BMCR 2002.04.16

Antiquarium 1.0 (a search engine for the TLG and PHI CD-ROMs)

, , , Antiquarium 1.0 (a search engine for the TLG and PHI CD-ROMs). : distributed by Quadrivium Software (, .

Since its establishment in 1972, the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) has become an indispensable tool for anyone interested in Greek language or the rich and varied heritage of Greek literature. Until very recently, with the advent of online access to the database, most scholars made use of the TLG in the form of a CD-ROM first distributed in 1985. At that time, the Ibycus, an extraordinary combination of hardware and software designed and produced by David W. Packard and his team of associates, was the only personal computer able to search and display the data contained on the TLG CD-ROM and the CD-ROMs of the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI) as they were gradually developed and distributed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Even now, a number of Ibycus Personal Computers are still in active use, supported by a special—albeit now rather quiet—discussion list, the Ibycus-L, which is maintained by the CHMTL. Eventually, though, programs were developed for Windows and Macintosh computers that allowed the TLG and PHI discs to be searched in much the same way as had been possible on the Ibycus and, in some cases, with features and advantages that were not available on the Ibycus (a current list of many of these programs appears on the TLG web site: The most recent of these is Antiquarium 1.0, conceived, designed, and written in Russia by the classicist/musicologists Vyacheslav Tsypine (concept and programming), Sergey Lebedev (production and font design), and Vassily Lebedev (interface design).

Antiquarium, a full 32-bit program, makes it possible to read and search the TLG CD-ROM E or PHI disc on any Pentium (100 or later) machine running Windows 95 or later (i.e., 98, NT, 2000, or XP) with a minimum display resolution of 800×600 pixels and a recommended depth of at least 16 bits. Antiquarium employs the TLG word index and bibliographical information included in the TLG CD-ROM and, in addition, requires the Antiquarium font set, which includes special symbols described in the TLG Betacode manual—such as those needed to display mathematical and musical symbols—not available in a standard Windows font set or in the Unicode “Greek and Coptic” or “Greek Extended” font sets. Antiquarium displays on screen its search results, but it can also generate printed reports. The Antiquarium font set includes eight TrueType fonts, all of which were newly designed by the authors. While these font sets were designed for use with Antiquarium, they are fully compatible with all other Windows programs because they are installed within the operating system’s font collection. Thus, passages retrieved in Antiquarium can be copied and pasted into a word processing program (for example), where they will display and print (beautifully, by the way) just as well as they do in the program itself.

Although Antiquarium is commercial software, many features of the program are enabled in the demo version available at the Quadrivium web site (, from which the complete set of required Antiquarium fonts can also be retrieved. The Quadrivium web site is rather slow, but it is preferable to the parallel geocities site (, with its web cookies and advertisements. In order to obtain a fully functional version of the program, registration is required (individual licenses, $200 US; institutional licenses, $500 US); a link on the Quadrivium web site leads to the registration site. Registration and payment are possible online (with MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover), or one can register by mail or FAX, with payment by check, money order, or wire transfer.

The program is launched in any of the normal manners (double-clicking on the icon, selecting the file from the “Run …” dialogue, etc.), and, if the TLG CD-ROM is already mounted, an alphabetical list of authors will appear in a window on the left side of the screen, above which the Antiquarium menubar appears with menus for “File,” “Navigation,” “Search,” “View,” “Window,” and “Help,” and icons for “Authors window (F2),” “Works window (F3),” “Works to search window (F8),” “Document manager (F9),” “Arrange all (F10),” and “Exit.” If for some reason Antiquarium does not find the CD the “File” menu provides the option “Open database …,” through which the appropriate location can be selected.

Once the “Authors window” has been opened, selecting an author (either by typing the first few letters of the name or scrolling to the name and clicking on it) and then clicking on the “Works window” icon will bring up a new window listing all the individual works of the author contained in the database; the same result can be achieved by double-clicking on the author’s name. Then, double-clicking on the title of a work causes the entire work to be displayed in a new browsing window (or, as the program calls it, a “document window”).

In works containing special symbols (as, for example, the De musica of Aristides Quintilianus), the symbols, even though they may not always align quite properly with each other or with the surrounding text, do nevertheless appear in place of the Betacode equivalents displayed by other programs (even those employing Unicode fonts), which do not have the advantage of Antiquarium’s expanded font set. For some users, this feature alone will more than balance the cost of the program.

