The Index was started originally in the 1930's by Professor Robert P. Blake of Harvard University as a cumulative index of bibliographical entries in the
Byzantinische Zeitschrift. In 1942 the enterprise was transferred to Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. Conceived primarily as an alphabetical author catalogue, the index was enriched further with references cited in Krumbacher. Concurrently, a catalogue of Slavic authors in the Cyrillic alphabet was completed with references from 77 journals published in Russian and other Slavic languages, most of them before 1917.
Author Index I along with the
Author Index II is a major bibliographical tool at Dumbarton Oaks, in daily use by students of all aspects of Byzantine history and civilization, patristic studies, and Slavic studies, as well as by scholars pursuing Late Antique studies, and, Western Mediaeval and Arabic relations with Byzantium.