Monday, November 12, 2012

Latest digital tools for the study of ancient documents

The Arabic Papyrus, Parchment & Paper Collection at the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah is the largest of its kind in the United States. It contains 770 Arabic documents on papyrus and more than 1300 Arabic documents on paper, as well as several pieces on parchment. Professor Aziz Suriyal Atiya, founder of the Middle East Center and the Middle East Library, compiled the collection. Dr. Atiya and his wife, Lola, purchased the collection over a period of several years from dealers in Egypt, Beirut, and London. The bulk of the collection originated in Egypt, in addition to a small group of fragments from the University of Chicago. A large number of pieces date to the period between 700 and 850 CE. The collection includes a significant number of documents from the pre-Ottoman period and thus offers unique source material on the political, economic, religious and intellectual life of Egypt during the first two centuries of Islamic rule and the period up to Ottoman domination. The collection has yet to be catalogued.
Antinoou is a multi-platform Coptic font which supports the full set of Coptic characters encoded in the UCS, with pre-composed combinations of glyphs and overlines, dots, and accents to ensure better printing. Some applications on some platforms may not make use of the OpenType and Apple Advanced Typography (AAT) tables. In addition to Coptic, the full set of Greek characters encoded in the UCS is supported in the font, as is a selection of Latin letters used in transliteration of Coptic, Greek, Egyptian, and Arabic. A fairly large set of editorial punctuation characters is also supported in Antinoou. Both roman and italic styles are available, the Latin characters being italic proper and the Greek and Coptic characters being oblique.
T‑PEN is a web-based tool for working with images of manuscripts. Users attach transcription data (new or uploaded) to the actual lines of the original manuscript in a simple, flexible interface.

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