1995-96 ANNUAL REPORT
Charles E. Jones and John C. Sanders
This is the second year that the Annual Report has contained a section that focuses on the electronic resources which the Oriental Institute makes available via the Internet, and how these new technologies are helping to maintain the Oriental Institute in the forefront of ancient Near Eastern studies.
Oriental Institute World-Wide Web Database
We refer readers to last year's Annual Report for a brief description of what the World-Wide Web (WWW) is, how it originated, and for a history of the Oriental Institute's WWW database and web site.
Public use of our WWW file server has grown steadily since its debut in 1994 to its current weekly average of more than thirty thousand "hits" (or requests for files). That is more than a 100% increase in the number of hits on our server over this time last year. Visitors connect to our web site around the clock, from an average of forty countries per week, in order to read various text documents and look at the drawings and photographs available in our database that describe past and present research projects of the Oriental Institute.
Throughout this past year we have continued to add resources to our database, such as the 1994/95 Annual Report entries for the Oriental Institute's various archaeological and philological projects, as well as the Individual Scholarship, Oriental Institute Department, and Museum reports. Aside from the Annual Report , the following are the more significant documents made available during the past twelve months.
The Oriental Institute
The "case sensitive" Universal Resource Locator (URL), or address, of the Oriental Institute's WWW site is:
Publications of the Oriental Institute Museum
The Oriental Institute Virtual Museum
On June 5, 1996 the Oriental Institute announced a new component of our web site entitled the Oriental Institute Virtual Museum. The initial impetus for developing the Virtual Museum was the imminent closing of the Oriental Institute Museum during its two year renovation and climate control project. Although the reinstallation plans are still being developed, the curatorial staff have said from the outset that the reinstalled galleries will not follow the Museum's previous exhibition arrangement. So recording the museum with panoramic movie coverage prior to the start of the renovation project and once again after the galleries are reinstalled will be of great historical value for the Oriental Institute. It will also provide future visitors a chance to see how the museum was originally conceived, and to evaluate our new gallery exhibitions in light of this previous design.
The Virtual Museum makes use of a new technology developed by Apple Computer, Inc., called QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) panoramic movies, to take the visitor to the Virtual Museum on an alcove by alcove tour of each of the museum's galleries, accompanied by descriptions of each alcove and their artifacts. Where appropriate, links to related materials already in our WWW database, such as the "Museum's Highlights from the Collections," the "Photographic Archives," and relevant Oriental Institute archaeology and philology project reports elaborate on the more significant museum artifacts in greater detail. To view the Virtual Museum's panoramic movies, Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows 3.x users must have the Apple QuickTime VR Player software installed on their computers, but this software is free from Apple Computer, Inc., and links to download the required files are provided at our Virtual Museum site.
At the time this report is being written only the Egyptian and Assyrian Galleries are included in the Virtual Museum. The remaining galleries will be available later in 1996. When completed, the Virtual Museum will contain 51 separate QTVR panoramic movies of our six galleries and brief text entries from the museum's registration database describing the approximately 5,000 artifacts on exhibition.
Several methods of navigating through the Virtual Museum are available, each offering a different approach for the visitor:
-- a text-based, regional and topical structure;
-- a graphics-based, museum floor plan structure;
-- a graphics-based, gallery/alcove "thumbnail" image structure.
Three Oriental Institute staff members, Museum Assistant Curator Emily Teeter, Museum Photographer Jean Grant, and Head of the Computer Laboratory John Sanders spent eight months, working part time (circa 20% each), planning, photographing, and preparing the text descriptions. Two other University of Chicago personnel from the Academic Computing Service's Visualization and MultiMedia Laboratory, Director Chad Kainz and staff member Peter Leonard, spent six months, working part time (Chad at circa 5% and Peter at circa 50%), processing the still photographs taken in our galleries prior to the museum's closing into the QTVR movies. A full description of the process of planning, processing, and constructing the computer files that compose the Virtual Museum, outlining the costs in time and money, is part of the documentation for our Virtual Museum site, and we encourage visitors to read this document if they are interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the Virtual Museum.
