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The Oriental Institute Publication Program

The first official publication of The Oriental Institute appeared in 1922 as Communication Number 1 - The Oriental Institute of The University of Chicago: A Beginning and a Program . In this book, James Henry Breasted recounted the events leading to the founding of The Oriental Institute and the achievements of recent years.

Today, this series as well as eleven others are published by The Oriental Institute. The individual works deal with excavation reports, linguistic and historical studies, translations of and commentaries on texts from all cultures of the ancient Near East. Although the faculty of The Oriental Institute and the Department of Near Eastern Languages of The University of Chicago are well represented among the authors, scholars from many institutions are also included.

Until the middle 1970s, most of the publications of The Oriental Institute were printed and distributed by The University of Chicago Printing Department and Press. The Institute received a percentage of the sale's income in the form of royalties. During that time, the task of producing Oriental Institute publications was increasingly contracted to freelance designers, editors and artists outside the Institute. This was to change in 1976 when the entire publications program was reorganized as an "in-house" operation. Today, the publication office of the Institute numbers two full-time staff members and four work study students who edit, design, produce and distribute publications using state-of-the-art computer equipment. A reflection of the increased efficiency of the in-house publishing program which is entirely overseen by The Oriental Institute is the appearance of thirty-nine volumes in various series during the last seven years.

Not only are excavation reports and historical and linguistic studies published promptly, making the research available to scholars and the public, but the publications department maintains a broad distribution and exchange program with scholarly institutions in other parts of the world.

Fonts and Computers

The material that is published by The Oriental Institute often calls for very specialized editing and typesetting, particularly for books containing non-Latin scripts. Traditionally, hieroglyphs were set in metal type. This was a laborious process, for each hieroglyph can appear in several sizes and in various orientations to other signs. In 1991, the publications office started using a computer-generated hieroglyphic font, designed especially for The Oriental Institute. The publications office also has computer fonts to reproduce Hebrew, Greek, and Coptic scripts that are commonly used in the publications, and to transliterate all of the ancient Near Eastern languages. Such innovations have dramatically reduced the cost of producing books with complicated typefaces and have also made their production much more rapid.

Samples of Oriental Institute Series Publications

Ancient Records

Although this series was initiated in 1906, before the founding of The Oriental Institute in 1919, Ancient Records has been incorporated into the Oriental Institute publications. The volumes in this series were intended to present English language translations of all significant historical inscriptions from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Palestine, Phoenicia and Syria. Although the entire series was never completed, much of the material from these areas was later published in other Oriental Institute monographs.

Oriental Institute Communications

This series is intended to publish the progress and results of archaeological activity of The Oriental Institute. The volumes are usually written for the general audience, but they often have served as interim excavation reports while more complete and scholarly works are being prepared.

Oriental Institute Publications

These large format, hard bound books are primarily scientific and technical final reports of excavations and epigraphic work.

Assyriological Studies

The grammar, structure and content of cuneiform texts from Mesopotamia and ancient Anatolia form the basis for this series.

Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization

A wide variety of historical and linguistic topics from all cultures of the ancient Near East is included in this series. Many of the volumes are unrelated to fieldwork and are the results of individual scholarly work.

Oriental Institute Essays

Each of the volumes in this series is an individual treatment of a specific topic in the ancient Near East: comprehensive histories, comparative theologies, and cultural studies. The components of this series are frequently used in secondary and college courses.

Materials for the Assyrian Dictionary

This series presents linguistic studies of the Old Akkadian language. These volumes were the basis for the beginning of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary.

Oriental Institute Nubian Expedition

The final reports of the Nubian Expedition (1960-68) are issued in this series. Recent volumes deal with specific sites and the materials recovered in the course of the excavations. Earlier volumes in the series included surveys of Nubian temples and cemeteries.

Materials and Studies for Kassite History

Cuneiform sources which document the Kassite period in Babylonia are published in this series.

Oriental Institute Museum Publications

Illustrated brochures, catalogues, guides and books describing exhibits, as well as materials for teachers, are issued in the museum series.

The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CAD)

The Hittite Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (CHD)

Revised: April 23, 2013

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