The Persian Digital Library: Creating Persian Literature 2.0

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The Persian Digital Library: Creating Persian Literature 2.0

Friday, October 2, 2015

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Roshan Initiative in Persian Digital Humanities at the University of Maryland (PersDig@UMD) is transforming both the fields of digital humanities and Persian studies with their new Persian Digital Library project. PersDig@UMD is seeking support for this initiative through a Launch UMD crowdfunding campaign.

The Persian Digital Library project will create an open-access archive of more than 50,000 Persian poems, including the Persian classic The Book of Kings (Shahnameh). The Book of Kings is the world’s longest epic poem written by a single poet—about 50,000 lines long, which makes it nearly twice the size of the Illiad and Odyssey combined. Fully digitizing the classics of Persian literature like the Book of Kings and making them available through a state of the art collaborative online platform will expand access to one of the world’s great historical, cultural and literary traditions.

Texts in the Persian Digital Library will be accessible in a variety of research and learning-friendly formats. Persian speakers from around the world will use animated versions of famous classical stories to teach their children about Persian culture. Clickable texts will provide Persian language students instant access to multiple dictionary entries and linguistic analysis of each word. Scholars from numerous disciplines will turn to the Persian Digital Library for its data mining-ready files, high-quality manuscript images, full-text searchable books and new, open-source, multi-text critical editions of Persian works.

The Persian Digital Library is one in a series of ambitious projects initiated by PersDig@UMD, including the DocuNow Persian Social Media Archive, which will curate data related to important events involving Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the Persian-speaking diasporic communities throughout the world, and the Lalehzar Street Digital Archive, a collection of resources on the cultural and artistic production of the “Broadway Street” of twentieth-century Tehran.

These projects build on the University of Maryland’s recognized strengths in Persian studies, digital humanities and linguistics while facilitating connections across departments and fields. The Initiative is a collaborative effort involving the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies, the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), the UMD libraries and the Maryland Language Science Center (LSC)

PersDig@UMD is uniquely positioned to enhance the role of digital tools in Persian studies and language learning, and to infuse the digital humanities with new linguistic and cultural perspectives.

The University of Maryland is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 37,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners, 49 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.8 billion operating budget, secures $500 million annually in external research funding and recently completed a $1 billion fundraising campaign.


K. Lorraine Graham, Event & Communications Coordinator
School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
University of Maryland
1211 Jimenez Hall
College Park, MD 20742
Tel: 301-405-6127
Fax: 301-314-9752