Global Philology Cuneiform Workshop

Digital Assyriology in Germany: Second Circular

16 December 2016
Center of Advanced Studies, LMU Munich


The workshop “Digital Assyriology in Germany” is part of the Global Philology Project, initiated by Greg Crane, and one of several discipline specific meetings that will serve to assess the key requirements for creating a sustainable digital infrastructure to support the study of historical languages, the development of long-term preservation and open-access presentation of text materials, and the creation of analytical tools. In our case, the focus is on the languages recorded in the cuneiform script, most importantly Akkadian, Hittite and Sumerian.

Our informal, one-day scholarly meeting is the first of several planned domain specific workshops organized by the Global Philology Project scheduled over the next year, until May 2017. Relevant information from the day’s project presentations and roundtable discussion concerning open data collections, digital infrastructures, and developmental tools will be included in a detailed report to the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) submitted by Crane next May and ideally a future funding proposal. For further information about the Global Philology Project and its workshops in Germany, please contact Greg Crane ( or Matt Munson (

In this second circular, we would like to share the agenda and provisional schedule of the meeting in order to help you prepare for the day. For practical information on accommodation and travel please consult the First Circular of 1 August 2016.

A. The workshop’s agenda

1. Morning session: project presentations

To take stock of current and planned digital cuneiform projects, to compare and contrast current practice (including problems), and, most importantly, to stimulate discussion for the afternoon’s roundtable discussions, many of the workshop’s participants will present an informal ten minute presentation about their Digital Humanities projects/services. Additional suggestions are very welcome! The morning session will include talks on (1) digital text corpora, (2) digital dictionaries, and (3) digital applications or web services. Speakers may present in German or English and should briefly address the following questions/concerns (if applicable):

  • What content and / or services does your project provide?
  • Who is your intended audience? Do you monitor use and if so, in which way?
  • How accessible is your project? Under what licenses is your project available? For example, is it open-access and under what type of CC license; or is a subscription required to view your content/use your services; or is its use restricted?
  • Does your project create or use authority lists for people, places etc.?
  • How stable is your project for long-term citation? Are there standardized ways to cite particular documents and / or particular words and phrases within your project?
  • Does your project use or develop morphological analyzers, part of speech taggers, tag sets for syntax and / or automated syntactic analyzers?
  • What is the state of digital infrastructure within your project/host institution?

2. Afternoon session: roundtable discussions

Building upon the morning session’s presentations, the roundtable discussion (in German and English) will begin by reflecting on the current state of “Digital Assyriology” and by taking stock: what machineactionable collections of textual data are available and under what licenses, what analytical tools exist, how is digital content being citing, and who is using online cuneiform material. These reflections will serve to freely evaluate the field’s common ground and its points of departure and contention. It also gives us an opportunity to look at what we are doing right and what we may be doing wrong as a digital discipline. This will be followed by a discussion of infrastructure and institutional contexts and prospects and / or challenges for the short-term and long-term. In addition to staff from various universities, we will benefit from the insight of those participants based at or linked to research institutions including the Vorderasiatisches Museum (Hilgert), the Max Planck Institute (Wintergrün) and the various academies. We should aim to address the following questions:

  • What possibilities and / or challenges does a new digital infrastructure open up for the development of the field of Assyriology? Can this infrastructure be shared across different languages and / or scripts?
  • What is the general state of the digital infrastructure of Assyriology as a whole? Within Germany? At specific universities and research institutions?
  • Do senior faculty exercise direct leadership in the digital transition? Do senior faculty support PhD students, postdocs and/or junior faculty who are developing the skills to exercise direct leadership in the digital transition over the rest of their careers? If not, what is needed to address this issue?
  • The roundtable discussion will conclude with an open conversation about the future. Where would we, as a group, like to see “Digital Assyriology in Germany” in the short to mid-term of, say, two to three years from now? What services, tools, applications should be developed? What additional text corpora should be freely available in searchable/machine-readable formats? What can we do to expand our current user base?

