The KITAB project is seeking researchers who are interested in collaborating to advance their own, distinct research projects. The aim is to build a small group of academics (six to eight) who will work with our corpus of 1.5 billion words of premodern Arabic texts (700–1500 CE) and our data sets (including those for text reuse especially). Members of the KITAB team will provide a week’s worth of training in the last week of February 2021. In July 2021, we will host a further meeting in which participants will present papers that are informed by their work with the project.

Both visits to London will be funded by the European Research Council, which supports the project.

Who is eligible?

This call is especially for junior scholars – advanced PhD students and recently completed PhDs – who are working on topics that would benefit from methods of computational analysis.

Description of the project

The KITAB project focuses on the history of Arabic books using digital methods, especially text reuse detection. Based in London, the project is currently funded by the European Research Council, the Qatar National Library, and the Mellon Foundation. For more on the project, see Our corpus of books, available through the OpenITI, can be read with a text editor and is available here: .


We will determine the training best suited to the pool of applicants. Some examples would include:

  • working with command line, working with GitHub

  • introduction to the OpenITI: its organisation, mARkdown, betacode and metadata

  • regular expressions: how they work and what they can do for you

  • reading data through Power BI

  • working with Python: basics, data manipulation

  • working with R: basics, social network analysis, stylometry 

  • basics of the OCR workflow (eScriptorium)

To apply 

Please submit a statement of no more than 750 words to Nadia Bhaloo (, cc’ing Anjum Alam (, by 1 September In your statement, please elaborate on your research interests, your prior exposure to digital methods (with a couple of examples) and possible topics you would like to explore with the KITAB team.

Prior to the meeting in February we will share with you materials to review.

N.B. If you join us, we would expect you to work on a publishable paper based on our data for completion by December 2021.