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The Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS) was planned, starting in 1995, by Roger Bagnall, †Traianos Gagos, and †John Oates, representing Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and Duke University. Berkeley, Princeton, and Yale joined the effort soon after. The project was launched in 1996/7 with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the six original institutions. The goal was to create a collections-based repository of information about and images of papyrological materials (e.g., papyri, ostraca, wooden tablets, etc.) located in collections around the world; it was envisaged as a first stage in creating a comprehensive papyrological working environment online. A total of six NEH grants, along with institutional support, foundation grants, and private donations, sustained the development of APIS through 2013. At present it includes twelve full member institutions along with another fifteen collections that have contributed data, including some archaeological field projects. Its founding vision was more completely realized when it was systematically linked to the other resources in the Papyrological Navigator through the Integrating Digital Papyrology project, in several phases, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and directed by Joshua Sosin.

APIS contains physical descriptions, provenance, dating, and bibliographic information about these papyri and other written materials, as well as digital images and English translations of many of these texts. For many there is also information about the acquisition history of the objects. APIS includes both published and unpublished material in all languages. Generally, much more detailed information is available about the published texts. Unpublished papyri have often not yet been fully transcribed, and the information available is sometimes very basic. If you need more information about a papyrus, you should contact the appropriate person at the owning institution. Active development and hosting of the APIS technical infrastructure was carried out at a number of APIS partner institutions over the period 1996-2013, principally Columbia University, the University of Michigan and New York University. As of 1 July 2013, the host and steward of canonical APIS data is, which is served by the DC3 and Duke University Libraries.

The collections module, with a metadata record editor, of is now open to all institutions, whether or not they are APIS members. Collections of any size may contribute catalog records, images, texts, translations, and metadata to directly, once they establish an authorized editorial structure. Interested collections should contact dcthree AT duke DOT edu.