Rosette a participé au Congrès International d’Égyptologie

Rhodes (Grèce) - du 22 au 29 mai 2008

Notre projet d'amateurs et de bénévoles met un point d'honneur à sa démarche rigoureuse et éthique. Nous avons eu l'occasion de présenter nos travaux lors du Congrès International d’Égyptologie en mai 2008. Après le séminaire d'Oxford en août 2006, consacré à l'apport de l'informatique dans l'égyptologie, voici une nouvelle occasion de mesurer la valeur de nos travaux à l'aune de la profession.

Support de la présentation Rosette

Cette présentation (version anglaise) est en ligne. Merci à tous pour vos commentaires qui nous ont permis de l'améliorer et l'enrichir.

Le texte ci-dessous (en anglais) est celui que nous avons soumis à la commission en charge du Congrès. D'autres nouvelles viendront au fur et à mesure de notre préparation. Nous vous en souhaitons bonne lecture ... et n'hésitez pas à nous questionner si ce n'est pas suffisamment explicite !

A computer-assistance for the student, the epigraphist, and the philologist

The Rosette Project started with a dream: how and to what extent the technology could assist the hieroglyph reader? There are many answers to that simple question; it is our purpose today to summarize them. And we hope to convince you that this dream can become reality, even with only few but talented and committed benevolents. Moreover, we will propose some routes which may broader it toward a common standard such as Manuel du Codage (MdC) 2008, Hieroglyphs in Unicode, consistent lexicographic word lists, ?.

What is the Rosette Project today?

A three-year old online application, with still a long road ahead:

  • a computer assistance to identify and read ancient egyptian texts among a catalogue of 3000+ hieroglyphs, with associated description and paleographic samples;
  • including a dictionary (all Faulkner keywords with Griffith Institute authorization, and its counterpart in French by the Medjat Association), an MdC compliant graphic editor, and a corpus of translated texts;
  • with systematic association between hieroglyphic display, MdC coding, transliteration, multi-language translations, and reference to source documents;
  • two home-made hieroglyph fonts in Unicode format developed by the project team;
  • totally free of charge and available on standard Internet, under Global Public Licence.

Why and how Rosette could contribute to Egyptology?

The essential concept developed by Rosette is "integration". From original text capture, to encoding, to displaying hieroglyphs, to searching a dictionary, to capitalize a corpus of ancient texts, to make all these freely available on the Web, in a user-friend environment.
  • The final product of Rosette aims at a computer tool to facilitate the access to hieroglyphic texts and Ancient Egypt culture.
  • It offers several features rarely combined in one single software: hieroglyph editor (MdC compliant), lexical and syntactic analysis, text corpus storage.
  • It seeks at the most community-accepted standards, from an full MdC compliance, to the respect of Gardiner coding, to scalable-hieroglyphic font, to Unicode structure, to XHTML 1.0 validation of every web-page.
  • Interactive concept: based on the Wiki approach, with an additional security control, it will allow everyone to contribute to a community knowledge repository.
  • Multi-language: so far available in French, English, and partly Arabic, the entire application is built to support as many languages as needed, should native translators be candidate.
  • A benevolent contribution: surprisingly, dozens of Internet surfers joined the project and brought their own skills. To succeed, this project requires many different kinds of competencies: IT experts, mathematicians, graphists, to support epigraphists, grammarians, historians, and many students and amateurs contributing with their knowledge and time availability.
  • Other ideas under evaluation : statistical analysis of hieroglyph apparition by period ; associating the genuine image to every document referenced in the database ; cross-text search tools ; OCR ; portable version (including on PDAs) ; ?

Should a worldwide standard emerge in the coming years, it could allow all texts to be encoded in a unique format, available in one single database, with a common dictionary encompassing every expert's knowledge, assisted by a syntactic engine, and in multi-language translations. Even if these standards are not ready yet, nothing prevents to start capturing the data in a temporary format. Whatever Rosette can collect from now on, it will be easy to convert and transfer it to any future "official database", blessed by the Egyptology Community, as soon as this database is created. Is not it worth starting the data collection now, in parallel with the development of the new standards?

Ils ne savaient pas que c'était impossible, alors ils l'ont fait (Mark Twain)