The digital Gazetteer of Ancient Arabia

An example of reuse and exploitation of annotated textual corpora




Ancient Arabia, annotated textual corpora, digital epigraphy, digital gazetteers, digital reference tools, open data, data reuse, semantic web


Annotated corpora, provided that they adopt international standards and expose data in open format, have many more chances to be easily exploited and reused for different objectives than traditional, analogue corpora. This paper aims at presenting the results of the early adhesion to best practices and principles afterward codified as Open Science and FAIR principles in the frame of projects concerned with digital textual corpora, in a niche area of research such as the pre-Islamic Arabian epigraphy. The case study analysed in this paper is the Digital Archive for the Study of pre-Islamic Arabian inscriptions – DASI, an online annotated corpus of the textual sources from Ancient Arabia, which also exposes its records in standard formats (oai_dc, EpiDoc, EDM) in an OAI-PMH repository. The initiatives of reuse of DASI open data in the frame of the recently ANR-funded project Maparabia (CNRS-CNR) are discussed in the paper, focusing on the exploitation of DASI’s onomastic and geographic data in a new reference tool, the Gazetteer of Ancient Arabia. After introducing DASI and Maparabia projects and highlighting the objectives of the Gazetteer, the paper describes the conceptual model of its database and the module importing data from DASI. The population of the Gazetteer, implying also a data entry and manipulation phase, is exemplified by the case-study of the Ancient South Arabian place ‘Barāqish/Yathill’. Based on the above experience, limitations and opportunities of data reuse and synchronisation issues between systems are discussed.




How to Cite

De Santis, A., Gallo, M., Rossi, I., & Schiettecatte, J. (2021). The digital Gazetteer of Ancient Arabia: An example of reuse and exploitation of annotated textual corpora. Umanistica Digitale, (11), 125–143.