Epigraphische Datenbank Heidelberg

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  • Director: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Géza Alföldy


The Epigraphische Datenbank Heidelberg (EDH) is a searchable resource that provides texts, bibliographic citations, descriptive data and images for Latin and Greek inscriptions of the Roman Empire. EDH forms an essential component of the Electronic Archives of Greek and Latin Epigraphy (EAGLE), functioning as the primary repository for inscriptions from the Roman provinces. It is directed by Christian Witschel, who took over in 2007 from the project’s founder, Géza Alföldy. Witschel is assisted by a research team at Heidelberg, and a growing number of external collaborators worldwide. The project was founded in 1986, and put its first data online in 1997. The project website provides a full history.

As of January 2009, EDH contained texts for over 53,000 inscriptions, together with full records for over 12,000 bibliographic items and over 17,000 images of inscriptions in addition to about 5,000 images linked from other online databases. Many of the texts in EDH are revised or corrected from previous print publications on the basis of autopsy, or with reference to a squeeze or photograph. An increasing number of print-oriented epigraphic projects are simultaneously providing EDH with electronic copies of newly edited inscriptions slated to appear in their publications.

The current database and its interface permit users to discover content by searching on a combination of the many descriptive, bibliographic and full-text fields in the three databases that house the project’s data: the Epigraphic Text Database, the Epigraphic Bibliography and the Photographic Database. Crosslinks in the text database provide easy access to corresponding bibliographic and photographic information in the other databases. An array of “simple,” “complex,” and “expert” search interfaces support these actions.

The EDH interface has been localized for German and English readers. It provides various helps for users, as well as comprehensive information about the project, its history and collaborators. The web interface employs forms, which unfortunately makes it difficult to provide links to individual components of EDH. There does not seem to be any simple way to discover a stable URL that could be used to link to a single record. Users’ browsers must have Javascript turned on.