The path forward for this work is exciting and PIL is charting the course for some amazing breakthroughs in the field of Islamic law and history, there is a lot that can be learned from this process and used in other disciplines.” We look forward to working together to fulfill our Program’s mission to promote research and provide resources for the academic study of Islamic law!
CONTEXT: SHARIAsource #Hackathon Last month, our SHARIAsource Lab led an Arabic OCR Hackathon. The event brought together a community of people from the Boston area— and virtually around the world— who were interested in developing a dependable program that will allow texts using the Arabic script to be machine readable. Hackathon members brought their efforts together to review and annotate Ibn Isḥāq’s Kitāb al-maghāzī, vetting the text efficiently while also getting acquainted with people interested in Islamic law and data science. This effort to make Arabic texts machine readable will allow scholars to access, search, and explore historical and contemporary documents like never before.