Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago
The Oriental Institute is a museum and research organization devoted to the study of the ancient Near East. Founded in 1919 by James Henry Breasted, the Institute, a part of the University of Chicago, is an internationally recognized pioneer in the archaeology, philology, and history of early Near Eastern civilizations. The Institute has undertaken projects in every part of the ancient Near East, including the Nile Valley, Mesopotamia, Persia, parts of the Ottoman Empire, and the lands of the Bible. Institute scholars also maintain research projects in Chicago, such as dictionaries and lexicons of ancient Akkadian, Hittite, Demotic, Egyptian, and Sumerian.
The first official publication of The Oriental Institute appeared in 1922 as Communication Number 1 - The Oriental Institute of The University of Chicago: A Beginning and a Program. In this book, James Henry Breasted recounted the events leading to the founding of The Oriental Institute and the achievements of recent years. Today, this series as well as eleven others are published by The Oriental Institute. The individual works deal with excavation reports, linguistic and historical studies, translations of and commentaries on texts from all cultures of the ancient Near East. Although the faculty of The Oriental Institute and the Department of Near Eastern Languages of The University of Chicago are well represented among the authors, scholars from many institutions are also included.
Until the middle 1970s, most of the publications of The Oriental Institute were printed and distributed by The University of Chicago Printing Department and Press. The Institute received a percentage of the sales income in the form of royalties. During that time, the task of producing Oriental Institute publications was increasingly contracted to freelance designers, editors and artists outside the Institute. This was to change in 1976 when the entire publications program was reorganized as an "in-house" operation. Today, the publication office of the Institute numbers two full-time staff members and four work study students who edit, design, produce and distribute publications using state-of-the-art computer equipment. A reflection of the increased efficiency of the in-house publishing program which is entirely overseen by The Oriental Institute is the appearance of thirty-nine volumes in various series during the last seven years.
Not only are excavation reports and historical and linguistic studies published promptly, making the research available to scholars and the public, but the publications department maintains a broad distribution and exchange program with scholarly institutions in other parts of the world.
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