Database and digital publication

In order to store, process and provide open access editions of the fragments after they have been collected and analyzed, a database has been designed and developed within the framework of the project. This database contains newly identified fragmentary text material as well as fragments identified and examined by earlier scholars. Visitors to the project website have a variety of possibilities for viewing the fragments and related material. The database represents a completely new and innovative means for studying these fragments of Indian philosophy.

The database contains various types of information about the fragmentary text material. This includes: the name of its author, the name of the work in which the fragment has been found, the name of its source text, keywords, and the school or tradition to which it might be assigned. It also includes the fragment’s text historical classification, variant readings in different printed editions, translations, the context in which it appears, remarks and secondary literature.

The fragmentary text material is classified according to three types: (1) fragments, i.e. embedded textual material that fulfills particular characteristics identifying it as re-used text from a lost work, (2) reports, i.e. passages that summarize the ideas of a school, tradition or an author, and (3) prosopographic information containing mainly the names of authors and their respective works, or other related information.

The database has three major platforms: (1) an editing platform, (2) an access platform (“Browse database”, providing the fragment texts sorted according to authors, works, sources, keywords, and schools) and (3) a systematic search option (“Search database”). Since the database is still being developed, direct access to the first and third platforms is still restricted to a limited group of colleagues who have received “login” accounts.

Currently only about half of the collected fragment information is available on the “Browse database” platform, limited due to needed proofreading or completion of data retrieval. An expanded “Demo version browse database” has also been developed. It includes additional information: variants, translations, fragment context, keywords, and remarks, including secondary literature. This information is accessed with the button “Details” below a fragment’s source. This platform currently contains 82 entries (representing about 15% of the collected material).