This is probably all over the internet by now, but I just discovered (via MetaFilter) that Google has a beta search for scholarly publications called Google Scholar. I tried searching on Abkhaz and got 304 results; interestingly, the first page is mostly linguistic material, with the political stuff (“Ethno-Federalism and Civic State-Building Policies. Perspectives on the Georgian-Abkhaz Conflict,” “The Georgian-Abkhaz Conflict in a Regional Context,” &c) coming later. I’ve already turned up a paper on “Kartvelian substrate toponyms in Abkhazia” by T Gvantseladze and R Tchantouria (HTML, pdf) with fascinating information on local toponyms:

In this paper we discuss a specific Kartvelian model of toponyms, using names of plants without any affixes as toponyms. This model is observed almost all over the Georgian territory. It has been noted on the Abkhazian territory as well, but is not found in the Abkhaz language. We suggest that Sukhumi, Gagra and Tkvarcheli follow this model.

They derive the name of Sukhumi from “a Svan word denoting a plant (singular form), cf. Svan cxum/cxƒm/cxwim, Georg. cxem-la, Megr.-cxem-ur-i/cxim-ur-i, Laz cxem-ur-i/m-cxeb-r-i.” I love this stuff, and I love Google Scholar already. For a more balanced view by librarians (Shirl Kennedy and Gary Price), see Resource Shelf.


  1. The biggest problem I see is the mix of authors and titles in the same db. Who knew that there was a chemist named “Jurchen”, or a rice variety named “Khazar”. (Though actualy the second problem has nothing to do with the title-author mix).
    I expect it to be fun, though. My self-Google was disappointing but not surprising.

  2. I must’ve been making mistakes in formulating my requests. None of the searches return anything sufficient. I will have to recall my ancient researching skills and go to the physical art library instead, with cards and helpful bespectacled ladies.
    Zizka, what – no Vespucci connection? it’s a shame…
    PS – and OT: John, have you tried that little archeological e-game? I thought it would please you, but may be not.

  3. Google Scholar has thus far been a big disappointment. I’m trying to look up articles and keep getting nothing. I must be doing something wrong. Help

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