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Oriental Institute Research Archives

The Library of the Oriental Institute has been among the fundamentally important features of research on the Ancient Near East in Chicago since the founding of the Oriental Institute. Physically centered in what James Henry Breasted described as "the most beautiful room in the building," the Research Archives plays an integral role in the conception, development and testing of research plans and strategies, and in the analysis and publication of the results of such plans. It is, in addition, the primary research tool for the students in the University of Chicago's Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and for a widening circle of scholars from around North America. Boasting the only full time bibliographer devoted exclusively to the study of the ancient Near East in the United States, the Research Archives is also widely respected for the breadth of its coverage of the literature on the ancient Near East, and for the comparative simplicity of its organization.

In recent years, the staff of the Research Archives has successfully sought to exploit its relationship with other departments of the Oriental Institute, in particular the Computer Laboratory, to seek ways to give some degree of remote access to its collections, and to provide new means of communication among the global community of scholars devoting themselves to the study of the ancient world. Despite these important and welcome developments, the collection, organization and cataloguing of scholarship written and published on paper is the primary function of the Research Archives, and it is the thoughtful, steady and ordered accumulation of such scholarship which will allow this institution to maintain its primacy as a tool for the study of the ancient Near East into the next century.

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Revised: February 19, 2007

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