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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1993-94 Annual Report

The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary

1993-94 Annual Report

Erica Reiner

Would you have thought that the Assyrian Dictionary Project would prove to be a magnet for undergraduates at the University of Chicago? We had our doubts in 1989 when we first listed the dictionary project with the College Research Opportunities Program (CROP), a program that allows undergraduates to assist with University of Chicago research projects. However, through the years we have had the valuable assistance of a number of motivated and able undergraduates. Nader Salti, our first CROP worker, was interested in having some experience that would set his medical school application apart from the rest; he was pleased that every medical school interviewer asked him about the Assyrian Dictionary, and he is now well launched into his career as a surgeon. As an undergraduate, Thomas Dousa wanted to spend more time around the Oriental Institute. Upon graduation, Thomas was awarded a Mellon Scholarship and is now completing his third year in graduate school in Egyptology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and also works for the Oriental Institute's Demotic Dictionary. Ever since the age of eight, Erin McKean had wanted to be a lexicographer. She volunteered her time at the Assyrian Dictionary office in academic years 1991-92 and 1992-93 so that she could gain lexicographical experience, and when she graduated, she had no trouble finding a job in the children's dictionary division of Scott Foresman. Our most recent CROP student was Mark Miyake, who wanted to know how work on a major research project is done. We hope that his time with the dictionary project helps him in his later career, whatever that may be. We are also looking forward to working with Rachel Dahl, who will begin work in July 1994.

The constant infusion of young blood has helped us move the completion of the dictionary closer and closer. The R Volume absorbed most of the staff's energy in the past year, and by the end of academic year 1994 it will be shipped off to the printer. Í Part III has been printed, and we await the arrival of the volumes so that the Oriental Institute Publications Office can begin distribution.

We were very pleased to finish the editorial work on the R Volume. The checking was completed in late winter 1994 and then the corrections and additions were transferred to the copy of the manuscript that we will send to the printer. The innocuous word "checking" covers the painstaking process of comparing every entry in the manuscript to the original cuneiform text, as it appears in hand copies in various publications; as yet unpublished texts must often be compared to the photograph of the tablet. This process is absolutely necessary because the manuscripts are based on file cards that have been prepared over a period of more than fifty years and are sometimes outdated. Checking requires not only an excellent knowledge of Akkadian but also great familiarity with the status of the field.

Seeing that new references are included in our card files is the responsibility of Professor Martha Roth. She reads material as it is published and adds new references to the files. New texts are being published constantly and the references need to be collected for the current volumes we are working on, as well as for the previously published volumes in preparation for a future Supplement volume.

We are pleased to have again been joined by Mr. Remigius Jas of the Free University of Amsterdam. He arrived at the beginning of June 1994 and will spend a year working on the P Volume.

We would like to close with an update of the status of the remaining volumes for faithful readers of the Annual Report. Additional progress has been made on T and Tu. T is in first galleys. The galleys have been read and commented on by the resident Assyriologists and outside consultants and proofread by the editorial assistant and an outside proofreader. The comments and additions are read by the editor-in-charge and any corrections and additions are marked on a copy of the galleys that is sent to the printer. The P Volume, which was written and partially edited at an earlier time, will be the next volume to be edited. The editor-in-charge will start editing P in the summer of 1994. Most of the Tu Volume has been written. The U/W Volume is the only volume that still needs to be completely written and edited.

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