OTAP News: Number 5 - June 2002

Subject: Up Date 6/24
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002 06:33:54 -0700

Dear OTAP list,

In recent months we have been struggling to prepare a grant proposal to the Preservation and Access Division of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our hope for this grant is that it would provide us with 1) the means to program our on-line database of Ottoman texts to allow easy access to the texts and permit a wide variety of searches; 2) enough staffing to enable us to publish 8,000-10,000 pages of text in the next three years; and 3) a framework for supporting our related projects. We are asking over $600,000 from NEH over three years and have been promised over $300,000 from the University of Washington and other sources in matching funds. The total will come to more than one million dollars.

In setting the groundwork for our proposal, we have firmed up some of our plans and protocols. We will be hosted by the University of Washington Libraries and they will provide us not only with technical assistance but with cataloging and meta-data services, which will link our publications with the major national and international cataloging resources. We are also exploring with the University of Leiden Library a pilot project to link our texts to digital images of Ottoman manuscripts.

In the long-run, however, this project will only succeed if it is accepted by the Ottomanist scholarly community as a joint project for which we all share responsibility. Funding from NEH is far from certain. We are willing to make application to other funding sources but we need your help in identifying possibilities: government agencies, private foundations, potential individual donors. We have a number of transliterated texts already offered to the project, but we need many more, especially historical and archival texts. In the near future the related projects--BIDOL (the Bio-bibliographic Database of Ottoman Literature), OHD (The Ottoman Historical Dictionary), CTG (The Critical Texts Group) will all need your assistance. There is much to do, but as a group we can work together to transform the field of Ottoman Studies.

If you have a transliterated text (or even a significant part of a text), consider spending a few hours this summer converting it for inclusion in our database. The instructions are simple and can be found on our website. Just send the converted and tagged text on to us in small chunks; we will do the rest. We are committed to convincing universities and higher education boards that web publication is equivalent to print publication as a scholarly contribution, especially when it involves critical texts with limited sales potential. We promise to do our best to see that preparing an Ottoman text for publication is not wasted time from a career perspective.

We will continue to keep in touch. Your questions and comments are welcome. Best wishes,

Walter and Mehmet

Walter G. Andrews
Mehmet Kalpakli

Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization
Box 353120
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
OTAP Website: