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The Society of Biblical Literature in a cooperative project housed at Vanderbilt University and supported by the American Oriental Society, the American Schools of Oriental Research, Case Western Reserve University Library, the Cobb Institute of Archaeology at Mississippi State University, the Institute of Archaeology (Tel Aviv University), the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University Press and the Vanderbilt Divinity Library has received a $100,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

This grant is the second received by ETANA from Mellon. In 2000, Mellon funded a planning grant that enabled representatives of participating organizations to meet and explore the feasibility of this project. These organizations collectively represent over 8,000 scholars world wide who are interested in the academic study of the ancient Near East (ANE).

This new funding will accomplish two objectives. First, it will allow ETANA to migrate Abzu, the premier Internet ANE portal developed by the Oriental Institute, to a more robust database structure and make it part of the developing ETANA comprehensive portal for ANE studies. Second, it will allow ETANA participants to experiment with the digitization of 100 core texts important to scholars of the ancient Near East. Published materials in this discipline can be especially difficult to digitize because of their ancient language content.

Longer term, it is anticipated that ETANA will contain a substantial number of core texts, excavation site data, member society journals, excavation reports, and a scholar's commons to help researchers in ancient Near Eastern studies communicate with one another.

Charles Jones, editor and creator of Abzu at the Oriental Institute, said, "The Oriental Institute, its Research Archives and Abzu project is pleased to be a partner in ETANA. The consortial nature of this endeavor is of critical importance, and Mellon's generous funding of the project will solidify and expand that partnership towards the enhancement of communication and further access to information on the world of the ancient Near East."

Jack M. Sasson, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies at Vanderbilt's Divinity School, commented, "The promise of ETANA is enormous. Even in its formative stage under the new Mellon grant, the advantage of reshaping Abzu in delivering many more features to a broad clientele is exciting enough. Many will also wish well the experiment to deliver core texts in a digitized form and will welcome facilitating the delivery of online journal articles. The prospect of creating a uniform program by which to enter and readily deliver field data entries may yet be the most rewarding of future plans, for if it can be adapted to study of documents (new and old), it will prove a boon to scholarship that cannot be overestimated."

For more information about ETANA see:

For questions contact, Paul Gherman, University Librarian, Vanderbilt University,

Citation: , " Cooperation Secures $100,000 Mellon Grant for Electronic Tools and Ancient Near Eastern Archives ," SBL Forum , n.p. [cited June 2004]. Online:


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