Scholars Database Project

Scholars Database Project

The Ulama Database, a biographical database that records the data found in the ṭabaqāt-type works that have been produced throughout Islamic history, was established in 2019 to produce a data pool that could support the biographical articles written for İSAM’s encyclopedias. In this context, it was developed as a database where the biographies of all Muslim scholars and Sufis who lived in different geographies throughout Islamic history can be recorded. The biographical data can be searched and filtered through many variables, such as date, place, sect, discipline, specialization, relationship, and more.

Between 2019 and 2020, a pilot project was carried out with a team of six people on Ṭāşköprīzāde Ahmed Efendi’s (d. 1561) ṭabaqāt work, al-Shaqā’iq al-nu‘māniyya fī ‘ulamā’ al-dawla al-Uthmāniyya. During these studies, the team read several of the biographies found in al-Shaqā’iq, discussing how such data could be recorded in an event-centered, relational, and sourced manner. Then, all biographies from this source were entered into the pilot database and checked through the editorial stages.

At the end of 2020, the pilot database emerged. Between 2020 and 2023, with a larger staff of researchers, Nev‘ī-zāde  ʿAṭā’ī’s Ḥadā’iq al-ḥaqā’iq fī takmila al-Shaqā’iq was revised and developed by taking into account the entries in the ṭabaqāt  books of Shaykhī Mehmed Efendi’s Veqāyi‘ al-fuzalā and Najm al-Dīn al-Ghazzī’s al-Kawākib al-sā’ira bi-a‘yān al-mi’eti al-āshira.

The Ulama Database provides researchers working on various topics, such as the lives of Muslim scholars and elites, institutions operating in the Islamic lands, and written works that have been produced in Türkiye and around the world in recent years within the framework of digital humanities, with the opportunity to easily and collectively access historical data that have been analyzed, organized, sourced, and placed in a chronological chain. In addition, the database can inspire researchers to generate new research questions with its design and filtering capabilities. With its ever-growing and evolving content, the Ulama Database is expected to become a frequently consulted research platform for researchers working in different fields of Islamic history in the near future. 

Updated at March 5, 2024