Bibliotheca Arabica – Research Platform

Integrating three main sources in a graph database


1. Data from manuscript catalogues and partner databases

2. Bio-bibliographical data from reference works

3. Manuscript notes from primary sources

On people, books and manuscript notes 




Incorporating all new bio-bibliographical information in one large database would be of prime importance. It has been tried, but so far it has failed. It could never be the work of one man, but at best a dedicated institution with large and longterm funds might be able to perform that task.
Jan Just Witkam “Brockelmann’s Geschichte Revisited”, in GAL, New Edition (2012)

Taking our long-term experience with the manuscript repository MyIHS and its data model as a starting point, the project is developing a research platform (Khizana) with two objectives. First it aims to be a comprehensive bio-bibliographical reference work for Arabic manuscripts as well as for manuscript notes. Secondly, building on that wealth of collected data it also provides tools for the exploration and visualisation of social and historical contexts of the manuscripts – their production, transmission, collection, and reception.

Bio-bibliographical reference work

As a reference work, the platform integrates three different kinds of sources:

  1. Information from manuscript catalogues relevant to the project. This includes printed catalogues, as well as data available from manuscript databases, such as the collections at German institutions (Leipzig University Library, Berlin State Library, etc.) and others.
  2. Information from biographical and bibliographical reference works, such as Ḫayr ad-Dīn al-Ziriklī’s al-Aʿlām and Ḥāǧǧī Ḫalīfa’s Kašf az-zunūn. It will also integrate Open Linked data from various sources, as well as data from authority files such as the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF).
  3. Information contained in manuscript notes. This includes but is not limited to owners, readers, and collectors of manuscripts, and, if available, the material context, e.g., the price. These notes will be taken directly from the manuscripts in various collections around the world (see micro-perspective)

On a technical level, building the platform means integrating and processing information from very diverse sources. Special emphasis will be laid on providing evidence (i.e., provenience) for every entry. One of the main tasks will be to create thousands of authority files on persons and works, many of them not contained in the Virtual International Authority File. In this context, Digital Humanities approaches will be developed for identifying persons and works, for example, relating different variants of names and titles to a specific person or work.

Exploring and visualising the social and historical context

Uncovering Networks within 700 years of Material textual Culture in the Arabic World.

Based on cutting-edge graph database technologies, the platform will enable researchers to trace the historical career of a work, a person or, possibly, attributed literary elements, such as genres or topics.
The processing and presentation of information will produce visualisations of networks, such as personal and scholarly relations, as well as geographical maps showing relations between regions, wherever enough reliable data is available.

By linking data on the production, reception, and circulation of manuscript textual witnesses, the research platform will not only prove beneficial for literary history, but this completely new and unique tool of presentation and exploration will result in enormous gains to manuscript research focused on social and cultural history, which is currently on the rise.

The platform will include a bio-bibliographical reference work of Arabic authors and works, and an online database of manuscript notes, as well as a research library that will provide tools for exploring and visualising larger interrelations in the history of Arabic manuscript literatures. A first online version will be published at an early stage of the overall project (2020); work on the platform will be expanded continuously in the subsequent years.

More information

 Introduction (main page)

Macro-Perspective: On the production, transmission, and reception of Arabic literatures

Micro-Perspective: On the reception and collection of Arabic literatures

Team: About us


Latest Publications



 Are you working on people, names, manuscript meta data and their linkability?
Please feel free to get in touch with us!


Dr.Thomas Efer () on the technical infrastructure
Dr. Daniel Kinitz () on sources & data integration
Bibliotheca Arabica – Towards a New History of Arabic Literature
Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Karl-Tauchnitz-Str. 1
04107 Leipzig/ Germany


Vorhaben im Akademienprogramm

Althochdeutsches Wörterbuch


Bibliotheca Arabica

Briefe und Akten zur Kirchenpolitik Friedrichs des Weisen und Johanns des Beständigen

Codex diplomaticus Saxoniae

Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum

Deutsche Wortfeldetymologie in europäischem Kontext

Die Deutschen Inschriften

Edition der Briefe Philipp Jakob Speners

Edition der Briefe Robert und Clara Schumanns

Edition des Gottsched-Briefwechsels

Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen

Europäische Traditionen – Enzyklopädie jüdischer Kulturen

Forschungsportal BACH

Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi: Briefwechsel

Klöster im Hochmittelalter

Leipziger Mendelssohn-Ausgabe

PROPYLÄEN. Forschungsplattform zu Goethes Biographica

Robert Schumanns Poetische Welt

Text- und Wissenskultur im alten Ägypten

Buddhistische Höhlenmalereien in der Kucha-Region

Landes- und drittmittelfinanzierte Vorhaben:

DIKUSA – Vernetzung digitaler Kulturdaten in Sachsen

NFDI Text+: Forschungsdateninfrastruktur und lexikalische Ressourcen

SaxFDM-Fokusprojekt: Publikationsdienst für wissenschaftliche Datenmodelle und Vokabulare

Kulturerbe Tanz in der DDR

Umgang mit Andersdenkenden und die Konsequenzen: eine datenbasierte Analyse der Politik der SED gegenüber den Bausoldaten


Landschaft als KulturErbe. Transformation einer Bergbaulandschaft in Sachsen im 20. Jahrhundert

Das Sächsische Weichbildrecht mit Glosse. Digitale Edition der Handschrift Staatsbibliothek Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. germ. fol. 389, im Rahmen der Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH)


Akademienprogramm Gesamt

Übersicht über alle laufenden Forschungsprojekte im Akademienprogramm:

Zum AGATE-Portal, Forschungsinformationssystem der Wissenschaftsakademien:

Hafen des Heils oder Hölle des Lebens? Die Flucht ins und aus dem Kloster im Mittelalter 06.09.2024 - 07.09.2024 — Digitaler Workshop
Buchpräsentation: Der Simrock-Boisserée-Nachlass 09.09.2024 17:00 - 19:30 — Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv, Jenaer Straße 1, 99425 Weimar, Vortragssaal, 1 OG.
26th International Conference of the European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art 16.09.2024 - 20.09.2024 — Universität Leipzig, Augustusplatz 10, 04109 Leipzig
… darf man das? 21.10.2024 19:00 - 21:00 — Kupfersaal Leipzig, Kupfergasse 2, 04109 Leipzig

Denkströme IconDas Open Access (Online-)Journal der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften:

Diffusion Fundamentals

Diffusion Fundamentals IconInterdisziplinäres Online Journal für Diffusionstheorie in Kooperation mit der Universität Leipzig:

Internationale Konferenzreihe: