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Introduction to PhilologEg

I commonly encounter the following situation: I wish to study a text, say The Eloquent Peasant. Several resources are available to me. There is the book by Parkinson with the transcription in hieroglyphic of the four known hieratic manuscripts, we have several books containing translations (e.g. Lichtheim, Simpson and Parkinson), and scores of grammar books that contain isolated examples taken from that text.

For studying a text on which few publications exist, one may open, say, two books containing resources on that text, and use both index fingers to study the books in parallel, comparing e.g. the hieroglyphic form and a translation. However, this strategy is little effective for The Eloquent Peasant, and one is forced to study only one or two resources at a time, whereas one would rather be able to study all available resources in parallel.

PhilologEg consists of a collection of XML formats in which hieroglyphic, translations, etc., can be expressed. The purpose is to alleviate the problems described above, by allowing automatic alignment on the screen of electronic resources on Egyptian texts, so that they can be studied in parallel. Because the formats are XML, it is relatively easy to write software to manipulate the data. The PhilologEg software also includes graphical editors for these formats, so that the user is normally not exposed to the formats directly. Alternatively, one may create transliterations and translations as an (almost) plain-text format, using any text editor one chooses. This will be referred to as the lite format. The software automatically converts between the lite format and XML.

An important feature of PhilologEg is that resources (such as translations and hieroglyphic encodings) remain physically separated, which allows reuse of individual resources, and exchange with others. In particular, it is advisable to have one resource containing only hieroglyphic, one resource containing transliterations and translations, and another resource containing translations in another language, etc.