Islamic History Open Data Platform

Islamic History ODP is an Open Source & Open Access Data Platform for ’Medieval’ Arabic Humanities Research.

Islamic History ODP is being constructed from, and integrates, several interconnected open data projects. Data collection and entry continues as and when available resources and contributors allow in each of these data projects (see below for more information on each). All data have stable Unique Identifiers (URI), and concern prosopographical, historical, institutional, geographical, bibliographical and textual metadata directly related to the rich Arabic historiography of late medieval Egypt and Syria. These data are meant to be useful for statistical, network, spatial and textual analyses as well as serving as stable biographical, institutional, bibliographical and textual references and repositories.

Islamic History ODP is a flexible, sustainable, user-friendly and multi-purpose solution, integrated in UGent’s IT-environment. It also allows for the new creation of independent and/or integrated data projects that fall within the remit of its linguistic, chronological and geographical parameters (Arabic, Egypt & Syria and their hinterlands, c.1200-c.1500). Islamic History ODP offers such new projects freely definable multiple user roles, default back up and export facilities, and opportunities to work with various metadata ontologies, annotation tools, and Arabic text corpora.

Current Islamic History Open Data projects

  • The Mamluk Prosopography Project (MPP) contains biographical and historical information about and source references for c. 4,000 individuals and social groups, especially from the early to mid-9th/15th century. It also contains information about and source references for c. 1,000 positions and functions that made up the Cairo Sultanate's administrative, military and courtly apparatus. For more  practical information on MPP's multiple entities and properties as well as on search functionalities, see the MPP pages. MPP is one of the main outcomes of the MMS-I project (2009-14). Collaborators: M. Termonia, J. Van Steenbergen, V. Adriaenssen, Y. Daoudi, K. D'hulster, St. Van Nieuwenhuyse, P. Wing. See

  • Bibliography of 15th Century Arabic Historiography (BAH) contains bibliographical references, especially manuscript-related, to Arabic texts of history produced in the early to mid-9th/15th century. BAH is one of the main outcomes of the MMS-II project (2017-21). For more information, including on the selected corpus, see the MMS-II pages. BAH's search functionality allows unregistered users to make simple queries for (a part of) author names, titles, shelfmarks and OpenITI URIs. Collaborators: M. Termonia, J. Van Steenbergen, M. Maslouh, M. Makhoul, G. Van Den Bossche. See

  • Corpus: Texts from Late Medieval Egypt and Syria contains digitized and stemmed versions —with their metadata— of Arabic texts of history produced in the early to mid-9th/15th century. CORPUS was created in the context of the MMS-II project (2017-21), in collaboration with the OpenITI and with other digitization partners. For the list of authors of the selected corpus, see the MMS-II pages. Current default search functions query the entire corpus or individual texts for Arabic words or phrases. Collaborators: M. Termonia, J. Van Steenbergen, M. Makhoul. See


History and technical background

Islamic History ODP (since 2017)

(project co-ordinator: M. Termonia)

(developers: INUITS, Ghent CDH)

After a public tender procedure the development of Islamic History ODP (and MPP — see below) was awarded to open source developers INUITS ( (2017-20, 20-2).

Development has happened in a Drupal8 environment and Symfony2 PHP framework. For full Arabic text indexing and searching the Apache SOLR platform is used, in combination with the Arabic Light10 stemmer. Metadata are stored as RDF data in a Virtuoso environment, hosted on UGent servers. SPARQL is used for querying the RDF graph, directly and via Drupal UIs.

Since 2022 Ghent Centre for Digital Humanities developers are in charge of the management and maintenance of the system.

Mamluk Prosopography Project (MPP) (2016-20)

(project co-ordinator: M. Termonia)

(developers: INUITS)

MPP is an Open Source Prosopographical Data application. It has been constructed from the MP3 Filemaker 12 database (see below) and from related datasets. 

In the period 2015-16 new funding (Hercules/FWO) was obtained to create from MP3’s Filemaker 12 database a more widely accessible, interoperable and multifunctional research infrastructure and to expand its textual component and analytical potential. The Mamluk Prosopography Project runs as a project on the Islamic History Open Data Platform, where its prosopo- and sociographical data are stored as RDF data organised along the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (

MPP's development was achieved between 2016 and 2020; MPP is funded by the FWO-Flanders (Medium-Size Research Infrastructure), in a joint venture with the ERC Consolidator Grant Project MMS-II.

For more information see the MPP page.

Mamluk Political Prosopography Project  (MP3) (2009-2016)

(project co-ordinators: J. Van Steenbergen, M. Termonia)

(developers: Clickworks)

In the period 2009-16 a relational prosopographical database MP3 was constructed at Ghent University for the study of late medieval Syro-Egyptian political elites, institutions and practices, in the context of a specific collaborative research project on ‘Mamluk’ state formation (the MMS-I project).

MP3 was an ongoing 'open' relational Filemaker Pro database that operated as the basic research tool ('laboratory') for those members of the UGent MMS team who used prosopographical, sociographical and discourse-oriented methodologies; it was hosted on an external server (Clickworks-server), and could be worked with by any team member from any working station with internet access and a FilemakerPro12 subscription. Team members: J. Van Steenbergen (PI), V. Adriaenssen, Y. Daoudi, K. D'hulster, M. Termonia, St. Van Nieuwenhuyse, P. Wing.

In the period 2017-20, MP3 data were transferred to MPP on Islamic History ODP, and the Filemaker Pro application ceased to be updated and maintained.

MP3 Entities & Relationships Diagram:

MP3_ERD (simplified)

MP3 Frontend User Interfaces:


MP3 FM Backend Tables and Queries: