Monday, November 17, 2014

Ten years of Open Access Publication at The Oriental Institute

It was ten years ago that a New OI Electronic Publications Policy was announced. It had been approved on October 27, 2004, with a unanimous vote from the faculty of the Oriental Institute, under the direction of Director Gil J. Stein.  The policy was subsequently implemented as The Electronic Publications Initiative of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

In the space of ten years the policy was implemented with respect to all new and back-list titles. By 2014 the project gathered more than 770 titles, 130,991 files, in 546.08 gigabytes, and listed in:
OIC 26. Publications of the Oriental Institute, 1906-2014: Exploring the History and Civilizations of the Near East. Edited by Thomas G. Urban and Leslie Schramer. 2014.
For an up to date list of all Oriental Institute publications available online you may consult the Ancient World Online's list:

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chronological Lists of OI Publications

Between 1997 and 2011, the Oriental Institute maintained a list, by year, of its publications. This offered a useful chronological overview of the publication activity. I have now compiled lists for 2012-2014 (so far) and include links to the 1997-2011 lists below.

For an up to date list of all Oriental Institute publications available online see:

Monday, June 30, 2014

OI Staff Newsletter

 [First posted in OI History 13 February 2009, updated 30 June 2014]

Beginning in February 1998, with the encouragement and support of Gene Gragg who was then Director of the Oriental Institute, I compiled, edited and distributed by email an internal newsletter for the staff of the Oriental Institute. It chronicled the activities of the departments of the OI, and of individual scholars and senior students at the OI. It was distributed widely in the University of Chicago community by means of a listhost mailing list, but its archive was not publicly available.

It appeared on or about the first Monday of each month of the academic year. All told there are 63 issues which appeared between February 1998 and March 2005. It began at about the time of the completion of the basic construction of the New Wing of the Oriental Institute. It ceased at the time I left the Oriental Institute.

It provides a very interesting monthly snapshot of the activities of the OI over that seven year period, and many of the words appearing in it, reappear in later forms in the Oriental Institute Annual Reports.

In the early 1930's there had been another such effort: "Bulletin to the Staff of the Oriental Institute", of which only a couple of issues appeared.

Unfortunately, as with the old ANE list, the online archive of the staff newsletter no longer exists. It seems now likely that the only remaining digital version is resident on the hard drive of a now failing laptop of my own. Fortunately, there is a hard copy on the shelf in the OI Research Archives.

Thanks to the work of OI Research Archivist, Bibliographer Foy Scalf, who began to scan the had copies and upon discovering that they were incomplete, urging me to try to recover the lost files from a ten year old laptop, we now have a complete set available. So a small piece of Oriental Institute microhistoy in now recovered and preserved. They are available at Oriental Institute Staff Newsletter, and via the links below:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Deborah “Debby” Jannotta

Deborah “Debby” Jannotta, for whom The Edgar and Deborah Jannotta Mesopotamian Gallery of the Oriental Institute Museum is named, has died.
The Edgar and Deborah Jannotta Mesopotamian Gallery of the Oriental Institute Museum opened to the public on October 18, 2003, following a seven year renovation project. The 5,428-square foot gallery displays 1383 objects dating from the Paleolithic Period (ca. 100,000 B.P.) to the Sasanian Period (ca. 5th Century A.D.). The gallery space was designed by Vinci/Hamp Architects of Chicago. New cases, constructed of walnut, were designed by Vinci/Hamp Architects and built by Helmut Guenschel of Baltimore.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

News: Secrets from the Tomb: The hunt for Chicago's mummies

By: Alison Cuddy

What sort of mummies are in the Oriental Institute collection?

Who would have thought the ancient dead could actually break news? But that’s exactly what happened when I embarked on my hunt for Chicago’s mummies.
The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) invited me to tag along in February as they took their two mummies, Paankhenamun and Wenuhotep, to be scanned at the University of Chicago.

