Wednesday, May 1, 2013

CDLI News: "cdli tablet" for the iPad

Announcing cdli tablet
We are delighted to announce the launch of "cdli tablet" for the iPad, combining short text with images of cuneiform inscriptions and related archaeological artifacts. Sponsored by the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (Los Angeles & Berlin) and programmed by Sai Deep Tetali, graduate student of UCLA's Computer Science Department, the app gives specialists in the fields of cuneiform studies, Near Eastern archaeology and art history the opportunity to present facets of the writing culture of ancient Mesopotamia to a broad community of experts and informal learners. Short descriptions of the historical relevance of selected text and text-related artifacts together with images that can, but need not be taken from CDLI’s growing open access file archives, are prepared and posted to app pages. Ordered by calendar date in groups of from several to thirty pages, the resulting 'themes' give a running account of these experts' ideas. The free app is conceived as a vehicle for the introduction, to learning communities of all ages, of a variety of chosen topics in cuneiform studies, and in the digital preservation and worldwide dissemination of the shared cultural heritage of ancient Mesopotamia.

Our launch theme is a set of entries prepared by Jacob Dahl (University of Oxford) on proto-Elamite accounts that makes extensive use of high-resolution images of Susa tablets in the collection of the Louvre; we will follow this topic with others dealing with 3rd millennium bricks and brick stamps; cuneiform building plans; the Northwest Palace of Nimrud and Assurnasirpal II's standard inscription; then themes dedicated to collections at Emory University (cuneiform messengers in space!), at the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Princeton Theological Seminary where we are currently working, the Ashmolean, the Louvre, the Vorderasiatisches Museum, and more. A special CDLI webpage is dedicated to the app, with our request for contributions, and directions on how to go about preparing and submitting your own files for future viewing in iPad. We particularly hope that curators of existing cuneiform collections will view "cdli tablet" as an opportunity to highlight artifacts in their care, and we will make every effort to assist them in preparing pages and themes for the app. But Assyriologists and Near Eastern archaeologists too can take advantage of this medium to offer an informal narrative of their past publications, or future plans.

cdli tablet is a free educational app available at the iTunes Store for download to iPads running on IOS 6 (search for "cdli").

Bob Englund

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