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The Data Base of Cuneiform Texts

The 1987 Data Base

Giorgio Buccellati – January 2010

The original disk
Significance of the 1987 disk
The data

The original disk

     The Terqa textual data base was issued in 1987 as a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk   reproduced in the image to the right. It was never re-issued in any other format, and is only now made available again (with thanks to Gerald V. Scordan for his help in file transfer).
     I provided the general framework and the code system, A. Podany provided the input for the texts found before our excavation, and O. Rouault provided the input for the texts found during our excavations through the 4th season.
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Significance of the 1987 disk

     The 1987 floppy disk was perhaps the first electronic publication of any collection of cuneiform texts. One of its merits was the rigorous application of a coherent and explicit ASCII format, which had two major goals.
     (1) It allowed for the data to be processed by various programs. Th ones that were written at the time produced an early cuneiform font (never published because graphic capabilities were minimal at the time), concordances and indices by transliteration and cuneiform. The programs were developed in the late 70es, and would run on a mainframe computer, so they were never published as such, except for articles that described their results.
     (2) From the start, the format was intended to ensure portability. While the medium (tapes on the mainframe and the floppy disk on early personal computers) went quickly into disuse, the content has indeed remained valid to this day, as this publication shows.
     Hardly any notice was paid to the Terqa 1987 floppy disk, because not only was computer usage very limited, but also the format was too unfamiliar to scholars working in the field.
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The data

     Thus it is that the data contained in the 1987 disk can be made available here just as they were then, and can now be more readily appreciated and used.
     I give two parallel versions in this website. First, the coded version, exactly as found in the original disk, and, second, the same data reformatted in the standard Assyriological notation.

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