Mellon grant will boost Abzu archival resource of the University's Oriental InstituteBy William Harms
The Oriental Institute’s premier Internet portal for the study of the ancient Near East, Abzu, is about to become a more powerful resource as a result of a $100,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant that will benefit a number of institutions.
The foundation has given a $100,000 grant for the creation of ETANA (Electronic Tools and Ancient Near Eastern Archives). ETANA, which is on the Web at http://www.etana.org/, is a cooperative project based at Vanderbilt University and supported by the Oriental Institute at the University and other organizations representing more than 7,000 scholars worldwide.
The new funding will allow ETANA to link Abzu to a more robust database and make it part of the developing ETANA comprehensive portal for ancient Near Eastern studies. The Abzu site, currently located at http://www-oi.uchicago.edu/OI/DEPT/RA/ABZU/ABZU.HTML, will remain a project of the research archives of the Oriental Institute, though its site address will likely change to one independent of the institute.
The grant also will allow ETANA participants to experiment with the digitization of up to 100 core texts important to scholars of the ancient Near East. Because of their ancient language content, published materials in this discipline can be especially difficult to digitize.
Charles Jones, Research Archivist at the Oriental Institute, who is editor and creator of Abzu, said, “The Oriental Institute, including the Research Archives and the Abzu project, is pleased to be a partner in ETANA.
“The collaborative nature of this endeavor is of critical importance, and the Mellon Foundation’s generous funding of the project will solidify and expand that partnership toward the enhancement of communication and further access to information on the world of the ancient Near East.”
Other organizations supporting ETANA are the American Oriental Society, the American Schools of Oriental Research, Case Western Reserve University Library, the Cobb Institute of Archaeology at Mississippi State University, the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University, the Society of Biblical Literature, Vanderbilt University Press and the Vanderbilt University Divinity Library.