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OpenITI: a Machine-Readable Corpus of Islamicate Texts

Suggested Citation for a specific version: Please check the citation information of the corresponding version at doi:10.5281/zenodo.3082463.

* Note on Release Numbering: Version 2019.1.1—where 2019 is the year of the release, the first dotted number—.1—is the ordinal release number in 2019, and the second dotted number—.1—is the overall release number; the first dotted number will reset every year, while the second one will continue on increasing.

Co-PIs: Matthew Thomas Miller (University of Maryland, College Park), Maxim G. Romanov (University of Vienna), Sarah Bowen Savant (Aga Khan University—ISMC, London).

Open Islamicate Texts Initiative (OpenITI, see is a multi-institutional effort to construct the first machine-actionable scholarly corpus of premodern Islamicate texts. Led by researchers at the Aga Khan University, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC), University of Vienna (UV), Leipzig University (LU), and the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland (College Park) and an interdisciplinary advisory board of leading digital humanists and Islamic, Persian, and Arabic studies scholars, OpenITI aims to provide the essential textual infrastructure in Arabic, Persian and other Islamicate languages for new forms of textual analysis and digital scholarship. In the process, OpenITI will enable new synergies between Digital Humanities and the inter-related Islamicate fields of Islamic, Persian, and Arabic Studies. In addition to support from the researchers’ home institutions, it is supported by funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, awarded to the KITAB project (Grant Agreement No. 772989, PI Sarah Bowen Savant) and the Qatar National Library.

Currently, OpenITI contains almost exclusively Arabic texts, which were first assembled into a corpus within the OpenArabic project, developed first at Tufts University (at The Perseus Project, 2013–2015) and then at Leipzig University (at the Alexander von Humboldt Chair for Digital Humanities, 2015–2017)—in both cases with the support and under the patronage of Prof. Gregory Crane. The much more limited number of Persian texts were compiled during 2015–2016 in the Persian Digital Library (PDL) pilot at Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland. These texts have not been made fully compatible with OpenITI mARkdown yet and will be made fully available in next releases.

In this repository, we publish OpenITI releases and the folder structure of each release is described in the latest release note. The releases will be published on Zenodo as well. To access a specific release, please use the Zenodo link, which is updated above on this page. To access a specific release through github, please use the corresponding tag that points to the release number.

The most up-to-date detailed description of the OpenITI project can be found at the website of the KITAB Project. Detailed metadata on the OpenITI corpus can be found at

OpenITI, ver. 2022.1.6: Release Notes

Corpus Metadata

The current release metadata is available in the OpenITI_metadata_2022-1-6.csv and OpenITI_metadata_2022-1-6_merged.csv (merged[1] version) files.

Folder Structure

  • data: main data folder with Author > Book > Versions structure;
  • metadata
    • OpenITI_metadata_2022-1-6.csv: metadata file, with a row for each text in the corpus, including a row for each part of the multi-part books in the corpus;
    • OpenITI_metadata_2022-1-6_merged.csv: metadata file, with one row for each multi-part book in the corpus;
  • release_notes
    • OpenITI_release-notes_2022-1-6.pdf: these release notes;
    • csv files including the provided list of new changes in the current release (see the description of each file in this release notes).

Corpus Statistics

Category Stats
Number of unique titles 6,785
Number of authors 2,843
Number of book titles (all versions/editions) 11,195
Number of uncorrected OCRed texts[2] 246

Length of texts (all books)

Number of words Number of pages (300 w/p)
Total 2,251,035,992 7,503,454
Min. 47 1
1st Qu. 8,502 29
Median 41,022 137
Mean 201,076 671
3rd Qu. 149,797 500
Max*.* 11,912,693 39,709

Length of texts (unique books)

Number of words Number of pages (300 w/p)
Total 1,080,907,744 3,603,026
Min. 48 1
1st Qu. 7,638 26
Median 33,211 111
Mean 159,309 532
3rd Qu. 121,789 406
Max. 11,912,693 39,709

Annotation statistics

Number of texts with extension .mARkdown 479
Number of texts with extension .completed 646
Number of texts with extension .inProgress 10

Book Ids

The list of the new book ids in this version is available in the ids.csv file. It includes the newly added book ids and modified ids. The URI includes the information of the new book (i.e., date, author, and book title).

Modified URIs

List of modified URIs in the current release is available in modified_uris.csv. Changes typically affect such fields as year, author, and title. These changes are applied to the entire metadata (book IDs remain unchanged).

Annotation Update

The list of texts that have been structurally annotated or where the annotation has changed (can be tracked by the file extensions) since our previous release (version 2021.2.5) is provided in annotation_update.csv. This file shows URIs of texts together with their current extension, which is a part of the local_path in the metadata file.

For more information on the OpenITI mARkdown and the extensions please see here.


Current contributors (alphabetically):

  • Sohail Merchant (metadata app)
  • Lorenz Nigst (corpus management; structural annotation)
  • Maxim Romanov (OpenITI co-PI; EIS1600 Project PI; conceptual development; mARkdown)
  • Sarah Bowen Savant (OpenITI co-PI; KITAB Project PI)
  • Masoumeh Seydi (technical development)
  • Peter Verkinderen (technical development; preparing new texts for the corpus; structural annotation)
  • Mathew Barber (structural annotation)
  • Gowaart Van Den Bossche (structural annotation)
  • Hamidreza Hakimi (structural annotation)
  • Simon Loynes (structural annotation)
  • Aslisho Qurboniev (structural annotation)

Past contributors:

  • Maroussia Bednarkiewicz (structural annotation)
  • Christoph Gümmer (structural annotation)
  • Jonas Köpsel (structural annotation)
  • Cornelis [Eric] Van Lit (structural annotation)
  • Cornelia Neubauer (structural annotation)
  • Leonie Nückell (structural annotation)
  • Fatemeh Shams (structural annotation)


  1. The corpus contains a number of texts that are too big for GitHub and had to be split into multiple files (currently only two versions of the book Biḥār al-anwār (1111Majlisi.BiharAnwar)). The metadata file contains statistics on each part of this split text. We also provide a separate metadata file in which the statistics for the separate parts of those books that have been merged. Since the merged metadata for these split files does not refer to an existing file, the local_path field for these virtual texts will be “NA”.

  2. The uncorrected OCRed texts are specified by the “UNCORRECTED_OCR” tag in the “tags” column of the metadata files.