See the chronicle of news about the Oriental Institute.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

News: Emily Hammer Hired as Director of the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes

Emily Hammer Hired as Director of the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes
by Dani Doyle Mar 26, 2014
This August, Emily Hammer, ISAW Visiting Assistant Professor, will start her new role as the director of the lab at the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL)  at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. The lab's mission is to investigate long-term change in Middle Eastern landscapes through the analysis of spatial data and satellite imagery using Geographical Information Systems.
Emily joined ISAW's Visiting Research Scholar Program in 2012, developing her research and fieldwork on ancient settlement patterns and environment in southeastern Turkey and western Azerbaijan. In that time, she's also been teaching courses on Geographical Information Systems in Anthropology and Archaeology, landscape archaeology, and the history of water in the Middle East here at ISAW and in the Department of Anthropology.

See the chronicle of news about the Oriental Institute

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RIP Frances Güterbock

News comes of the death last week in Crozet Virginia of Frances Güterbock
Frances Guterbock (nee Franziska Hellmann) passed peacefully from this life on Sunday, January 19, 2014, at the Lodge at Old Trail in Crozet, where she spent her last year. She was born in Würzburg, Germany on September 3, 1919, the eldest of three sisters (Erika and Miriam). Her family moved to Turkey in 1936. There she met and married her husband of sixty years, Professor Hans Gustav Güterbock, and bore two sons, Walter and Thomas. They emigrated to Chicago in 1949. She earned a BA from The American College for Girls in Istanbul and a BA in music education from The Chicago Musical College. She lived a long and full life, devoted to family, to music, to literature, to support of her husband's work, to the arts, to teaching, and to her many friends in Hyde Park and around the world...
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Frances's memory to the Chicago Hittite Dictionary, The Oriental Institute, 1155 East 58th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, or to the University of Chicago Service League, c/o Dianne Luhmann, 5000 S East End #D14, Chicago, IL 60615. 

Frances Guterbock

The Biographical Memoir of her husband Hans Gustav Güterbock, published in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol, 146, No. 3 (September 2002) includes the following paragraph:
An additional bond that linked him not only with his wife, Frances, an accomplished singer and pianist, but also to his teacher, Benno Landsberger, was music. He enjoyed concerts and had subscriptions to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera, and there was always music-making in his house, as when Frances and Landsberger played four hands. His musical bent led him to interpret several Babylonian texts dealing with the tuning of the harp, and to identify this notation in a Hurrian song, a rendition of which was volunteered by Frances Güterbock. 
I believe she is the last of the generation of refugees from Germany who landed at the Oriental Institute in the middle of the 20th century with the assistance of Thorkild Jacobsen.

She was a delightful woman and it was a honour to have known her.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Old ANE Archive

The ANE email discussion list operated from the beginning of July 1993, with only a few short interruptions until February 16, 2006. It was moderated by me until shortly before my departure for Athens in the summer of 2005. The archive of traffic from the beginning until the end of 2001 is archived at the Oriental Institute Research Archives

I have just discovered that the headers (at least) of the later archive, lost in Chicago when the listhost software was upgraded, remains visible and accessible at the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine. I'm led to believe that there are also some privately held archives of traffic for these years. I'd be grateful to know more about them.

The ANE archive is an interesting record of the interaction of a wide variety of scholars and interested laypersons from all over the world in the early years of electronic communication. I have been asked from time to time to write about the phenomenon, but I have not yet done so, except for a short note about the Nazism and ANE studies controversy, and in 
The Web Editor: 'Abzu and Beyond', in Ariadne 21 (23 September 1999).

ANE-2, the successor to ANE remains active to this day.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

News: Clues to Lost Prehistoric Code Discovered in Mesopotamia

Clues to Lost Prehistoric Code Discovered in Mesopotamia
By Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor   |   October 10, 2013 07:44am ET

Researchers studying clay balls from Mesopotamia have discovered clues to a lost code that was used for record-keeping about 200 years before writing was invented.
The clay balls may represent the world's "very first data storage system," at least the first that scientists know of, said Christopher Woods, a professor at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, in a lecture at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum, where he presented initial findings.
The balls, often called "envelopes" by researchers, were sealed and contain tokens in a variety of geometric shapes — the balls varying from golf ball-size to baseball-size. Only about 150 intact examples survive worldwide today. [See Photos of the Clay Balls & Lost Code]

Read the rest

See the chronicle of news about the Oriental Institute.