Iraqi Scholars Work with CyArk to Create a Digital Nineveh

Training workshop at Durham University to digitize old Nineveh records

by Elizabeth Lee
November 4, 2008
I am traveling on a southbound train to London after an exciting two day workshop at Durham University. With WiFi access on the trains I figured this was the perfect opportunity for an on-the-road blog.

As part of a continuation of the Digital Nineveh Archives project, Eleanor Wilkinson of Durham University hosted a 2 day workshop to teach Iraqi scholars how to digitize, organize, and disseminate records via the CyArk website. I was invited to teach best practices for digitizing content and to provide instruction on the CyArk SiteManager web-based software.

The work centered around the Assyrian site of Nineveh. The Digital Nineveh Archives project began with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize records from the UC Berkeley excavations at Nineveh from 1987-1990. This new phase of the project aims to collaborate with Iraqi archaeologists and scholars to create an extensive, international collection.

The first morning was spent becoming more familiar with both the Digital Nineveh Archives project and CyArk. We discussed what has been done thus far, and what work can be done in the future. After a filling meal of English pies and fish and chips we went back to work a little sleepy but continued through the afternoon. The afternoon portion began with an overview of CyArk SiteManager and completed with an overview of how to digitize photographs and field notes. The second day started with hands-on work in the computer lab. Everyone worked together to digitize photos and slides on the flatbed scanner. Then the digital versions were uploaded into CyArk SiteManager where further annotation took place. After a much lighter lunch we concluded by formulating a plan for the work moving forward. Much of the discussion centered around a plan to incorporate many Iraqi museum catalogs. It was a very encouraging two days and its so exciting to see how simple web-based technologies can provide an incredible platform for international collaboration.

The first phase of the Nineveh project is expected to launch on the CyArk website before the end of the year, with Iraqi additions planned for the spring.

The Archaeology Building at Durham University
Learning the software in the computer lab
Some of the slides that were scanned during the workshop