Research Uncovered—A rock and a hard place: creating the Online Corpus of Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia

What: A rock and a hard place: creating the Online Corpus of Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia

Who: Daniel Burt

When: 13.00—14.00, Tuesday 2 May 2017

Where: Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

The Arabian Peninsula lies at the heart of the Middle East. Today, it is of enormous strategic and commercial importance and this was also the case in antiquity. Yet, most of what we know about its ancient history, languages and cultures comes from contemporaries looking at it from outside, such as the Assyrians, Greeks, and Romans, or from much later reports on what was considered the “Age of Ignorance”.

This talk gives an overview of inscriptions found in North Arabia, and outlines the process of creating the Online Corpus of Inscriptions of Ancient North Arabia (OCIANA) database. It will be of interest to anyone wanting to understand how complex databases are designed. In particular, it focusses on using FileMaker Pro for research databases.

Daniel Burt graduated from the University of Manchester in the early 1990s and went on to work in a variety of technical roles involving data architecture in the private sector and the computer games industry, before joining Cancer Research UK where he developed a prize-winning database managing clinical administration within the Medical Oncology Unit at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

Following on from his work for Cancer Research UK, Daniel worked on a number of development contracts for clients including The Department of Health and Oxford University Press, before joining the University of Oxford in 2005. Over the last 12 years he has been involved in creating databases and websites for individual departments and research projects across the Humanities Division, as well as for The Ashmolean Museum, The Museum of Natural History, and the Pitt Rivers Museum. During his time at Oxford, Daniel has worked on projects funded by, amongst others, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, the Wellcome Trust, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and has taught courses on working with digital images and assets and database development to both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Access: Please meet at 12.55 by the Information Desk in the Weston Library’s Blackwell Hall to be taken to the Centre for Digital Scholarship. If you have a University or Bodleian Reader’s card, you can also get there through the Mackerras Reading Room on the first floor of the Weston Library, around the gallery, having checked any bags into a locker (£1 returnable deposit) before you head upstairs.

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