A letter from Charles Ellwood Jones (head librarian at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World) in the October 23 issue of the NYRB contains the following enticing information:

Indeed, the Oriental Institute has taken the bold and laudable decision to make all the published products of its research programs accessible without charge. A convenient list of the more than one hundred volumes of scholarship currently accessible can be found at oihistory.blogspot.com/2008/04/oriental-institute-electronic.html. Much of it documents the intellectual and material remains of the people who inhabited Iraq in the past.

Here‘s the actual catalog; click on the categories to get the lists of publications. I hope this generous policy is imitated by more institutions. An informed public is a public that is likely to purchase scholarly publications.


  1. (Hat, forgive me for hijacking the comment section of this message to reply to A.J.P. Crown: by to do a Nero Wolfe on I meant ‘to destroy as unfit to exist’, referring to the memorable occasion on which the fat detective burned, page by page, in the fireplace, his copy of Webster’s Third. See the Ridger’s comment for details.)

  2. A.J.P. Crown says

    Thank you, John. That was bothering me.

  3. No problem, this post wasn’t going to get any comments otherwise.

  4. Ah, Chicago, not Oxford. I wonder why Demotic is so much better represented than Coptic? All the good stuff’s in Coptic.

  5. A.J.P. Crown says

    With reference, strictly speaking, to a post earlier in the year, from today’s Guardian:

    “I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God created on earth,” Harold Pinter once said, “certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either.”

  6. Just a note: not all the books in the catalog are available for download. “Studies in Arabic Literary Papyri” isn’t. Drat etc.

  7. For Coptic, Crum is online.

  8. John Emerson says

    Crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, cicadas, katydids — all better than sex.

  9. Pinter should have tried chocolate cake before he died.

  10. Also available online are Plumley’s grammar and various Coptic gospels (Thomas, Philip). The PHI Coptic texts are also fairly readily available on CD. In contrast with the Greek and Latin Fathers though, Antonius, Pachomius, Sinuthius, & al. are scarcely in evidence at all.

  11. The next batch of OI books is at the scanner right now. It includes all the remaining Egyptological publications. And I will announce it in a variety of places when they are available. http://oihistory.blogspot.com/2008/04/oriental-institute-electronic.html will continue to list all the volumes available on line at any given time.

  12. Interestingly, when I actually went to the Oriental Institute and perused their gift shop, 90% of it was Egypt-related. I couldn’t find a single pretty coffee-table style book of pictures of their Near East collections, or a single accessible (meaning: not printed in 10-point sans serif on rice paper in full-on academic jargon) book about the Near East.

  13. Well now, Abzu returns 118 records containing ‘Coptic’ (46 of them thanks to Orlandi), not all live (unfortunately #87 contra Origenistas is down), but including other Sinuthian – as well as Athanasian – texts in the original. Fantastic.

  14. At least the Oriental Institute doesn’t fuss about taking photographs. The Jorvik Viking Center in York is very anal about that, even though they won’t sell you a photograph of anything they’ve got. And I seem to remember the OI gift shop used to have some carpets from Afghanistan with tanks and airplanes worked into the design.

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