Preface to the advanced mode
The recommendation concluded by the CIPEG conference, hold at Alexandria, 21-24 September 2005, to support the idea that object information and digital images from all Egyptian collections be gathered under one umbrella, and that the Global Egyptian Museum should occur under its aegis, has been the reason to design and develop a completely new user interface, which is more suitable for its task as a dynamic on-line collection.
The advantages for research of one common database for Egyptian collections are obvious, even if the information often will be restricted to the “passport data” and one digital image. Objects can easily be retrieved, located and compared. For example objects from the same archaeological site can be brought together virtually. Different parts of an object, kept in different collections, can be traced down. Parallels can be studied. Moreover, all information can always be updated or corrected if necessary.
The aim of the GEM is not to replace or substitute local databases, but to be an extension and supplement of them.
Now that most museums have digitized their old file cards in any database system, it should not be too difficult and complicate to convert object information from a local system to the GEM. Both data entry and retrieval occur with the help of the Multilingual Egyptological Thesaurus, which CIPEG concluded as the standard for electronic databases in 1996. In this new version of the GEM the hierarchy of the main attributes is shown clearly. Data entry can be done in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. The Arabic version will be available soon as well. For free text we prefer and recommend English.
The data entry module is accessible by clicking on the lock icon in the upper toolbar and after registration with the username and password, which are unique for each participant. You will be allowed to change information and add or delete objects only in the database of your own collection. However, during the input session you will be able to consult the total database of the GEM. A facility to upload digital images and format them automatically according to the rules of the GEM as well as to add other attachments (e.g. 3-D movies, audio comments) is integrated in the system.
The main attributes of the data entry sheet have been extended with the field “Persons”. The list of standardized proper names which is integrated in the program has been taken from the Prosopographia Aegypti, which is based on the archives of the Wörterbuch der Ägyptische Sprache (Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften). However the transliteration has been adapted to the Manuel de Codage, which is strongly advised for all hieroglyphic texts in the GEM as well. New proper names as well as thesaurus items can be added to the list on request by the editor-in-chief.
Currently we are busy harmonizing the transliteration of the proper names in the object information and the standardized list. However it will take some time till this time-consuming job is finished. At present the work for Brussels, Hildesheim, Lisbon, Dublun and Madrid is completed.
After having saved the new data and having closed the input session by clicking the lock icon again, the records that have been added or changed will be accessible for visitors immediately. However deleting complete records can only be done by the editor-in-chief of the GEM.
Otherwise please note that the curators of the individual collections themselves and not the directors of the GEM are responsible for the correctness of the object information.
New partners are kindly requested to deliver a concise description of the history and character of their collection, as well as an image of the museum or exhibition concerned.
We are glad that the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage is willing to host the Global Egyptian Museum. The protocol of Cooperation between CULTNAT and CCER which was signed November 2005, guarantees that the rights of the partners on content and images will be respected, and that the site will be accessible for anybody at no costs. We are convinced that the cooperation between both institutes offer a solid and secure base for the future of the GEM.
On behalf of CIPEG we invite all public and private collections to collaborate and to contact the curators of the site via GEMfirstname.lastname@example.org in order to confer on how data entry or transfer best can be realized case by case.
Dirk van der Plas Mohamed Saleh