Maxim  Romanov


I am working towards a PhD degree in Arabic and Islamic studies. In my dissertation I am studying the social history of public preaching in pre-modern Islam. I work with original Arabic texts, mostly biographical dictionaries and chronicles written before 1500 ce. Since these sources contain a great deal of structured quantifiable information, studying them with databases seems like a very logical way to proceed. However, these sources are way too numerous and voluminous (for my research I am trying to use about 100 titles, which equals about 500 volumes in printed equivalent), and using conventional relational DB for their analysis is extremely time consuming (I first tried to use rDB back in 2002-2003). I had a great collaborative experience with professional programmers, developing a website and a DB (, which allowed me to rethink the DB approach to primary sources. Currently, instead of developing a DB, I am trying to develop a DB building environment, which will allow to interrogate my sources one question at a time, overtime creating a rich flexible DB. I work in collaboration with a professional programmer, and without her help I would not have been able to even think about a project of such scale. Yet, programmers and historians think differently :) and I need to I do need to discuss my project with other historians in order to learn what I could have missed, what I could have done more efficiently etc.

Skip to toolbar