Sarah Bowen Savant, “Ibn ʿAsākir and His History of Damascus: Named Entity Recognition and Text Reuse” – SHARIAsource Lab 2022

On Tuesday September 27, 2022 at 12:00-1:00PM US EST, Sarah Bowen Savant (Aga Khan University), led a seminar on research in progress that uses the OpenITI corpus, which corpus contains more than 10,000 works and now exceeds 2 billion words in size, to examine the question: prior to the arrival of the printing press or electricity, how were authors working in Arabic so prolific? She uses the specific case of The History of Damascus (Taʾrīkh Madīnat Dimashq) [TMD], written by ʿAlī Ibn al-ʿAsākir (d. 571/1176 ) to address the question. The TMD is the largest work in the corpus prior to 1500. Ibn ʿAsākir relied heavily on earlier scholars, whom he cites extensively. Savant exploresd what we can learn about his working methods by using new digital methods. While focusing on the work of Ibn ʿAsākir, the seminar also to explored the possibilities and limitations of digital methods for scholars today. Watch the video today!