IconA Databases

The IconAegean Databases

Janice Crowley has created three Databases, IconAegean, IconAData and IconADict, to explore the iconography of Aegean Bronze Age glyptic. The Databases were launched at the Institute for Classical Archaeology at Heidelberg University, the two IconA Databases on Friday 2 May 2014 and the IconAegean Database on 20 June 2016, and they are now freely available on the CMS Website. They are subject only to the usual protocol of acknowledging the source of the information in any research or publication that uses the Databases, in this case CMS Heidelberg and IconAegean.

The IconAegean Database

This Database holds all the seals in the CMS Volumes: 9,181 seals, signets and sealings giving 10,972 designs on seal faces. Each design is shown as a drawing of the impression and described in a standard vocabulary especially created for Aegean glyptic iconography, the IconA Classification. CMS data is also provided. All data may be searched by Key Words across any of the Database fields.

It is now possible to order all these seal faces iconographically by sorting on the IconA Code field. Once that sort is performed all the images on the seal faces will be placed in order according to the IconA Classification starting with human figures, stylised humans and human artefacts, then moving through fantastic creations, fauna, sea life and flora, and on through geometric, script and miscellaneous. Users may then click through the Corpus enjoying the collections of similar images as they appear in sequence. This provision for organizing the seal images according to their iconography is a first in Aegean art studies.

At present more data is being uploaded into the IconAegean Database in the iconographic and CMS fields. The first three iconographic fields (the Category, Theme and Icon fields) are already complete and may be searched for full results. Searching on other fields will, at present, only give incomplete results. However, use of the Category, Theme and Icon fields will provide a user-friendly access into the iconography of Aegean seals.  

The IconAData Database

This Database holds 1000 seal designs especially chosen to illustrate the range of Aegean seal iconography. The choice has been made mostly from the CMS archives but also includes another 7 gold signets. It is set up in the same format as the IconAegean Database.

The IconADict Database

This Database holds the Dictionary of the Key Words including the 590 iconographic terms of the IconA Classification which describe the seal designs. These Key Words are defined and are used to search on the fields in the IconAegean and IconAData Databases. There are also Key Word entries covering the CMS terms, Database explanations for working with FileMaker Pro and Notes to help the User. The 590 Key Words comprising the iconographic terms of the IconA Classification are also discussed in the Author’s Aegaeum 34 Volume, The Iconography of Aegean Seals.

Using the IconAegean Databases

As you are now in the CMS Heidelberg Website, you need only to enter each Database as Guest. Click on IconAegean 1.2 or IconAData 1.2 or IconADict 1.2 at the top of the page to open the Database you want.

Ten Clicks to help you use IconAegean

Click 1 – Opening the Title Page and Data View Page      

  • Click on IconAegean 1.2 above to go to the IconAegean Database.
  • Choose to open the Database with the Guest Account. Login without providing an account name or password.
  • The Title Page layout will appear with a toolbar at the top and Layout: and View as: commands immediately below. The Layout: command will show Title Page.
  • Open the Database into its usual Browse mode by clicking on the Data View button.
  • The Data View layout will appear with a toolbar and commands at the top and the Layout: command will show Data View.
  • The Data View layout sets out the data on each seal, one seal to a page.

Click 2 – Scrolling through the records  

  • Click on the arrow > or < at the top left of the toolbar.
  • This will enable you to scroll through the 10,972 seal images to view each record. The records are entered in the order of the CMS Volumes.
  • Note that the record begins with a drawing of the impression of the seal and this is followed by the text record which is in 2 sections: the IconAegean Classification which describes the iconography in 5 fields (Category, Theme, Icon, Element and Syntax) and the CMS Record which enters information on each seal from the CMS Archives.
  • Note also that, as you move the arrow, the sliding scale to its right will count each seal. You may also move the sliding scale to move forwards and backwards through the seal data.

Click 3 – Sorting the seals into iconographic order

  • Click on the Sort icon in the toolbar at the top of the page. Two boxes will appear. Choose IconA Code from the left-hand box and   Move it to the right-hand box. Then Click on Sort below. All the seals will be re-ordered iconographically according to the main subject matter from those containing human figures right through to script and miscellaneous and you may scroll through the records, enjoying the grouping of like iconographic subjects.
  • Remember that you can use this Sort strategy to order the data according to any term in the left-hand box.
  • If you leave the right box blank the seals will be ordered as they have been entered, i.e. in the order of the CMS Volumes.

Click 4 – Viewing the data as a List or a Table

  • You are currently in the Data View Page layout showing each record as set out on a page – this is called Form view. You can see this by looking at the View As: command below the toolbar and the rectangle icon is highlighted. To the right are two more icons, the List icon made up of horizontal lines and the Table icon as a grid.
  • Click on the List icon and you will see the records as a continuing list with no breaks between the pages. (You will probably not use this much.)
  • Click on the Table icon. The records will appear as a table. This can be very useful. The Table arrangement can be accessed for the full set of examples or any sub-set collected by searching.
  • To return to the Form view Click on the Form icon.

