Bibliotheca Arabica – Team: About Us

 Bibliotheca Arabica – Team
With our student assistants at the venerable Bibliotheca Albertina (Leipzig). © Swen Reichhold

Verena Klemm, Principal Investigator for the Bibliotheca Arabica project, is professor at the Institute of Oriental Studies at Leipzig University, a post she has held since 2003, and a member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences since 2017. She obtained her doctorate in Islamic Studies from the University of Tübingen in 1988 and her habilitation from the University of Hamburg in 1997, with a thesis on the discourse of literary commitment in the Middle East. Dr. Klemm is author of several works in the field of modern literature as well as in Šīʿī and Ismāʿīlī Studies. She is the director of several research projects related to the Oriental Manuscripts collection at Leipzig University Library, among them the Rifāʿīya, a private library from Ottoman Damascus, hosted in Leipzig since the 19th century.


Daniel Kinitz is Bibliotheca Arabica’s Project and Research Manager (Arbeitsstellenleiter). He holds a PhD in Arabic studies and Oriental philology from Leipzig University. After working as assistant at al-Azhar University in Cairo, Daniel coordinated and managed manuscript database projects at the National Museum in Banda Aceh (Indonesia), Leipzig University, and the Free University of Berlin. In collaboration with The Islamic Manuscript Association in Cambridge, he implemented his own manuscript data project on the (Yemeni) Glaser Manuscripts, unifying data from the different Glaser collections. More recently he has been focussing on his Digital Humanities skills (Python, X-technologies, data extraction), working at a database project at Bielefeld University. Apart from his responsibility as project manager, he is developing a workflow for getting data from heterogeneous sources into the project’s database (retro-conversion of catalogues, Arabographic OCR, parsing of full text reference works, etc.). Together with Thomas Efer, he is responsible for creating the project's research platform.


Stefanie Brinkmann is research fellow at the Bibliotheca Arabica project. She holds a PhD in Arabic and Islamic studies from the University of Göttingen. She was research assistant (Wissenschaftliche Assistentin) at the Institute of Oriental Studies in Leipzig, then acting professor at the Universities of Freiburg im Breisgau and Hamburg. With her special interest in manuscript studies, she has been a team member in a number of manuscript projects at Leipzig University Library (Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Verena Klemm), an active member and board member of The Islamic Manuscript Association (Cambridge) since 2008, and, since 2016, an active member and Principal Investigator for a project at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures at Hamburg University, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Her main interests and areas of publication are manuscript studies, Ḥadīth, material culture (especially the history of food and drink), classical Arabic poetry, and Shīʿī studies. She is responsible for the research module On production, transmission, and reception of Arabic literature (Macro-Perspective).

Thomas Efer is a research fellow at the Bibliotheca Arabica project and also a lecturer at the University of Leipzig, where he is member of the Natural Language Processing group (Chair: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Heyer). He studied telecommunication informatics and computer science in Leipzig and received his PhD for his work “Graph Databases for the Text-Oriented E-Humanities.” His research interests lie in data and knowledge representation for the Digital Humanities as well as the development of algorithms, research portals, and analytics tools for supporting scholarly work processes. His current focus lies in the exploration of possibilities for employing graph databases in the Digital Humanities. Within the Bibliotheca Arabica project he is building back-end and front-end technology for data management, curation, analysis, and presentation. He has worked in interdisciplinary projects, together with scholars from various humanities disciplines, including global and area studies, ancient philology, and musicology. His contributions to the Digital Humanities also include work as a reviewer, panelist, and member of conference boards. Together with Daniel Kinitz, he is responsible for creating the project's research platform.


Boris Liebrenz studied history and Arabic philology at Leipzig University and is a research fellow at the Bibliotheca Arabica project. His many publications explore documentary and manuscript sources from several eras, from early Arabic papyri to 18th-century merchant letters. In 2016, Liebrenz’s PhD thesis was published as Die Rifāʽīya aus Damaskus: Eine Privatbibliothek im osmanischen Syrien und ihr kulturelles Umfeld (Leiden: Brill) and was awarded the Annemarie Schimmel Research Prize in 2017. Recent projects include an edited volume The History of Books and Collections through Manuscript Notes (special issue of the Journal of Islamic Manuscripts, 2018), and a forthcoming edition and study of an Aleppine weaver’s notebook (with Kristina Richardson, to appear in the Bibliotheca Islamica series of the Orient Institut Beirut). After postdoctoral positions in Bonn, Berlin, and New York City, Liebrenz returned to Leipzig and the Bibliotheca Arabica and is working on the micro-historical sub-project Libraries between the Mamluk and Ottoman Era. His commitment, as well as his passion, is to unearth the history of manuscripts and collections, and to identify the people and institutions connected with them, through the wide variety of manuscript notes. In the coming years, he will continue to enlarge and publish his considerable collection of these documents. He is responsible for the research module On the reception and collection of Arabic literatures (Micro-Perspective).


We are looking for promising PhD candidates in 2020 and onwards. You find the announcement for the first PhD position here: PhD Position Bibliotheca  Arabica (pdf).

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

Research platform: On people, books & notes

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General Contact
Dr. Daniel Kinitz (Project Management)
Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Karl-Tauchnitz-Str. 1
04107 Leipzig/ Germany
Tel.: +49 341 7115328

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