Digitalization of papyri, ostraca and other objects
Van alle papyri en andere objecten uit de collectie van het Leids Papyrologisch Instituut zijn digitale opnames gemaakt die zullen worden gebruikt voor onderzoek, onderwijs en ontsluiting van de collectie voor een groter publiek. De collectie zal in de nabije toekomst online beschikbaar worden gesteld via het Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS).
The papyruscollection of the Leiden Papyrological Institute is a modest collection, housed in the University Library of Leiden University. It was built up as a study collection and used in the first place for teaching and reaching a larger public. For that reason, not only papyri and ostraca, but also other writing materials from Egypt were collected (stone, parchment, linen, lead, wood, waxed tablets, coins) from the period between the fourth century BCE and the eighth century CE. The texts are mostly written in Greek and/or Demotic, although Hieratic, Coptic and Latin are also represented, and while most texts are of a documentary nature, some are literary and sometimes unique. The collection started with the legacy of 21 Warren papyri in 1935, and was gradually enlarged by acquisitions and gifts to more than 660 numbered objects in 2012 (not counting the 235 coins), of which about 500 are Greek papyri. Apart from some folders with minor or unrestored fragments, all papyri are mounted between glass.
About half of the texts are published so far (mainly in the series Papyrologica Lugduno-Batava; see more detailed information on the Collections website of Trismegistos). Publication of the texts belonging to the Leiden collection is an ongoing task for staff members of the Papyrological Institute, in which advanced students are also involved. A new volume with Leiden texts is planned to be published in the coming years.
Many earlier publications of the Leiden texts were accompanied by (black-and-white) plates, and simple scans were made of a number of unpublished papyri for teaching purposes. The larger part of the collection, however, was never photographed.
In 2012 a new project was started to digitalize the whole collection of the Leiden Papyrological Institute, to facilitate, promote and encourage the study of the original antique texts and make the Leiden collection available on the internet through the Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS).
With financial help of the Leiden Institute of Area Studies all papyri (kept in their glass mount) and other objects are now scanned or photographed in high quality. The existing card catalogue at the Papyrological Institute with information on contents, date, and origin of the pieces is being updated and digitalized. Moreover, the information which is already available on the published Leiden texts through the existing papyrological databases integrated in the Papyrological Navigator, will be updated so as to include not only the Greek text of the publication, but also the later corrections to the Greek text as published in the Berichtigungsliste, as well as a translation.
The goal is that within the next few years the images of each individual text (thumbnails in the case of unpublished texts) of the Leiden collection will be entered into APIS, as well as the updated metadata of all texts. Links to other papyrological databases will make it possible to also see the transcription and translation of the texts insofar as they were already published. In this way the collection of the Leiden Papyrological Institute will be opened up, not only to professional colleagues, but to everyone who is interested in looking at or studying original texts which give so much information on the society of Graeco-Roman-Byzantine Egypt.