University of Pennsylvania Papyri Project (Summer 2004)

Tasks and Main Assignments (coordinated by Kraft and Dan Harris):

Specific Instructions (prepared by Dan Harris)

This is a very exciting time in Penn's papyrological history. For more detailed background, see the PPenn web page. The University holds two main papyrological collections, one formerly belonging to the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (CAJS) but now housed in the Rare Books Room of the Van Pelt Library and the other at the University Museum, plus a small collection of Cairo Genizah fragments (mostly on paper) in the Van Pelt Library. These collections have received varying degrees of attention, but everything is now in order for accurate description and imaging, and eventual online publication on APIS (the Advanced Papyrological Information System).

The plan for summer work on these papyri collections involves two basic actions: first, the collection/creation of information about our papyri (for our own PPenn site) and the transfer of much of this information into a format standardized for accessing from the APIS site ("metadata"). Second, the creation of high-resolution images of the papyri, which will be linked to the aforementioned data.

What follows is a basic guide to how the data recording should be carried out. These instructions assume that you have identified the papyrus on which you are working and have discovered any information recorded about that papyrus (this can be difficult sometimes!). Since we will be dealing at first only with published papyri, we probably won't be in a position to create much new information at this stage, although you are encouraged to be alert to possible improvements as you proceed. Later in the project, the information gathered from the published sources will be evaluated and expanded by examination of the actual fragments in the Museum.

Procedure for Entering Data into PPenn/APIS Metadata Sheet

1. Logon to the local site with the appropriate username and password. Select "papyrus" and you should see a list of papyri that have existing data.

2. To view/edit existing metadata (e.g the CAJS material), select "edit" -- DO NOT USE "DELETE"!

3. To enter data for a new papyrus, select "new" at the bottom of the page. A page with empty menus for data-entry should appear. Don't panic; you won't have to enter data into every field that is displayed!

4. What follows is a list of the fields (menus) that must be completed at a minimum:

  1. Inv. No. (Museum Inventory Number, e.g. E 16773); APIS numbers will be assigned later;
  2. Location (presently set to Library but will be changed to Museum);
  3. Materials: pull down menu and select a material (usually papyrus, leather [including parchment and vellum when no distinction is made], or paper);
  4. Items: number of papyri being described (e.g. 4 fragments of the same document);
  5. Size: width followed by height, in centimeters (visualize a box enclosing the preserved fragment when the edges are irregular);
  6. Physical Properties: any available information on physical characteristics of the papyrus such as the presence of margins, joins (kollesis), creases and folds, holes and tears, surface abrasion, overlap of sheets, color of writing surface, texture (fine, medium, thick), anomalies [e.g. fibers change direction relative to the writing]).
  7. Publication Status: once you have entered the information being described here, the item has been "Described."
  8. If it has actually been published (rather than simply mentioned in some other context), select "Published," and enter the bibliographical information below, in the "Bibliography" field.
  9. Other fields that should be filled if possible are: Acquisition (how Penn obtained the document) and Conservation status (anything that has been done to preserve/restore the papyrus).
  10. Once this information has been entered, PRESS SAVE at bottom of screen.
    ALWAYS press save after entering data.

5. The next step is to enter information about the text of the papyrus. N.B. This can be done only after you have provided an inventory number and pressed save. To enter information on the actual text, press "add new text" in "Text in papyrus" field. A page with various fields concerning details about the item will appear.

6. The fields that should, at a minimum, be completed in the text page are:

  1. Section/Side: if the writing is parallel to (along) the fibers, write "with fibers" and if written perpendicular to the fibers write "against fibers"; with leather (parchment, vellum), distinctions can be made between "hair side" and "flesh side." [If the published source uses "recto" and "verso," try to determine whether this refers to the physical layout on the material ("recto" normally means "with fibers"), or to the sequence of text (where "recto" sometimes means first side and "verso" is what follows, regardless of the physical layout). Avoid using "recto" and "verso" whenever possible.]
  2. Lines: enter number of lines, or parts of lines, of visible text.
  3. Paleographic Description: For the time being, we should give information on the writing and the arrangement of the text: type of script (cursive, semi-cursive, calligraphic), script direction compared to fiber direction, number of texts (1, 2, palimpsest?), columns and column numbers, number of hands, including subscriptions and endorsements. In the case of published papyri, this is mainly taken from the edition. Much of this sort of information may not be available; do what you can.
  4. Language: enter language using pull-down menu if desired language is available, otherwise enter the desired language.
  5. Genre: enter if literary or documentary using pull-down menu.
  6. Transcription: even if a transcription does not exist, enter the number of lines thus:
  7. Transcription Notes: enter any remaining information about the text here.
  8. PRESS SAVE BEFORE returning to main "papyrus information" page.

//end of data entry instructions; 19 May 2004//