The Universal Resource Locator (URL) or address of the Virtual Museum, which is case sensitive, is:
Oriental Institute Photographic Archives. On-line Exhibition of Historic Photographs from Oriental Institute Collections:
Oriental Institute Photographic Archives. Persepolis and Ancient Iran:
Oriental Institute Museum Suq Store. Book and Video List:
The Mummy and Coffin of Meresamun, by Emily Teeter:
Museum Education at the Oriental Institute Museum:
Publication of the Computer Laboratory
Oriental Institute Computer Laboratory WWW Home Page. Updated resources, additions, and corrections:
Publications of the Research Archives
Abzu: Guide to Resources for the Study of the Ancient Near East Available on the Internet:
The Directory of North American Egyptologists:
Publications of the Membership Office
"Excavations at Giza 1988-1991: The Location and Importance of the Pyramid Settlement," by Mark Lehner (News & Notes , No. 135, Fall 1992):
"A Balikh Prospect," by Tony J. Wilkinson (News & Notes , No. 147, Fall 1995):
"The Amuq Valley Project, 1995," by K. Asl1han Yener and Tony J. Wilkinson (News & Notes , No. 148, Winter 1996):
Oriental Institute Membership Office Travel Programs:
Publication of the Development Office
Oriental Institute Legacy Campaign:
Through the monumental effort of the Center for Computer Aided Egyptological Research in Utrecht, the entire corpus of Adriaan de Buck's The Egyptian Coffin Texts , originally published by the Oriental Institute, 1935-1961, is available on-line as a part of the Coffin Text Word Index:
The Demotic Dictionary Project
"Computers, Graphics, and Papyrology," by Janet H. Johnson. This article originally appeared in Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Papyrologists , Museum Tusculanum, Copenhagen, 1994, pp. 618-20, and was made available electronically with the permission of the editor:
"The Year of the Goddess," by W. Raymond Johnson (Chicago House Bulletin , Volume VII, No. 1, December 15, 1995):
Expanded resources including information on publications, and a number of new images:
"Thebes Photographic Project," by Thomas Van Eynde:
Afroasiatic Index Project
"The Afroasiatic Index Project," by Gene B. Gragg
Newsletter for Anatolian Studies
Newsletter for Anatolian Studies , Volume 11.1 (1995):
We invite any computer-minded reader with Internet access and World-Wide Web browser software on their computer to log into the Oriental Institute's database. Comments from viewers are appreciated, either by electronic mail (email) or the more conventional snail mail (postal service), as it is called today.
Ancient Near East (ANE) Mailing List
July 1996 marked the third anniversary of the ANE list. ANE is an electronic mailing list on the Internet focusing on topics and issues of interest in ancient Near Eastern studies. List communications are electronic mail messages sent to each subscriber in either the standard format or in digest form, which combines a series of separate contributions to ANE into a single electronic mail message to the user.
The ANE and ANE-Digest lists currently have more than 1,300 subscribers worldwide, with an daily average of 12 mailings to each subscriber and a peak output of 25-30 messages. A wide range of topics are discussed on the ANE list: new discoveries and publications in the field, public debate on controversial issues of policy and scholarship, job placement information, and other musings by subscribers.
To subscribe to the ANE mailing list, send an electronic mail (email) message to:
In the body of your email message, include either one or both of the following lines:
- subscribe ane
- subscribe ane-digest
You will receive a return email immediately confirming your subscription. We welcome either active or passive participation.
The Computer Laboratory and the Research Archives collaborate in the running of the ANE discussion group. John Sanders oversees the Majordomo computer program which automates the routine administration of Internet mailing lists and Charles E. Jones administers the ANE list itself.
Revised: February 23, 2007