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The Digital Library of Inscriptions

The Digital Library of Inscriptions aims to build an integrated digital library of various inscriptions to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of monuments, and writings carved on buildings and archaeological remains across the ages, inside and outside Egypt. The project is the first endeavor of its kind, and yet the Digital Library of Inscriptions has the potential of becoming a widely utilized resource. It will give people around the world, whether specialized or not, access to all kinds of historical inscriptions and will help preserve the inscriptions for future generations, regardless of what becomes of the original monuments.

It was originally developed to document scripts written on the Pharonic, Greek, Coptic and Islamic monuments of Alexandria, including pictures, transliterations and translations. The project's scope was then broadened to include 1500 scripts from different monuments around the world.

Website features

The website has been renovated with the intention of making more than 3000 inscriptions freely available in a more interactive form. It includes a unique online collection of Ancient Egyptian, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Greek inscriptions. The basic data and detailed descriptions of these inscriptions are displayed in two languages: Arabic and English. The inscriptions are digitally displayed for the user, including information about them such as storing place, material, type of script, discovery place, historical period and its dimensions. In addition, the user can obtain a detailed description of the inscription, with its images besides its transcription, transliteration and translation. The scientific references related to the inscriptions are also available in the scientific publishing so that the user can access them when he needs more details about the inscription.

The inscriptions are available in a searchable form, where they can be easily browsed by language, or classification of the inscription; accessories, architecture, arts and sculpture furniture, implements and utensils, jewelry, numismatics, and religious and cult objects. Advanced search through the website can be also conducted using the classification of artifacts, their numbers, material, discovery or storing places, and historical period among others.

The project is a joint endeavor of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Sector and Calligraphy Center, at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA), where the Calligraphy Center provided the artifacts and the ICT team applied the latest technology to make this invaluable collection available in a user-friendly website.

Technical details

The BA has designed and implemented a database for metadata, transliterations, translations and pictures. A workflow was implemented and is being used for documenting monuments' metadata and their corresponding inscriptions. More than 3000 monuments associated with their metadata and inscriptions, have been documented. A web-based application with both Arabic and English interfaces was also implemented.



Last updated on 22 Jan 2015