OVERVIEW \ PREFACE \ ^03
1: G. Buccellati, February 2003
The frameworkThe four central sections of the website – on Methodology, Stratigraphy, Typology, and Interpretation – provide the framework within which one can find detailed analytical documentation of our finds and an explanation of the approach we follow.
It brings together material that has been published otherwise (i. e., in other media) with data and analysis that are presented here for the first time (and that will yet be reworked in the conventional publications). They blend together in a unified synthesis that aims to give a full and coherent description supported by all the relevant documentation. This presentation is always in a fluid state, because it is constantly enriched by the discovery of new data and by the greater awareness for their significance that is gained progressively through ongoing study.
Static constructsThe framework just described is obviously an essential component of our effort at achieving a proper dissemination of the results. It should be viewed therefore as a proper form of publication – and it is as such that I propose it to the attention of the colleagues.
But there is an important conceptual difference vis-à-vis other forms of publications, which I subsume here under the term of constructs. These present data and arguments as self-contained wholes, with well defined boundaries, such as a stratigraphic unit, a typological assemblage, a historical interpretation – each being all-inclusive and internally coherent.
It may seem surprising that I should include Preservation within this category. I do so because I consider the physical remains in the field, in their preserved state, as a primary form of documentation. They are in fact susceptible of inspection and analysis in a way that is intellectually quite analogous to the documentation provided on paper or digitally.
By antonomasia, publication is taken to mean a static construct, a crystallization of a conceptual product that is understood as final even when it is not presented as definitive. There is merit to this position, and there are certainly centuries of tradition to recommend it. Even in this age of growing conversions to the digital world, I do believe in its full validity, and I seek to show why in the section on the principles of publication.
In this light, I include in this website all the publications that our staff hass issued on paper. Some of these have already been made translated to a digital format and are available on compact disks.
Dynamic constructsWhether on paper or on an electronic medium, the publications I have called static constructs remain essentially the same, static constructs in the sense given above. Next to these, there are instead publications that are conceived digitally from the start, and these I call dynamic constructs.
They constitute the Urkesh Global Record, which is the scholarly enterpiece of this whole website. It is defined in its outward shape as a Browser Edition, because it takes advantage of the features proper of this tool, whether it is accessed on or offline. The intended aim is to offer the most supple instrument for access to the most complex body of data. The articulation of these data is so conceived that from the start it is geared towards digital utilization – hence one can say that it is truly born digital.
This construct is dynamic in the specific sense that it is endowed with a structured fluidity – not a contradiction inasmuch as the digital environment presents a rigorously defined, systemic whole that is always self-adapting.