This is a great book that provides a nice overview of the history of the cuneiform script. I learned that the script was used for at least three different languages. Sumerian, Babylonian (a Semitic language), and Akkadian (a Semitic language). The book describes how the script conveyed consonants and vowels and provides a helpful table of signs so you can write your own. While reading this book I had a chance to go see the Assyrian (Akkadian) Bas-Reliefs at the Bowdoin College of Art. These are from Nimrud and were created for king Assurnasirpal 2 who is described in the book as a soldier and scholar, who added extensive labels called “colophons” to his tablets (p. 54). If you are looking for a brief, well-written introduction to the topic this is the place to start.
A few pictures from Bowdoin