Making Sense of an Index
Moshe Blidstein and Gabi Tartakovsky# - Department of General History
Daphne Raban - Department of Information & Knowledge Management
Database Collection Grant 2020
Do you also seek salvation in 2020?
Wonder why wisdom and love are deeply connected?
For Moshe Blidstein, Daphne Raban and Gabi Tartakovsky of the University of Haifa’s Data Science Research Center, the answers to these questions can be found in a new method for mining indices. This project utilizes an overlooked resource, back-of-book indices, to create Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database, a unique database which holds over 6 million citations and over 68,000 subjects, originating in ancient texts written between 800 BCE and 800 CE. Networks of subjects emerging from the database provide users with an intuitive grasp of the field.
Why use book indices? The method allows much greater granularity in topic retrieval than existing keyword methods, enabling deeper understanding in ancient religious texts and current and past trends in established literature.