ADA originated from a previous project named, which aimed to present the Avestan and Pahlavi text of one Avestan text, the Vīdēvdād while showcasing the available manuscripts. Alberto Cantera carried out this project between 2002 and 2007 together with Miguel Ángel Andrés Toledo, who was working as a PhD student on chapters 10 to 12 of the Vīdēvdād. As for the manuscripts, we collected black-and-white microfilms, scanned, indexed, and published them online so that the corresponding folios of each manuscript for a specific passage were displayed together with the text and translation. Through the direct engagement with the manuscripts, it became evident that K. F. Geldner's edition was less reliable as the only source for analyzing the Avestan texts than commonly assumed. The issues spanned micro-philological concerns (selection of the readings, display of the variant readings, incoherences in the edited text, etc.) and, more importantly, macro-philological issues, notably the inaccurate display of the liturgies.

Consequently, Alberto Cantera shifted his research focus from the Vīdēvdād to the Avestan manuscripts in general. The idea was to collect, analyze, and publish them online as a previous stage for the final goal of a new edition of all Avestan texts. As a result, ADA was initiated as an independent research project in 2007 within the Department of Classical Philology and Indo-European Studies at the University of Salamanca. It was developed and hosted there from 2007 to 2016, during which time, the project received funding from various ministries of the Spanish government and by the regional Research Council of Castilla y León.

In the first years of ADA, between 2007 and 2012, Miguel Ángel Andrés Toledo and Juanjo Ferrer were tireless and indispensable collaborators of ADA. Together with Alberto Cantera, they made the first trips to India during which the Avestan manuscripts of the LL available at the Bombay University Library and, most importantly, in the Meherji Rana Library were digitized. They also spent long periods at the Cama Oriental Institute transliterating manuscripts since this institution did not allow digitizing. It was a pioneering time during which we developed the system for indexing, and ADA became an important tool for Avestan studies. Miguel Ángel Andrés Toledo moved on to other projects in 2012 but continued until 2016 as a hardworking collaborator of ADA, mainly indexing manuscripts. Juanjo Ferrer remained the main collaborator of ADA until 2016. An overview of the trips to India and the subsequent trips to Iran can be found here.

Around 2010, an important shift took place in ADA. The number of Avestan manuscripts produced in Iran used in the editions of the 19th century and known to the scientific community was very limited. A groudnbreaking paper by K. Mazdapour brought to light the existence of Avestan manuscripts in Iran. Since then, the main efforts of ADA have been directed towards unearthing and digitizing Avestan manuscripts, with notable success. Today, the Iranian transmission of the 17th century is as well known, if not better known, than the Indian one. During most of the trips to Iran, Saloume Gholami has joined us, worked with us, and helped us in numerous ways. This work would have been impossible without the continuous collaboration of K. Mazdapour and a large group of people associated with him, including Farzane Goshtasp, Houman Fravarhari, Bahram Boroumand, Fateme Jahanpour, Maryam Ghanei, Pedram Souroushian, etc. An important collector of Avestan manuscripts in Yazd, Vahid Zolfeghari, have allowed the digitizing of his collection that have increased parallely with ADA's efforts and has provided many insights about the possible location of other manuscripts. In the last years, Mehraban Pouladi has played a fundamental role in the location of manuscripts that were on sell and rescued them. His collection has also luckily been incorporated to ADA.

While incorporating to ADA an increasing number of liturgical manuscripts of the different variants of the Long Liturgy, ADA's team encountered significant difficulties in indexing the numerous sections of the liturgies other than the Yasna that were not edited by N.L. Westergaard and K.F. Geldner. In the early years of ADA, this problem was addressed through ad hoc solutions. Eventually, between 2012 and 2016, Alberto Cantera developed a new numbering system for the variants of the LL that accounted for all texts present in the manuscripts. This numbering system has continued to be refined in the work of the Corpus Avesticum Berolinense. An explanation of the numbering system and its rationale can be found here.

In 2016, when Alberto Cantera took the chair of Iranian Studies at the FU Berlin, the project transitioned to its second planned stage of the project: the edition of the Avestan texts, presently carried out in the Corpus Avesticum Berolinense (CAB) . ADA was relocated from Salamanca to Berlin. The software underwent updates and adjustments to align with the new environment. Subsequently, new manuscripts have been digitized and incorporated into ADA's collection, but no additional manuscripts have been published online. During these years, we have been developing a new version of ADA launched in January 2024 that should integrate with CAB. Alberto Cantera remains the director of ADA, with Jaime Martínez Porro serving as the main collaborator. Occasional collaboration is provided by Götz König, who is mainly involved in the indexing of the Khorde Avestan Manuscripts. The technical development is now in the hands of Ionuț-Valentin Cucu.

In January 2024, ADA 2.0 has been launched. It incorporates new manuscripts and possibilitates the progressive publication of the remaining digital copies currently obtained and future acquisitions. The main features of ADA 2.0, aside from a new technology and design, are:

  1. ADA 2.0 is integrated with CAB, allowing access to single passages from the basic edition of CAB. In the future, CAB's basic edition will be linked to the transliteration of the manuscripts. The numbering of passages follows the new CAB-numbering of the liturgies , although the search tool also allows the use of Geldner's traditional numbering.

  2. ADA 2.0 not only displays images of the manuscripts, but, in many cases, their transliteration as well.

  3. Whereas the focus of ADA 1.0 was on the manuscripts of the Long Liturgy, ADA 2.0 will increasingly focus on the manuscripts of other liturgies.

The integration with CAB has demanded a complete new indexing of all manuscripts that have been previously indexed. We have also removed the frame in which the passage numbers were indicated. Since the new ADA also includes transliterations of the manuscripts, we have considered this frame unnecessary. The new indexing is based on the transliterations of each manuscript prepared in CAB. Only for the manuscripts not transliterated in CAB have we created an algorithm that allows the conversion from the old indexing to the new one. Accordingly, the indexed manuscripts in ADA 1.0 have mostly disappeared from ADA 2.0 and have been substituted by newly prepared pictures and a new indexing. The old indexing is still available in ADA1.0 and we hope to keep running as a valuable asset of the history of ADA.