Within the browsing window, a new menubar appears with menus for “File,” “Edit,” and “Navigation.” The “File” menu options include “Hide” (hidden windows can always be revealed through the Document Manager), “Bibliography” (providing the TLG number, the author’s name and dates, and the edition and word count represented in the TLG “Info” (providing more or less the same information, but arranged in tabular form; this option is not available for the PHI disc), “Print,” and “Close.” The “Edit” menu allows blocks of text to be copied for pasting into a document in some other program, and the “Navigation” menu allows the user to move up and down in the text.

At the top of the screen, a second “Navigation” menu allows the user to specify a particular section or line to be displayed in the browsing window. In addition, the individual text may be searched by selecting “Find in current document …” from the “Search” menu. A new window then appears in which the user can enter a string (either by typing or through the character map, with ? representing a wildcard), while also specifying whether the string is case sensitive, represents a whole word, and is a Latin word (this option is automatically checked when searching the PHI disc). In addition, it is possible to specify that the search should begin from the page currently being viewed or from the beginning of the text. When the “Find” button is clicked, the browsing window jumps to the first hit, which is highlighted. Selecting “Find next” from the “Search” menu (or pressing shift-control-F) causes each subsequent hit to be highlighted in the browsing window, which jumps to the appropriate spot.

In order to search multiple texts, the “Works to search window” is opened (this can be done without previously opening the “Works window”), with its active menus of “Add” and “Search list.” The “Add” menu offers the options of selecting the entire TLG corpus, only the works of the authors displayed in the “Works window” (this option is not functional if a “Works window” has not been opened), or only works within a range of dates selected from a new window (if desired, a range of dates can also be applied in the “Authors window” to reduce the number of authors displayed). If none of these options is suitable, individual works can be dragged from the “Works window” to the “Works to search” window. Once the list of works to be searched has been created, the “Search list” menu allows it to be saved for reloading at a later time, loaded if previously saved, or cleared. A new menu item, “Find in the search list… ” now becomes active. Selecting this item brings up a new window in which the string to be searched can be either typed or entered by selecting a letter at a time from a character map. As before, checkboxes enable the user to specify that the string is case sensitive, a whole word, or a Latin word. Once the string and parameters have been specified, clicking on the “Find” button displays in the lower half of the window the name of each text containing the desired string. Double-clicking on the name of the text causes the “Report” window to open, in which is displayed all the particular finds (within a context of lines defined by the user under “Preferences” in the “File” menu), each headed by the page and line number on which the find has occurred within the selected text. The “Report” window’s menu allows the same options earlier available in the browsing window, as well as the additional option of displaying the entire text in a new window (i.e., moving to a browsing window). The group of texts located in a search can then be subjected to sub-searches by checking the option “search within the results.” Thus, it is possible to create quite refined nested searches.

All these open or hidden windows (the browsing windows, the report windows, and so on) can be brought to the front, shown, or closed through the “Document manager,” which is opened by clicking on the appropriate button or selecting the option from the “View” menu at the top of the screen. This is a necessary feature because the various windows remain open until they are specifically hidden or closed by the user.

The speed with which Antiquarium searches depends, of course, on the speed of the individual machine, the speed of the CD drive (unless the entire database is copied to a hard drive, which will generally increase the speed of searches), the particular operating system, and so on. A comparison of its performance with that of other programs would necessitate the establishment of certain benchmarks, against which a complex series of tests would need to be performed. This is beyond the scope of a notice such as this, and in the end, it would probably be relatively useless because of the range of hardware and operating systems actually employed by the many different users of the TLG and PHI discs, not to mention their preferences in ergonomics. But two simple statistics may be informative: running under WindowsNT 4.0 on a Dell OptiPlex GX1 with a 400MHz Pentium H processor and a 17/40 speed CD drive, Antiquarium was able to search the entire TLG disc (76 million words) for a single term in ca. fifteen minutes. For shorter searches, the results are nearly instantaneous.

Finally, the program includes a series of help files (in English) that provide necessary instructions for using the program and for setting up some of the preferences that may be configured. The files are not highly detailed and the English is not particularly elegant, but they certainly provide sufficient information for even a novice user of the TLG and PHI discs.

One hopes that future releases might include boolean capabilities, as well as the current capability for nested searches; an arrangement of some or all of the eight fonts together in a single keyboard mapping, which would allow for direct keyboard input in other programs and thereby greatly increase their overall value; and a version that would run on the MacOS. There are, of course, other programs available for Windows users. Some of the other programs (including Diogenes [see ], which does not seem to be listed on the TLG’s web site) may be better suited for certain users than Antiquarium because of price, interface, online links to other sites, or employment of Unicode, but Antiquarium’s ease of installation and use, many features, and special fonts make it an excellent alternative for serious consideration as the search engine of choice for Windows users of the TLG and PHI CD-ROMs.