The online Demotistische Literaturübersicht

A Brief history of its creation

Mark Depauw
(K.U.Leuven / Universitüt zu Küln)
Version 1: May 2006

The Demotistische Literaturübersicht, featured in the journal Enchoria since the first issue of 1971, has become a standard tool for Demotists in search of secondary literature. The current editors of the DL, F. Hoffmann and myself, were repeatedly asked about the possibilities of an online database version in which all instalments would be searchable simultaneously. The first agreements for a limited database, including kind permission from Harrassowitz Verlag and the editors of Enchoria, had already been made, when in November 2004 I was awarded a Sofja Kovalevskaja Prize of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation to set up a research team at the University of Cologne. The first aim of the elected project Multilingualism and Multiculturalism in Graeco-Roman Egypt was to create a database with metadata of all published Demotic and abnormal hieratic texts, parallel to the already existing tools for Greek papyrology. It soon became evident that such a database would hardly be practicable without an accompanying bibliographic database, and for this reason I decided to set up a digital version of the Demotistische Literaturübersicht as one of the first steps.

The creation of this Filemaker 7 database would have been much more cumbersome were it not for two people, to whom I should like to express my gratitude here. First of all there was H.J. Thissen, who provided us in March 2005 with his own Filemaker 5 DemLü-database which he had kept up-to-date for private use until then; and secondly S. Gülden, who adapted the structure of her own bibliographic databases for this new purpose and coordinated the transfer of data into the new structure.

The next step was to integrate the bibliographic descriptions, the copyright of which remains with the individual authors. The most recent ones (except for those published in the latest issue of Enchoria) were kindly put at our disposal by F. Hoffmann, but for technical reasons those before DL 25 had to be typed or scanned in and checked. This was done by student collaborators S. Eslah and M. Kromer. They also checked all bibliographic data on the original publication and established links for each publication with the Database of Demotic and Abnormal Hieratic Texts (DAHT), another part of our MMGRE-project that will be put online in the near future.

Finally, B. Van Beek created the current MySQL / PHP version of the Demotistische Literaturübersicht. We plan to enhance the search modalities as soon as possible, but this preliminary version should cover the most urgent needs of the majority of users.