Monday, June 19, 2017

CDLI News: CDLI transliterations

CDLI News: CDLI transliterations
CDLI associates Tohru Ozaki, Daniel Foxvog and Richard Firth have, in the past several years, taken the lead in adding to, and correcting our online transliterations (in ASCII transliteration format = ATF). This note is meant to bring to the attention of our users some of the more recent work the three have done to improve what remains the core deliverable of the project—and to encourage other colleagues to contribute to our files in like fashion.

T. Ozaki’s contributions have very substantially improved the readings of thousands of our Ur III files, but on my prompting he has additionally begun to submit  transliterations of heretofore unedited Ur III entries in CDLI, including now of 230 Hermitage tablets that are in the process of annotated publication by Natalya Koslova (and for that reason preliminarily identified as “Hermitage 3” in our primary publication field). Every Ur III specialist has noted the copious remarks by the Japanese scholar on this or that reference to some unusual reading or document interpretation, more recently on the texts from the Garshana and Irisagrig archives, but we may not take the time to enter those remarks to our own files. With his submission of corrections to CDLI, Tohru’s interpretations are as permanently fixed in the online research record as we can currently promise; <> represents a small sampling (500 artifact entries) of his most recent CDLI corrections/additions. Click on the version link that follows each transliteration to view our full record of transliteration history (light gray font indicates changes made in the preceding version).

D. Foxvog lives on the Russian River north of San Francisco, at a fair distance from the large research library at UC Berkeley he once frequented. I think he must have a considerable personal library, but his significant collaboration with CDLI, beginning with a cleansing and completion of our ED IIIb administrative texts in 2008-2009, continuing with his effectively unassisted work on CDLI’s entries of royal & dedicatory texts (<>) and more recently on unfinished or new Sargonic entries in our catalogue (these being among the most common artifacts that have left Iraq since the first US-led invasion of 1990-1991), demonstrates the impact of the Internet in vital Humanities content creation. Dr. Foxvog works remotely on our online files without my or staff intervention, and I merely receive from time to time notification of transliteration/translation entries made by him that I request be added to our credit lines. <> are, again, 500 artifact entries of Dan's most recent CDLI corrections/additions.

R. Firth is an autodidact in cuneiform studies who came to the field via a circuitous route from Cambridge and Durham degrees in mathematics and physics, to work in the UK’s nuclear power industry, as a research associate at the University of Bristol, then happening upon Assyriology through his collaboration with Copenhagen University's Center for Textile Research and his own interest in ancient textile technologies—initially those recorded in Linear B tablets, then in records of 3rd millennium Mesopotamia. In 2010, Madeleine Fitzgerald and I began fielding his corrections of CLDI files via the feedback links we offer with each artifact web page, and we received submissions, for review and publication in the CDLI online journals (<>), of several articles, of which eight have appeared thus far. This contact led to an ongoing email conversation between myself and Dr. Firth that among other topics touched on his own independent work on Babylonian textiles, on the 3rd millennium calendars, and on seals and sealing, much of it now visible in our online files. His most recent 500 entries with corrections/additions at <> include a good number of text transliterations that Richard has put into CDLI-compatible format and uploaded to our files for my inspection; any corrections of those entries I might make have generally been entirely formal, but as too with corrections sent me by Dr. Ozaki for my own entry to CDLI, I have too often forgotten to correctly flag our version history files to reflect the fact that I am as a rule merely their messenger, and I hope for their understanding in these failings.

A full log of CDLI ATF version history, programmed by UCLA CS grad student Prashant Rajput, is available for download at <>; it will be updated on a monthly basis.

R. K. Englund
Director, CDLI <>

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