B. Provisional schedule

Thursday, December 15th, 2016: participants arrive

Friday, December 16th, 2016: Workshop “Digital Assyriology in Germany”, held at Center of Advanced Studies (CAS), Seestraße 13, 80802 München:

9:00–9:10: Welcome and introductions (Radner)

9:10–9:30: The Global Philology Project (Crane)

Part I: Current work in progress – project presentations

  • BabMed = Babylonian Medicine Project:
  • CMAwRo = Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals online:
  • DiWAKS = Digitales philologisch-etymologisches Wörterbuch der altanatolischen Kleinkorpussprachen:
  • DNMS = Digitale Nah- und Mittelost-Studien:
  • EDA = Etymological Dictionary of Akkadian:
  • HPM = Hethitologie Portal Mainz:
  • MOCCI = Munich Open-access Cuneiform Corpus Initiative:
  • Oracc = Oracc: The Open Richly Annotated Cuneiform Corpus:
  • SEAL = Sources of Early Akkadian Literature:

9:30–11:00: Digital text corpora (Johnson – BabMed, Novotny & Radner – MOCCI, Schwemer & Müller – HPM, Schwemer – CMAwRo, Sommerfeld – DNMS, Streck – SEAL)

11:00–11:15: Coffee break

11:15–12:00: Digital dictionaries (Krebernik – EDA, Miller – DiWAKS, Tinney – Oracc)

12:00–12:30: Digital applications (Maul – computer-aided cuneiform text recognition, Riepl – Oracc map interface)

12:30-14:00: Lunch (served at CAS)

Part II: roundtable discussion (all participants)

14:00–14:45: Reflections on the current state of “Digital Assyriology” in Germany

14:45–15:45: Infrastructure and institutional support: what does exist and what do we need?

15:45–16:00: Coffee break

16:00–17:00: Plans and prospects

17:00–17:20: Closing remarks (Radner & Crane)

19:00: Dinner at Gasthaus Weinbauer

Saturday, December 17th, 2016: participants depart

10:00: Guided tour of the Staatliche Museum Ägyptischer Kunst: (optional)

12:00: Lunch (optional)

C. The participants

  • Prof. Dr. Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum (FU Berlin, Institut für Altorientalistik)
  • Prof. Dr. Gregory Crane (Universität Leipzig, Institut für Informatik)
  • Dr. J. Cale Johnson (FU Berlin, Fachbereich Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften: Babylonian Medicine Project)
  • Prof. Dr. Markus Hilgert (Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin)
  • Prof. Dr. Manfred Krebernik (Universität Jena, Institut für Orientalistik, Indogermanistik, Ur- und Frühgeschichtliche Archäologie)
  • Prof. Dr. Peer Kröger (LMU München, Data Science Lab)
  • Prof. Dr. Stefan Maul (Universität Heidelberg, Sem. für Sprachen und Kulturen des Vorderen Orients)
  • Prof. Dr. Jared Miller (LMU München, Institut für Assyriologie)
  • Prof. Dr. Gerfrid Müller (Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz, Hethitische Forschungen)
  • Matthew Munson (Universität Leipzig, Institut für Informatik)
  • Dr. Jamie Novotny (LMU München, Historisches Seminar)
  • Prof. Dr. Karen Radner (LMU München, Historisches Seminar)
  • Dr. Christian Riepl (LMU München, IT-Gruppe Geisteswissenschaften)
  • Prof. Dr. Walther Sallaberger (LMU München, Institut für Assyriologie)
  • Prof. Dr. Daniel Schwemer (Universität Würzburg, Institut für Altertumswissenschaften)
  • Prof. Dr. Walther Sommerfeld (Universität Marburg, Centrum für Nah- und Mittelost-Studien)
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Streck (Universität Leipzig, Altorientalistisches Institut)
  • Prof. Dr. Steve Tinney (University of Pennsylvania; cooperation with LMU München)
  • Dipl. Phys. Dirk Wintergrün (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin)