Strasbourg cuneiform collection online

We are very pleased to announce a digitization collaboration between the Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg (BNUS) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-supported research project “Creating a Sustainable Digital Cuneiform Library (CSDCL).”

Under the general direction of the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative (CDLI - Los Angeles/Berlin), this international collaboration is dedicated to the digital capture, persistent archiving and web dissemination of major cuneiform collections in the US, Europe and the Middle East. The 476 cuneiform artifacts of BNUS represent a significant archive of texts in a major European collection. In August 2010, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science postdoctoral associate Ludek Vacin initiated the general capture of the collection; following fatcross-processing and cleaning of the raw images in Los Angeles, these files have now been posted to the CDLI website, and can be viewed here, with introductory text in English and French. Mr. Vacin has in the past month completed his capture of BNUS cuneiform, and in the next weeks the fatcrosses of those texts will be added to their line art images already posted to our pages.

From the inception of our collaboration, BNUS viewed this effort as an opportunity to make available its complete cuneiform collection to the world-wide community of web researchers and informal learners. The BNUS/CDLI web content will assist cuneiform specialists in the collation of existing publications (above all Frank, StrKT [1928]; Schneider, AnOr 1 [1931]; and Charpin & Durand, DCS [1981]), while at the same time general access to images of all text-artifacts, in conjunction with collated transliterations, establishes the broadest possible foundation for integrative research by the scholarly community. We are confident that our adherence in this collaboration to the principles of open access expressed, for instance, in the "Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities" promulgated by the German Max Planck Society, best serves all in the Humanities, but particularly in the fields of dead language research so dependent on access to source materials for their work. In opening to world-wide inspection cuneiform collections such as that located in Strasbourg, we join other cultural heritage and research institutions in the CSDCL partnership who believe that humanists must make every effort to fulfill their curatorial responsibilities to permanently archive, and to make available to the public all artifacts of shared world history that are in their immediate, or indirect care.


For the Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg:
M. Albert Poirot, Administrateur
    Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg
For the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative:
Bertrand Lafont, Co-Principal Investigator, CDLI
    Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique,  Paris
Jürgen Renn, Executive Director
    Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin