Digital Hammurabi in the media

  • National Geographic Magazine - March 2004
    Digital Dopplegaengers
    Sitting at their own computers, researchers worldwide would be able to manipulate images, rotating the cyber tablets and zooming in to read miniscule writing.

  • Johns Hopkins Magazine - September, 2003
    Clay, Paper, Code
    Scholars, at their desks, will be able to instantly navigate between two-dimensional images of Aramaic papyri and Hebrew ostraca and three-dimensional images of neo-Babylonian cuneiform tablets. Scholars will print out three-dimensional plastic replicas of pertinent tablets for their students to work on. More students will study ancient languages, and we will see greater productivity in research and publication. And we will throw away our index cards, once and for all.

  • Baltimore Sun newspaper - February 16, 2003
    Digging up a modern way of tracking ancient text
    The thought of having an easy-to-use 3-D catalog at his fingertips makes sense, [Piotr] Michalowski said, although he acknowledges being a "traditional" person who enjoys the romance of hunting through musty collections to try to prove his theories. "It's kind of like being Indiana Jones, without the beautiful women and explosions," he said. "But I guess we're organizing. I'm sure that in five or 10 years, the Internet will be the only way we study," he added with a sigh.

  • Applied Physics Laboratory News - July 2, 2002
    Capturing Cuneiform
    Two-dimensional photos of these texts are inadequate for detailed study because they don't show subtle shapes and indentations made as writers pressed their styli into the clay.

  • Library Journal - May 30, 2002
    Hopkins Digital Research Projects Get $3 Million
    One project, entitled "Digital Hammurabi: High-Resolution 3D Imaging of Cuneiform Tablets," will use a $1.55 million grant to create three-dimensional images of ancient cuneiform tablets, the oldest written documents in the world.

  • USA Today newspaper - May 21, 2002
    Ancient writing system gets Internet update
    The most ambitious project is Digital Hammurabi, which this month received a grant from the National Science Foundation ... "A photo doesn't really capture it," says Johns Hopkins Assyriologist Jerrold Cooper. "The beauty of this is that with fast and cheap 3-D scanning, we can practically put the tablet in your hands on your desktop," he adds.

  • Applied Physics Laboratory Update (88 kb pdf file) - May 15, 2002
    Virtual Cuneiform Library
    The Hopkins team will develop a portable, high-resolution (100 lines per millimeter) 3D scanner able to scan all facets of a tablet in under a minute. New software will permit researchers to examine these tablets close up from any angle.

  • Hopkins Gazette newspaper - May 13, 2002
    Sheridan Libraries Get Prestigious NSF Grants
    Because cuneiform tablets are in various collections throughout the world, access is an issue for scholars working in the field, noted [Lee] Watkins. With a database of detailed, three-dimensional digital replicas of the tablets, not only will access for scholars improve, but study of the tablets also will be improved because digital images can be enhanced and analyzed in ways that the physical artifacts cannot.

  • Johns Hopkins Magazine - June 2001
    A new standard for cuneiform
    Once cuneiform has been encoded, ancient tablets can be scanned, and the image processed by optical character recognition software to create a rough transliteration that scholars can fine-tune. Researchers will be able to transmit cuneiform by e-mail and to archived digital texts. ... Since Unicode is a widely adopted standard, not a piece of proprietary technology, it is more likely to endure. Says Snyder, "These cuneiform tables have survived 5,000 years. We don't want data systems that are gone in 10."

  • Krieger School of Arts & Sciences News - November 13, 2000
    Hopkins Gazette newspaper - November 13, 2000
    Cuneiform Scholars Take High-Tech Road to Translation
    Cuneiform scholars came to the conference from as far away as Helsinki, Finland, and Birmingham, England, in order to sit down with software engineers from Silicon Valley and Salt Lake City and figure out a methodology for creating a standard Unicode entry number to attach to each of the nearly thousand graphemes and characters of the ancient writing system.