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Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Union Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts
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The project: KOHD Coptica

The Union Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts in German Collections (Katalogisierung der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland = KOHD) is a research project of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences, financed by both the German federal government and the German states in the framework of a commission supporting education and research (Akademienprogramm der Gemeinsamen Wissenschaftskonferenz von Bund und Ländern).

The creation of a Union Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts in German Collections was suggested in 1957 by German orientalists; it was founded by Wolfgang Voigt, the then director of the Oriental Department at the Westdeutsche Bibliothek at Marburg, under the auspices of the German Oriental Society ( Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft ) and financed until 1989 by the German Research Foundation ( Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft ). In 1990 it became a research project of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities and is due to continue until 2022. In 1996, the Union Académique Internationale, Bruxelles, placed the union catalogue as project C 53 under its patronage.

The aim of the project is to describe manuscripts in Oriental languages and scripts in German libraries and collections that have not been properly catalogued before, and to make them accessible in printed catalogues. As from 2016, the manuscripts are described in databases.

In January 2016, the Berlin workgroup “Coptic manuscripts” started cataloguing the Coptic literary manuscripts in the Papyrus Collection of the Egyptian Museum of Berlin. Descriptions of the papyri, parchments, paper manuscripts and ostraca are recorded in a database that is based on the model of the Papyrus-Portal . This database was developed in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Reinhold Scholl, the initiator of the Papyrus Portal, and staff members of the Leipzig University Computer Centre who are responsible for the technical supervision of the project.

The „KOHD Coptica“ database is a tool offering a full range of search options within the catalogued Coptic manuscripts of the Berlin Papyrus Collection, as well as a unified presentation of search results including the metadata of the objects. The “KOHD Coptica” database is compatible with other papyrological databases.

The database is still under construction; at present neither cataloguing nor digitizing has been finished. Therefore it might be that some entries are still incomplete. So far, not all objects could be digitized, due, among other reasons, to the bad state of conservation of some of the manuscripts, necessitating their restoration before any further work is done.