participants proposal working papers manuscripts

The database that will store the prosopographical information is a singularly important component of the project and touches on both of the its principal objectives: the creation of new knowledge and its broad dissemination. Data will assembled on all texts from our period in the fields covered by the project, on extant manuscripts thereof, and on all persons and geographical locations known to be associated with them. The category of associated persons will include not only authors of the texts in question, but also teachers, associates, relations, and patrons, and the scribes and owners of manuscripts treated by the project. This will provide a powerful tool for constructing a more substantial picture than has so far been possible of the conditions and social context not only of the production of pre-colonial Sanskrit knowledge, but of its dissemination, storage, and application as well. The structuring of the data will facilitate the quantitative analysis, graphical ordering, and display of biographical data (what have been referred to, in the grant documents and elsewhere, as "networks of influence", "circuits of intellectual exchange", "patronage structures", "master-pupil chains", etc.).
The project database has been developed using FilemakerPro, a major database development program. This software has enabled us to replicate the most useful features of similar databases already in existence-- most notably the Philobiblon database of early Iberian texts ( while giving us the flexibility to meet the needs imposed by the South Asian cultural/intellectual context and the specific objectives of the project. The database supports multiple-user, web-based data entry, allowing all project members, wherever they are, to work simultaneously on expanding our body of data. While access is currently restricted to active members of the project, the web-based data-entry system will ultimately make possible the participation of additional scholars from around the world, and produce data inputs of an order of magnitude greater than what the Chicago personnel, or even the team as a whole, could accomplish. Quality-control of input data is crucial here; we have already implemented a system of authority stamping, whereby every entry is clearly "stamped" with the identity of its source. To enable the participation of scholars outside the project, we are planning a two-stage data entry system, whereby data entered via a public gateway system will be scrutinized by editors before being added to the master reference database.
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