CELSUS – The virtual Ephesos library

Collection of Ephesian Literature. Sources to Understand Sites

Research Publications on Ephesos

The long research history of the ancient city of Ephesos has been accompanied by a large number of publications. The earliest impressions of the city were documented by travelers in the 17th and 18th centuries, they were later expanded by the archaeological endeavors of the British; the British excavations in Ephesos were published by the excavator J.T. Wood between 1877 and 1890. The Austrian excavations in Ephesos began in 1895 and only a few years later the series »Forschungen in Ephesos« was founded by O. Benndorf in order to publicly present the excavated monuments. Ever since, the final publications of Austrian research in Ephesos traditionally appear in this series (FIE) and sometimes in the Sonderschriften of the OeAI (SoSchrÖAI). However, interim reports regularly are published in the Jahreshefte (ÖJh) or the Jahresberichte of the ÖAI.

This long-standing and ambitious publication activity on Ephesos also poses problems: The older (still relevant) literature is at times no longer accessible since it is not always possible for libraries to cover all subjects – despite comprehensive book exchanges. The publications are largely aimed at a specialist audience and as a result are usually written in highly complex German and, therefore, can only be understood with appropriate language skills. Additionally, the designations for individual monuments have changed multiple times over the years or are not used uniformly making it difficult to gain an overview of the toponyms of the city. Furthermore, bibliographic searches are obscured by the wealth of popular science publications on Ephesos.

Open Access

Through the virtual library CELSUS (Collection of Ephesian Literature. Sources on Uncovered Sites), the OeAI is working towards making publications on Ephesos published with Austrian participation available online as Open Access. This is intended to increase access to archaeological basic science and improve the findability of individual data sets through optimized search options. The digital library can be accessed and used anywhere so that it will even be possible to directly consult the literature during excavations. The CELSUS project will partially be conducted in three languages in order to take into account the original language of the publications as well as the English and Turkish-speaking scientific community.

Digitization Process

Various tools are in preparation so that the rich data sets included in the publications can be integrated in modern research processes. This includes making the publications available in various formats (PDF, XML,...), the explicit formulation of the copyright, the use of persistent identifiers (DOI, URN,...), and the observance of the FAIR principles (findability, accessibility, interoperability, reusability).

The digitization is being carried out in cooperation with Propylaeum Specialized Information Service Classics where many archaeological publications have already been prepared as Open Access. Embedded in a larger archaeological knowledge network, the OeAI data is easier to find and enhances the visibility of Austrian research.

The digitization includes the scanning of books, the generation of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) as well as the long-term archiving of the digital files under consideration of general standards of the semantic web (CIDOC-CRM) and recommendations of archaeological archives (e.g. IANUS, ADS,...). The publications can be read interactively in a browser and linked with other datasets or also downloaded as PDF. Through an Open Archives Initiative (OAI) interface it is also possible to access the data, including the metadata in various formats. This opens up many possibilities for statistical and computer-based analyses of research data.


Currently, a public bibliography containing all publications on Ephesos that were created with Austrian participation can be viewed through Zotero, a separate CELSUS-platform is in preparation. The continuously updated bibliography can also be downloaded and imported into all reference management systems (e.g. Citavi, Endnote) through the BibTex-Export. In the bibliography publications already available online are marked with a link or a DOI and can be viewed by double-clicking the title.