Click 5 – Searching the Database

  • Click on Find at the top right of the toolbar to move into Find mode.
  • A template of the Data View layout will appear with all the fields as blank boxes. You may now search on the Database by typing in the Key Word in the appropriate field box.
  • Pulldown menus under the arrow at the right of the box show the choice of Key Words available listed alphabetically.
  • The Icon and Element Pulldown menus hold many terms and you will strike a row of dots …….. half way through. Click on the dots and the rest of the terms will appear.
  • You may search on one field or on multiple fields.
  • When you have entered your chosen Key Word(s) Click on Perform Find in the toolbar.
  • The examples that match your selection criteria will appear and you may move through them as for Click 2.
  • The number of records you have found will be noted in the toolbar as a portion of the total, e.g. 95/10972.

Click 6 – Opening the Comparison Page

  • Click on the Layout: pulldown menu on the left below the toolbar and select Comparison. 
  • The examples you have just collected will appear as images of the seal designs in a vertical row. You may scroll through them to compare.
  • You may enlarge or reduce them by clicking on the Zoom In or Zoom Out commands in the View pulldown menu at the top of the screen.
  • You may use this Zoom command to enlarge or to reduce any of the layouts.
  • To return to the Data View layout of your seal selection, click on the Layout: pulldown menu and select Data View. To return to the full complement of records Click on the Show All icon in the middle of the toolbar.

Click 7 – Opening the About IconA Page

  • Click on the Layout: pulldown menu on the left of the toolbar and select About IconA.
  • A page containing Copyright information and permissions from CMS will appear.
  • There is also an introduction to the work of the Author-Developer, Janice Crowley, including the book, The Iconography of Aegean Seals, (abbreviated IAS), a companion to these Databases. The IAS Number in the Databases refers to the number of the seal design in this book.
  • To return to the Data View layouts of all the seals, Click on the Layout: pulldown menu and select Data View and then Click on the Show All icon in the middle of the toolbar.

Click 8 – Using the IconAData Database

  • Click on IconAData 1.2 above to go to the IconAData Database.
  • Choose to open the Database with the Guest Account. Login without providing an account name or password.
  • The IconAData Database is set out exactly as the IconAegean Database and is used in exactly the same way as explained above.
  • This Database comprises 1000 entries, 993 from the CMS and 7 other gold signets. The designs have been chosen to example the full range of Aegean seal iconography.
  • While this Database has been superceded in most aspects by the larger IconAegean Database, it is still useful for the record of the 7 signets and as a training exercise for using the larger Database because it is easier to manipulate the data with only 1000 seals entered.

Click 9 – Using the IconADict Database

  • Click on IconADict 1.2 above to go to the IconADict Database.
  • Choose to open the Database with the Guest Account. Login without providing an account name or password.
  • The IconADict Database is the Dictionary of terms used across the three IconAegean Databases and it provides information under 780 entries as below including the Key Words used to search the Databases.
  • IconADict defines the 590 terms of the Standard Vocabulary of the IconA Classification which is an hierarchic classification in five fields (10 Category, 25 Theme, 125 Icon, 340 Element, 90 Syntax). These terms appear alphabetically in the pulldown menus beside each of the fields. Users should be aware that there are two aspects of English usage that have to be modified to enable accurate searching. If a plural changes the shape of the word from the singular form then the plural is not used, thus woman and man but not women and men. If animals have different names for the male and female and young of the species then only the male form is used, thus bull and ram but not cow and ewe or calf and lamb. The terms male, female and juvenile are added to the animal name if these sex and/or age indicators are clear.   
  • IconADict gives 94 explanations of the terms used for Aegean glyptic including CMS terms like seal shape and material.
  • IconADict gives 80 explanations of the terms used in the FileMaker Pro application in which the Databases are created.
  • IconADict gives additional information for Users in 16 Notes.
  • It is possible to have the IconADict Database on view for reference side by side with the IconAegean or IconAData Database you already have up on the screen. Go to the File pulldown menu at the top of the screen and choose New Window. Open the IconADict Database through CMS in this window.

Click 10 – Printing from the Databases

  • Go to the File menu at the top of the page above the Database toolbar.
  • Click on Print Current Frame and proceed as for your printing device.
  • In the Data View Page or Dictionary Page layouts the Print Current Frame command will print out the single record on show conveniently fitted on A4 or US letter paper.
  • In the Comparison Page layout the Print Current Frame command will print out the collected records conveniently fitted on A4 or US Letter paper at ten to a page.
  • It would also be useful to print out these 10 Click tips to have beside you as you explore the Databases.

Users should be aware that these Databases are only a tool to access the seal material, and a user-friendly one at that. However they are not a substitute for handling the seals or viewing the impressions. Any arguments on the (minute) details of the seal designs should always be checked against the original (if permitted) and the impression held in the CMS Archives.




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Latest Revision: 2018-02-16
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