OTAP News: Number 3 - March 2002 Progress Report

Subject: March 2002 Progress Report
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 11:47:17 -0800

Dear OTAP/OHD Group,

I promised those who expressed an interest in the Ottoman Texts Archive Project/Ottoman Historical Dictionary that I would from time to time let you know what is happening with the projects. We have been working hard to put together a grant proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities seeking substantial funding for the archive project and for basic organizational work on the dictionary. This has meant working with our consultants, staff, the University of Washington, Bilkent University and others all over the world. This has turned out to be a huge task and is far from a sure thing. We would appreciate any suggestions you make concerning other institutions that might be approached for funding.

Otherwise, we have been making rapid progress (given the low level of financial support we have at present). The Turkish members of the Advisory Board met last month at Bilkent to discuss the projects. In this first major gathering of OTAP participants, they agreed to finalize a standard for archive transcription, which we intend to publicize for comment and critique as soon as we have something in hand. We have had an amazing number of offers to submit texts to the project---more than 100 texts by our present reckoning---a large number of them made available by members of our advisory board.

At the University of Washington our staff (Didem Havlioglu, Research Assistant and a much-appreciated undergraduate volunteer, Jordan Becke) continue to prepare sample texts for uploading to our website. We should very soon have a rough text of Mustafa Isen's tezkire sections from the Kunhu'l-ahbar up on the website and plan to move on to some other texts from the Mustafa Isen collection.

We have also prepared a draft of some instructions to scholars for preparing a text for the archive. We would very much appreciate if some of you could volunteer to prepare a sample text (a few pages, from 1-) according to our instructions. This could involve either converting and tagging part of a text that you have already transcribed, or transcribing a new text using the "digraphs." It could be something as simple and short as an archival document or poem or a chapter or section from a longer work. I will not give any further instructions. We want you to try to do the preparation according to the instructions on the website and ask questions through the "otap" address given there. (We need to test the clarity of our instructions as much as anything.) This will be an important step in developing the plan of work for the projects.

Prof. Gottfried Hagen has agreed to explore a related project to expand the data we collect on authors and texts into a bio-bibliographical database with information resembling that found for Arab authors in Brockelmann and Sezgin. This would be a wonderful addition to the projects.

If anyone is interested in seeing a draft of our grant proposal before it is finalized. You may contact me at the address on this message.

There are many things happening with the projects, many of them thanks to some of you. I am very encouraged by our progress. I cannot thank you enough for your interest and support.