Thursday, January 11, 2018

al-Ṯurayyā Project

al-Ṯurayyā Project
This is a new working version of the al-Ṯurayyā project which currently includes the gazetteer (al-Ṯurayyā Gazetteer, or al-Thurayyā Gazetteer), and the geospatial model of the early Islamic world. Both parts of the project are still under development.
Gazetteer: The gazetteer currently includes over 2,000 toponyms and almost as many route sections georeferenced from Georgette Cornu’s Atlas du monde arabo-islamique à l'époque classique: IXe-Xe siècles (Leiden: Brill, 1983). Tabs relevant to the gazetteer are as follows:
is the current tab with the general information about the project;
is the ‘Technical information’ of a selected toponym (URI, coord_certainty, language, names, region_URI, source, top_type), which is used for placing it on the map;
is the description(s) of a selected toponym from Arabic sources (at the moment, only al-Ḥimyarī’s Rawḍ al-miʿṭār). Records from primary sources are matched automatically, with the % of the match shown in parenthesis.
Search panel. Since the gazetteer currently does not include English versions of placenames, one must search for Arabic names: for example, Dimashq instead of Damascus. One can use Arabic or simplified transliteration (LOC transliteration scheme).
The previous version of the gazetteer can be found here. You can browse this version by clicking on any toponym marker. The popup will show the toponym both in Arabic script and transliterated (On transliteration scheme, see below). The popup also offers a selection of possible sources on a toponym in question. You can check Arabic Sources: currently, al-Samʿānī’s Kitāb al-ansāb and Yāqūt’s Muʿjam al-buldān. The Gazetteer shows only exact matches, which means that in some cases there will not be any entry at all, while in other cases there may be more than one and they may refer to other places with the same name. You can also check if there is information on a toponym in question in Brill’s Encyclopaedia of Islam, Pleiades, and Wikipedia.
Geospatial model currently consists of a two main modules (work in progress) which plot 1) routes and itineraries of various complexity; and 2) networks of reachable places from selected centers. Tabs relevant to the geospatial model are as follows:
The maps of provinces. The extent of each province is modeled by coloring places and route sections associated with the same province in Cornu’s data. Route sections that begin in one region and end in another are colored in grey, thus denoting space between provinces. This way of representing provinces allows showing the extent of a province in question without imposing “borderlines”.
Technical information on route sections. This tab is mostly for development purposes, although one can find there useful information, including ID, start and end points, and the length in meters (Complete list includes: sToponym, eToponym, id, Meter, eTitle, eTitleAr, eUri, sTitle, sTitleAr, sUri).
Pathfinding allows one to model paths between two and more locations (naval travel is not implemented). The modeled path will be presented as the shortest and the optimal options. One can introduce additional route points between the source and the destination to model a more complex itinerary. NB: The shortest option generates the shortest path in the network, using Dijkstra algorithm; the optimal path tries to find the shortest path with the highest number of stations and settlements along the way (under the assumption that such paths are safer).
Modeling of the network of settlements reachable from a selected point within a certain number of days. One can also model a multicenter network for comparative purposes.
Path analysis tab (for internal research purposes).
Note on the transliteration scheme: The website uses a somewhat unconventional transliteration system, which was developed to facilitate computational analysis. Unlike more traditional transliteration schemes the current one uses one-to-one letter representation, with every Arabic letter transcribed distinctively, which allows for an automatic conversion between transliteration and the Arabic script. The overall scheme should be easily recognizable to Arabists (new letters are as follows: ŧ for tāʾ marbuṭaŧ; ã for dagger alif; and á for alif maqṣūraŧ).

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