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Hieroglyphic databases on a Mac

Here is a list of database applications for handling hieroglyphic texts on a Macintosh, each with a link to the developers site and a short overview of its capacities:

Database applications for hieroglyphic texts

TkSesh by S. Rosmorduc (tested version 0.999) ***

Short — TkSesh is a hieroglyphic database program by S. Rosmorduc which allows you to easily view and edit hieroglyphic texts, e.g. for translating. It already includes a couple of texts (some Coffin Texts, steles from the Louvre Museum, The Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor, The Destruction of Mankind, etc.), and you can easily import or export hieroglyphic texts, making it easy to share texts with colleagues around the world.

But TkSesh can be used as some kind of ‘hieroglyphic word-processor’ too. The hieroglyphs can't however be exported as an image to be used in a real word-processor: you can only export (and import of course) MdC-textfiles.

Availability — TkSesh is officially not supported on Mac OS X, but with some minor changes I got it working. I've therefore made detailed installation instructions for Mac OS X.

There is a Mac OS 9 version available on S. Rosmorducs site, but I haven't tested it because I’ve never used Mac OS 9. But I suppose it’ll do its work…

Windows and Unix/Linux-versions are also available.

Price — ‘textware’. This means you’ll first have to register (for free) before you can use it. You’re encouraged to contribute some texts if you find this software useful. This way, the number of texts available in the database will increase over time, making this database more useful for everybody.

Strong points — easy input of hieroglyphs (you don’t need to know the codes like in HieroTex, you can choose all characters from input menus), import and export functions, dictionary, transliteration (even computer-generated) and search facilities.

Weak points — still lacking a huge number of texts (this will hopefully be solved when it gets more users), dictionary quite limited for the moment (idem), still in its infancy (e.g. not everything works like it should work: I couldn't get the texts transliterated when I tested it).

More information — visit http://www.iut.univ-paris8.fr/~rosmord/TKSESH.

Ancient Egyptian Texts by M.-J. Nederhof (tested version ??) ****

Short — this is an on-line Java application which tries to be a comprehensive database of Egyptian Texts. It uses the AELalign format for presenting Egyptian texts. The database can include translations, transliterations and hieroglyphs (not yet supported) of texts.

Availability — the Java application requires Java 1.4 to be installed, and for the moment, this will only work in Safari and Shiira, but there can still occur some errors. Other browsers (e.g. Mozilla FireFox, Opera, etc.) do not seem to support Java 1.4 yet. Java Embedding Plugin is an application to add Java 1.4.x support to recent Mozilla-based browsers (Mozilla, FireFox, Camino), but it didn’t work on my system…

For those people experiencing problems with Java, all texts are available in PDF-format too (which are of course static versions, so you can’t change any display options for these PDF’s as you can in the Java-application)

On Mac OS 9, only Java 1.1 is supported, so you cannot use the database (but you can still view the PDF-files).

Since Java is cross-platform, this application is also accessible from Windows or Unix/Linux.

Price — the website can freely be used.

Strong points — you only need a web browser supporting Java 1.4 to use it, you can easily hide parts of the transliteration/translations you don’t need (because it supports multiple sources for one text), it already includes many texts from De Buck’s Egyptian Readingbook.

Weak points — there are still a lot of texts to be added, but that’s of course up to everyone who uses the database, can be a bit slow on older computers. But after all, it is still a work in progress, so it should become better/include more texts after some time…

More information — visit Ancient Egyptian Texts or AELalign’s homepage.

©2005 F. Vervloesem.