A "Guide for the Perplexed"

Introduction
Conceptual goals
Operational goals
Introductory clips to the website
Introductory clips to the Urkesh Global Record

Introduction

     The title of Maimonides' great work will serve as an invitation for those who come to the website with a specific intent and are "perplexed" by its complexity.
     While I did strive for the underlying structure to be as transparent as possible, two factors do pose a difficulty. First, the amount of information is such that one cannot easily obtain a clear overview of the subjects included. Second, the nature of the presentation is intentionally different from what one normally expect in a website.
     This "Guide" seeks to give a hint of the underlying "philosophy" and to explain briefly the operational design through which it is put in practice. I do this by describing the operative principles and tying them at the same time to specific examples. The latter illustrate procedures that can be followed in "studying" the subject matter covered by the website.
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Conceptual goals

     The website has the double goal of presenting the complete set of data pertaining to our excavations, while developing at the same time a series of interrelated arguments.
     The data contain the totality of observations ever made during the excavations, and those derived from subsequent analysis. They are found in the section entitled RECORD. In this respect, they constitute a data base.
     However, they are presented in ways that develop a narrative woven around the data. In this respect the RECORD constitutes an open report, which is always "preliminary" because open to constant, dynamic revisions, and yet always "final" because no observation of stratigraphic facts can ever be added.
     This rests on a rigorous application of the distinction between emplacement and deposition. It is only the former that is susceptible of observation, and thus the only one to carry documentary weight.
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Operational goals

     It is, admittedly, "text heavy," but for reasons that are argued explicitly with reference to an intentional effort at producing a properly digital text.
     ultimate goal is to include the entire the record
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Introductory clips to the website

     I give here a selection of "guided tours" that will illustrate how to navigate the website in pursuit of specific topics. These clips are meant to give an idea of how to approach a given topic, and to encourage a reader to pursue accordingly the topic, using the website independently; they are not intended to develop the argument per se.

Site Presentation
Format: YouTube
Duration: 8.4 minutes
By: Giorgio Buccellati
Produced: May 2011

This segment shows how to access the section devoted to site presentation, using multi-level vertical bars, working our way along different moments within the section, and referring at the end to the concept of a "digital monograph."
Site Conservation
Format: YouTube
Duration: 6.5 minutes
By: Giorgio Buccellati
Produced: June 2011

Site Conservation, accessed from the tab on PRESERVATION, offers a detailed discussion of the overall approach to the problem, and is cross-referenced to the very substantial treatment of the relative data under RECORD.
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Introductory clips to the Urkesh Global Record

     The following clips illustrate the organization of the material within the Urkesh Global Record. Like the other clips in this section, they are not intended to develop the argument per se.

the Urkesh Global Record (UGR)
Format: YouTube
Duration: 4.5 minutes
By: Giorgio Buccellati
Produced: May 2011

The largest portion of the material contained in the website is to be found in the Urkesh Global Record, which is a library of digital books to which the website serves as a portal. This video clip provides an introduction to the system.
the descriptive portion of the UGR
Format: YouTube
Duration: 5.24 minutes
By: Giorgio Buccellati
Produced: May 2011

While the Urkesh Global Record is construed along the lines of a rigorous internal Grammar, the results are meant to be accessible with relative ease, exploiting the elasticity of the browser approach to publishing. This clip shows how to access the data following categories couched in the tradi-tional archaeological mold.
the analytical portion of the UGR
Missing
The more technical portion of the Urkesh Global Record requires some familiarity with the "grammatical" underpinning, but the published result in a browser format makes it possible to access the data even with a minimum knowledge of the "Grammar."
the data base and the statistics of the UGR
Missing
The data are given in ASCII format so that they can be imported into commercial or other programs, directly from the website window. A number of pre-formatted indices and statistical computations are produced automatically when the data are processed.
the UGR grammar
Missing
The "Grammar" is more than a set of codes. It presents a thorough argument within which precise definitions are formulated, to which constant recourse is made throughout the UGR.