Working with archival documents in the Research Archives library

Dr. Anne Flannery, Museum Archivist, and Brian Porrett, Volunteer, discuss cataloging procedures for archival records from the Megiddo Expedition

Receiving the archival innovator award

Society of American Archivists

Dr. Foy Scalf (third from left) receives the Archival Innovator award on behalf of the Integrated Database project from the Society of American Archivists

Dr. Anne Flannery gives a talk about the project

Anne Flannery & Tony Lauricella present the Integrated Database Project at the DHCS 2016

Graphic bundle map of EMu data

A graphic bundle map displaying the EMu database schema

Volunteers working in the Museum Archives

Elisa Landaverde, Volunteer, cataloging materials in the Museum Archives

Registration staff registering objects

Assistant Registrar Susan Allison enters data on recently registered objects from into the institutional repository powered by Axiell's EMu software

Search Our Collections

The Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures Integrated Database Project aims to provide public access to information about the diverse research and object-based collections managed and cared for by the Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures via an online Collections Search. The project began in 2005 and has involved migrating data from the older databases to an EMu (Electronic Museum) database platform. For public access to information about the collections, a public website portal was created and functional development to this "front end" will continue for the foreseeable future to provide access to more data and improve user experience.

The Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures would like to thank the following donors for their generous support:


  • March 2023: Upgrade to Solr 8
  • April 2018: Added paging navigation for details view
  • February 2018: Limit description field on search results display and add feedback form to details view for all records
  • January 2018: Launch of a new tab for the Epigraphic Survey, including 21,502 digitized images from the large format negatives collection, including keyword faceting
  • December 2017: Added display, search fields, facets, and browse capability for metadata related to inscriptions, including transliteration and translation
  • October 2017: Added save and download functionality to all departments; files can be downloaded in .csv format for manipulation in word processing and spreadsheet applications
  • August 2017: Added search options and facet refinements for filtering items that are online, type of access (open vs. subscription), and for Research Archives records for book reviews; rearranged Research Archives details view to present title field at the top
  • June 2017: Incorporated Google Analytics statistics data to site and site searches; reconfigured single-page application to multi-page application and removed robots.txt for search engine optimization; added ability to open individual records in separate tabs
  • April 2017: Changed linking structure to employ GUIDs and stable permalinks
  • January 2017: Separated records into separate indexes, added search for Field Registration Number for MC records, improved findabililty and format of video records
  • December 2016: Added summary/abstract and language fields and acronym search to RA records, updated MC data formatting and changed registration number search to match print format
  • September 2016: Over 6,000 CAMEL records go live to the public on the Search Our Collections site, including thousands of declassified satelitte images and digitized maps, for which an Esri Leaflet viewer displays the global areas bounded by the map and the associated GIS files can be downloaded as a .zip file
  • May 2016: It was announced that Dr. Foy Scalf, Head of the Integrated Database Project, will receive the 2016 Archival Innovator Award from the Society of American Archivists in recongition for the progress and success of the Oriental Institute Integrated Database Project (see News article)
  • May 2016: Migration of 20,000 CAMEL records and associated multimedia and GIS files into the Oriental Institute's institutional repository powered by Axiell's EMu software
  • January 2016: Update to display joins between records in the Research Archives catalog for bibliographic items attached to Museum Collection and Museum Archives records (and vice versa); included in the update is display of joins between records for reviews and the volume under review (and vice versa) along with display of attached citations
  • September 2015: Upgrade to Solr 4.10.4
  • June 2015: Launch of Museum Archives tab including over 4000 records covering material from the archival collections
  • February 2015: Smart tabs feature enabled, only tabs with results will display and tabs without results will be hidden, search all tab removed, search all multimedia field added
  • January 2015: Development of the How to Use the Collections Search page for instructions in using the integrated database online
  • December 2014: Online Collections Search page redesigned with the following features: query builder moved to top of the page, highlights provided in a rotating slideshow, browse galleries options sorted alphabetically

Project History:

  • 2016-2018 Phase 4: registration and digitization of archival material from Oriental Institute excavations in Iraq and Syria; registration and migration of Epigraphic Survey records
  • 2014-2016 Phase 3: Migration of CAMEL Lab and Museum Archives into KE EMu database and development of two additional tabs on website portal for CAMEL and Museum Archives along with geo-spatial search capabilities for CAMEL data, supported by an IMLS Museums for America Grant
  • 2012-2014 Phase 2: Migration of Photographic Archives (100,000+ records) and Museum Conservation (10,000+ records) into KE EMu database and development of third tab on website portal for Photographic Archives with links between Museum Registration records and Photographic Archives records, supported by an IMLS Museums for America Grant
  • 2010-2012 Phase 1: Migration of Research Archives (400,000+ records) and Museum Registration (250,000+ records) into KE EMu database and development of beta website portal with two tabs for Research Archives and Museum Registration data silos, supported by an IMLS Museums for America grant
  • 2007-2009 Selection of software vendor
  • 2005 Assessment Report for the Integrated Database Committee
  • 2004 Formation of the Integrated Database Committee


Annual Reports


  • 2018 Foy Scalf, "Exhibits, from the Inside Out: Managing Exhibition Metadata with EMu's Exhibition Objects Module," Axiell Midwest Roadshow 2018, June 7
  • 2016 Anne Flannery, "Sustainability: An Old-Fashioned Archive in a Digital World," Loyola University, December 1
  • 2016 Tony Lauricella and Anne Flannery, "Maps, Texts, and Possibilities: The Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes' Geospatial Data and the Oriental Institute's Digital Repository," Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities & Computer Science, November 12
  • 2016 Foy Scalf, "Search Our Collections: Using the Oriental Institute Collections Online," Inquiry & Discovery: Teaching through Primary Sources and Archaeology, August 31
  • 2016 Anne Flannery, "Archives and Digital Repositories: Old Methods and New Developments," International Education Conference, April 8
  • 2015 Foy Scalf, "An 'Integrated' Database: What, Why, and How," Oriental Institute, September 15
  • 2014 Foy Scalf, "Fulfilling Breasted's Vision: The Oriental Institute's Integrated Database Project," Visiting Committee Members Meeting, May 1
  • 2013 Foy Scalf, "Migrating to the EMu Platform: Expectations and Results," Oriental Institute, May 17
  • 2013 Foy Scalf, "The Scheme of the Great Bookshelves: The Research Archives of the Oriental Institute and Continuity with the Past," Young Professional Leaders Meeting, May 13
  • 2012 Foy Scalf and Helen McDonald, "Accessing the Ancient Near East: The Oriental Institute Integrated Database Project," American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Meeting, Session on Topics in Cyberinfrastructure, Digital Humanities, and Near Eastern Archaeology II, November 17