The Research Project “Byzantine Literary Sources for the History and Civilization of Arabs and Arabia (7th-12th c.)” represents a collaboration between the Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation and the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives. Its aim is to record information available in Byzantine sources related to the History and Civilization of Arabs and Arabia. Byzantine texts of interest to the project have already been selected, annotated and classified. All records and information assembled as part of the project is now ready to be indexed in order to form a database specially designed for the Research Project.
The digital files are organized on the basis of electronic entries in which the prospect user will find the excerpts tracked down from the Byzantine sources. The excerpts will be framed by metadata referring to topics such as administration, commerce, foreign relations, geography, nomenclature of
peoples and places, material culture, warfare and more. All entries are followed by commentaries, bibliography and parallel sources.
The objective of the Database is, on the one hand to make available material related to the topic of research, namely Arabs and Arabia, and on the other hand to make data related to the respective scientific studies available to researchers but also the wider public, as the material is organised in such a way that the Database could become also a useful tool for lifelong learning projects and activities. The Database was designed to be electronic, open access, and internet-based.
The project opens up new perspectives of access to Byzantine texts with reference to Arabs and Arabia and represents a valuable tool for the deepening research topics that have been at the forefront of research in recent years.
Entry Database Presentation
DeltiaDB is a database management system that provides users the graphic interface to insert, retrieve, update and revise data in a systematic and effective way.
DeltiaDB collects all the information sourced from legacy text entries. It automatically splits inserted data into different types of entities and stores them using normalized tables.
StructureCreation of new records can be achieved through the main data entry form using the below mentioned available 14 fields:
1. ΠΗΓΗ (Source in Greek) – Contains Information of the Source in Greek Language.
2. SOURCE – Contains Information of the Source in English Language.
3. SOURCE DATE – Contains Date data of the Source.
4. INFORMATION DATE – Contains Date data of the Information.
5. CONTENT – Contains the Original Text.
6. ENGLISH TRANSLATION
7. ARABIC TRANSLATION
8. SUMMARY – Contains the English Translation-Summary of the original Text(Field no.5).
9. TOPICS – Predefined Values – Comprises of a set of 23 Topics. User can select a value that corresponds to a Topic or Subtopic from a set of predefined list of Topics/Subtopics.
10. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY – Contains the Selected Biography sort out from the “List of Selected Biography”.
11. PERSONS – Contains the names of the persons mentioned in the TEXT.
12. PARALLEL SOURCES – Contains references of the parallel sources.
13. ΣΧΟΛΙΑ (Comments in Greek)– Contains comments in Greek Language.
14. COMMENTS – Contains English translation of the Comments (field no.11).
The adopted Hierarchical database model, uses tree-like structure of the available first level topics (thematic categories) and contained second level topics (Sub-topics) that can be assigned to the entries, as show in the following diagram.
Entry StatusIn order to enhance productivity of the work group, DeltiaDB uses an “Entry” Status tag that helps tracking record status and determining final acceptance of each “Entry”. Namely there are 4 available options:
1) Archiving : The entry will be inserted in the consolidates database (final status)
2) Deletion : The entry will be deleted (final Status)
3) Correction : The entry will be corrected (Pending)
4) Editing : Entry editing in process (Pending)
During editing, each record is assigned to one of the available options that helps users to effectively identify remaining work, if any, revise the entries and finalize their work so as contained data to be used for the next process of creating a consolidated Database.
Extensive search FunctionalityDeltiaDB provides a powerful search function using keywords, phrases or filters based on predefined values, generating accurate results based on the search criteria.
Advantages over legacy processing using text files.A) Controlled data entry - Integrity check – Each field corresponds to different type of entities of the Entry. Mistakes can be easily controlled and corrected.
B) User Friendly User Interface – UI provides easy editing-access-retrieve-search operations.
C) Data normalization-Collation – Redundant data are stored in normalized table providing error-free reusability, grouping and data optimization.
D) Flexibility – New fields can be added, deleted or transformed at any time. Thus, enhancing functionality as well as expandability of the application, so as to meet future needs or changes.
E) Batch Operations – Import-Export operations provides mass data exchange in minimum time.
F) Reporting – Entries can be exported or printed in various layout formats – containing only required fields.
G) Multilanguage Support – Available Menus and Fields can be easily translated and integrated into Deltia DB. By limiting exchanged data to the necessary/required, system stability, confidentiality, integrity and reduced data usage are achieved.
H) Statistical Analysis/Reporting – Available types of entities, can be individually examined and manipulated, providing statistical results in the terms of distribution/occupancy etc. The results of this operation provide useful information for data identification and classification.
I) Finally, DeltiaDB organization model used, simplifies data entry, update, retrieval, administration as well as ensures compatibility and interoperability with any available system (DBMS).