Hebrew place names are a complex, problematic and fascinating phenomenon. Centuries of Jewish diasporic existence projected their coordinate systems on the world map. Hebrew languages interacted with local contemporaneous place names whenever and wherever Jewish people dwelled. Diverging cultural, Halachic and liturgical traditions created toponymic categories at once anchored in geography and mutable by temporal and cultural dimensions.
KIMA sets the grounds for a comprehensive, dynamic and interoperable database of historical place names in languages written in the Hebrew script. The gazetteer provides a stable and shared reference for linking place names in digitized resources. It is unique in being based on textual attestations, thus enabling - beyond the study, visualization and use of changing historical place names - a thorough study of place names as a linguistic, discursive phenomenon.
Kima currently holds Places, with 20,000 alternate variants of their names and 50,000 attestations of these variants.
Kima is developed and maintained by Sinai Rusinek and Gil Shalit.
The project was founded by Dr. Sinai Rusinek with the help of two Pelagios Commons Resource Grants awarded in the years 2016-2017. Together with Dr. Glauco Mantegari, data designer, and Dimid Duchovny, developer, we built the data model and collected, cleaned and reconciled preliminary data. In 2019 Gil Shalit created the database, website and API.