Digital Visions for Indian Intellectual History: SARIT and beyond

  • Time: 30 June 2016, 15:00-18:00
  • Venue: Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, seminar room 2
  • Organisation: Birgit Kellner


Sanskrit texts make up one of the richest cultural and intellectual archives of the premodern world. The archive's deep traditions of sophisticated and systematic reflection on basic questions of the humanities — what valid knowledge consists in, how literature works, and how to interpret texts — are an important domain of inquiry within South Asian studies and increasingly important to scholars in other regions of the world.

Access to these traditions has improved with technology, but Indological projects have been slow in adapting quality and encoding standards for digital texts. The texts that are currently available are offered through a disparate and unintegrated tangle of projects, with widely varying intellectual goals and technological sophistication.

Since 2013, the SARIT project – SARIT is Sanskrit for "river", and an acronym for "Search and Retrieval of Indic Texts" – has intensified its efforts to develop best practices for digitizing Sanskrit and Prakrit texts based on TEI/XML, and to formulate guidelines for encoding and markup. A new web platform currently under development aims to offer improved and customized search and analysis facilities. Teams coordinated in Columbia and Heidelberg have simultaneously enhanced prosopographical databases on Indic Texts (PANDiT) and logic and epistemology in South Asia and Tibet (EAST) which embed digitized texts in a larger historical context.

In this workshop members of SARIT will give an overview of SARIT, its history and its current status, present the associated databases, and discuss future possibilities with the research community as well as colleagues from the ACDH.


Dominik Wujastyk (University of Alberta, Canada, founder of SARIT), Andrew Ollett (Harvard University), Patrick McAllister (University of Heidelberg/IKGA), Birgit Kellner (IKGA), Peter Pasedach (University of Hamburg), as well as Karlheinz Mörth and Daniel Schopper of the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities (ACDH) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and further members of the Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia (IKGA).


SARIT website:
EAST website:
ACDH-ÖAW website:
IKGA-ÖAW website: