Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Half Century of Oriental Institute Annual Reports

This week the Oriental Institute Publications office posted the Annual Reports for 1960-1969 and 1970-1979.

You can find the entry for the full set here in AWOL. There reports present documentation of more than a half century of work by the scholars and projects at the Oriental Institute - quite an achievement.

It was nineteen years ago this month, in April 1994, that the Institute launched the first version of its website. The 1991-1992, and 1992-1993 Annual Reports formed the core of that original site.  From the History of the Website:
Development of the OI WWW database was a collaboration between John Sanders, Head of the Oriental Institute Computer Laboratory, and Charles Jones, Oriental Institute Research Archivist. We had a single objective in creating this database: to have information about the Oriental Institute reach a world-wide audience through the medium of electronic publication; to make available descriptions and publications of the projects in ancient Near Eastern archaeology and philology by the faculty and staff of the Oriental Institute and its various units, the Oriental Institute Museum, and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC), the University of Chicago.

The OI WWW database originally contained electronic versions of three Institute publications.
The part of the database entitled “Highlights from the Collection” contains registration and descriptive information along with digital images for 65 artifacts from the Oriental Institute Museum. These artifacts represent a cross-section of the cultural regions and historical periods contained in the museum’s entire collection.
 How far it has come since then!  Imagine running a server with 20MB of RAM, and a 250 MB hard drive.

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