The last attempt at a comprehensive epigraphic collection for ancient Sicily was the combined work for the Sicilian volumes of Inscriptiones Graecae (volume 14, G. Kaibel, 1890) and the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (volume 10.2, T. Mommsen, 1883); although these only addressed the Greek and Latin material then known for the island. Modern archaeology on the island effectively began in the same decade, and the volume of epigraphic material on stone alone has increased by at least a factor of three since then.
Since then, a number of individual museum catalogues have been published, but the vast majority of the published material is scattered across diverse and often very inaccesible specialist publications. At the same time, it is generally recognised that a comprehensive corpus is a necessary foundation for any systematic study of the epigraphic material, whether linguistic, historical or archaeological. The I.Sicily project was initiated in 2013 in order to address this need. A digital approach was adopted (see Prag and Chartrand 2018), using the EpiDoc-XML encoding standard, which is a schema of the internationally recognised Text Encoding Initiative. Digital encoding of the texts and the information about the texts (the metadata) lays the foundations for systematic machine reading of the texts, and can be applied equally across all languages and categories of text, enabling cross-linguistic, cross-temporal and wide-ranging analysis of texts and objects at a wholly new level.
The I.Sicily project began from a foundation of metadata (bibliography and information about the inscriptions/inscribed objects) created between 2001 and 2004 for the stone inscriptions of ancient Sicily. The first phase of I.Sicily involved the transformation of that data into EpiDoc format, and the gradual incorporation of the texts, primarily through automated import and draft conversion to EpiDoc; a second phase has been underway for some time, focused upon the editing of that information and a rolling programme of identification and autopsy of the inscriptions themselves. The amount of work involved in phase two (identification, location and autopsy of over 3,000 inscriptions across the island) has meant that progress has been relatively slow, with work concentrated in Siracusa. As part of that work, new catalogues have been produced for Adrano and Halaesa museums, and new epigraphic exhibitions established at Halaesa and Catania; a partner project, EpiCUM, has produced an online catalogue and exhibition of the complete collection of the Catania Museo Civico. Over 600 inscriptions have already been studied at the Siracusa museum.