Chicago Hittite Dictionary
1998-99 ANNUAL REPORT
Harry A. Hoffner, Jr.
The staff of the project underwent only minor changes during the year 1998/99. Hans Güterbock and Harry Hoffner remained co-editors. Richard Beal, Hripsime Haroutunian, and Oguz Soysal remained on the staff as Research Associates. Irv Diamond continued to render assistance as a volunteer. And we were occasionally assisted on-site by graduate students in Hittitology Simrit Dhesi, Kathleen Mineck, and Dennis Campbell. What did change was the degree of involvement of several colleagues off-site, who served as consultants. As we entered the homestretch in the process of preparing the manuscript for the first of two projected volumes on the letter S, it was vital to have constructive criticism of the pre-final drafts of these articles from our consultants. Two North American colleagues, Gary Beckman of the University of Michigan and Craig Melchert of the University of North Carolina, gave valuable criticisms. Melchert was particularly generous with his time and expertise. Overseas, we were able to tap the expertise of Gernot Wilhelm of Würzburg, Germany in the area of Hurrian language. All of this was quickly and easily accomplished through new computer networking capacities put into place in the Institute by John Sanders, who assisted in posting dictionary article drafts on the Hittite Dictionary Project website in a password-protected folder for access by our off-site consultants. Since the articles are posted in Adobe Acrobat format, they can be generated by project Macintosh computers but read by consultants using other platforms who do not have the project font resident in their systems.
On-site work continues to follow time-tested procedures, although we are always looking for better and more efficient methods to expedite the work. Newly published texts are entered by Haroutunian into the project computers for electronic retrieval. She also utilizes newly found duplicates and joins to update the project's text base of texts published years ago. Soysal writes first drafts of articles; currently he is preparing the last few words in the SU range before plunging into the TA words. Beal, who performs so many important functions on the project, is occasionally available to write a first draft as well. Drafts are then criticized by on-site project staff. Of particular importance are the comments of Güterbock, whose long years of research experience give him a unique perspective and deep understanding of the texts. Since his eyesight is almost completely gone, a staff member - usually Beal - reads drafts to him and records his comments and queries. These are then followed up, evaluated, and used to modify the drafts.
Since often several years pass from the time of composition of the first draft and the revisions leading to a final draft, it falls to Hoffner to add in newly published text material and integrate newly found joins and duplicates to the pre-final drafts, ensuring that they now reflect the current state of knowledge in the field. Occasionally Soysal is able to contribute information from unpublished textual material from the Ortaköy excavations that he is preparing for publication jointly with Aygül Süel, the chief epigrapher of the excavation.
When the entire manuscript has passed through the final revisions by Hoffner, the reference-checking process begins. This is a tedious and time-consuming task that so far has resisted our efforts to find ways to automate it with computers. All text citations must be checked against the original cuneiform publications for accuracy of citation, and all citations of secondary literature must be checked against the original books and journal articles. A small group of graduate students assist the Research Associates in this task. A manuscript that has been reference-checked is then edited for proper CHD format by Beal and Hoffner before being sent to the Institute Publications Office. It is this reference-checking stage that we are in at the time this report is being prepared.
We are happy to report that the Hittite Dictionary Project has been given another two-year grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), extending from 1 July 1999 through 30 June 2001. We are also grateful for the many smaller donations to the project by Oriental Institute members and friends. We take this opportunity to express our deepest appreciation to the NEH and its helpful support staff not only for the funds, without which we could not have accomplished all that has been achieved in the past twenty years of the dictionary's life, but also for the extremely valuable advice that has come to us from Endowment staff and its academic evaluators. A major benefit of the Endowment's close supervision and advice will take the form of a site visit by members of its staff in fall 1999, at which time we will also receive advice from specialists in the computerization of lexical projects similar to ours. We expect this advice to result in greatly increased efficiency of production and greater accuracy and usability of the final product, which will most likely include some form of internet availability of the dictionary's contents.
Revised: February 7, 2007