Preserving literary heritage

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via Bangkok Post, 09 April 2018: Digitisation of Northern Thai Manuscripts Project

At Wat Sung Men in Phrae province, monks and a dozen local villagers are busy scanning the temple’s old manuscripts into a computer. The same activity, in fact, is happening at several temples in the North, including Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong in Chiang Mai as well as others in Lamphun and Nan. Initiated by a German professor, the novel efforts of digitising and conserving ancient manuscripts have caught on with enthusiasm among locals.

Source: Preserving literary heritage

Indonesian Museum seeks additional funds

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What is the cost of maintaining the Radya Pustaka Museum in Surakarta? The museum, which turns 120 next year, houses a wide range of artefacts from Indonesia including ancient sculpture and a large collection of ancient books. The museum is seeking to increase its funding from 197 million rupiah (USD20,000) to 300 million (USD31,000) in order to maintain its current collections.

Radya Pustaka Museum


Radya Pustaka Needs Rp 300 Million

Tempo Interaktif, 29 October 2009
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Digitizing ancient documents for future preservation

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I’ve previously mentioned the plight of the ancient manuscripts kept at the Radya Pustaka Museum in Solo and how they have been literally rotting away in cupboards here. It seems that a workshop has been conducted recently to teach museum and heritage professionals how to prepare and scan/photograph these manuscripts into a digital format as a means of preservation. The work sounds pretty similar to what I’m doing with documenting rock art. Digitising data has the potential to be stored indefinitely, but maintaining digitising collections is a constant process and requires a long-term outlook to keep up with the level of technological change. I’m personally keeping four backups of my data on recordable discs and portable hard drives – but these things only have a shelf life of 5 years, by which time I will probably need to change the recording media (think about how you’ve had to evolve from CD-R to DVD-R to flash drives and portable hard drives in the last five years). Just over a decade ago there was a European effort to maintain a database of rock art that was being stored in a now-defunct Kodak photo cd digital format – I’m not sure if the effort still exists, or if the data can still be drawn from the obsolete proprietary system. In contrast, these ancient manuscripts and rock art have survived relatively well for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The moral of the story: digital collections might be a great way for facilitating mass dissemination and saving space, but we haven’t actually seen any long term solutions for storage of digital collections. The only safe recourse currently for archiving digital information is to make multiple backups and to do so in regular intervals that keeps up with the pace of technology – and I suspect that the cost will eventually outstrip the benefit in the future.

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photo credit: pcardoso

Digital Age Provides Hope For Ancient Manuscripts
Jakarta Globe, 26 June 2009
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Public Lecture: From Indigenous to Islamic law: Jambi between the 14th and 18th Century by Dr Uli Kozok

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From the National University of Singapore Asia Research Institute:

From Indigenous to Islamic law: Jambi between the 14th and 18th Century by Dr Uli Kozok
Date: 10 Jan 2008
Time: 4 – 5.30 pm
Venue: ARI Seminar Room, 469A Tower Block, Level 10, Bukit Timah Road, National University of Singapore @ BTC
Organisers: Dr MILLER Michelle, Jointly organized with the Department of Malay Studies, NUS

Abstract
The 14th century manuscript from the village of Tanjung Tanah, Kerinci (Jambi), which is still partly written in an Sanskritised idiom, was issued by the Maharaja of Dharmasraya, the former capital of the Malayu kingdom, to provide the “chiefs of the land of Kerinci” with a code of law. This manuscript, still written in an Old Sumatran script on bark paper, was a few centuries later reissued by the Sultan of Jambi, but this time on paper and in Arabic-Malay script. The two manuscripts, both in the possession of the same family in Tanjung Tanah, does not only give us interesting insights into the changes that the Malay language underwent from the 14th to the 18th century, but also into how the arrival of Islam influenced the legal system of a Sumatran Malay polity.

About the Speaker
1989 MA, 1994 PhD Austronesian Languages and Cultures, Hamburg University. 1994-2001 Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland, 2001- Associate Professor, University of Hawaii (Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures). Main interests comprise Sumatran philology, palaeography of Island Southeast Asia, distance education.

Registration
We would gratefully request that you RSVP to Ms Alyson Rozells at 65168787 or e-mail her at ariaar@nus.edu.sg.

Cham inscriptions and Cham manuscripts: A legacy of development

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Cham inscriptions and Cham manuscripts: A legacy of developmentSpeaker: Mohamed Effendy bin Abdul Hamid
Date/Time: Sat 14 Apr 07, 2.30 – 4.30pm
Venue: National Library (Singapore), 100 Victoria Street, Possibility Room, Level 5The Vo Canh Stele is one of the earliest Sanskrit inscriptions found in Southeast Asia, in the vicinity of the kingdom of Champa, Vietnam. The inscription, dated to be from the fourth century, records the donation made by a King belonging to the family of Sri Mara. The significance of this inscription was that it was one of the earliest examples of the Pallava script being used in Southeast Asia by a Malay-like polity, Kerajaan Champa.

This seminar will highlight the localization of Sanskrit by the Cham people by contrasting it to other Cham inscriptions and the writing found in the Cham manuscripts. This will highlight that although the Cham language and writing show significant borrowings from other cultures, it actually enhanced the development of the Cham language.

Admission is FREE and no registration is required.

About the Speaker:
Mohamed Effendy bin Abdul Hamid is a postgraduate student in the National University of Singapore, Southeast Asia Studies Programme. His interest in Champa’s history began in the year 2000 and has been awarded a research grant in 2005 by National University of Singapore’s Graduate research programme to conduct fieldwork research in Cham communities in Vietnam and Cambodia. Mohamed Effendy has also participated and attended in several international conferences and symposiums such as “New scholarship on Champa”, 5-6 August 2004. He co-presented a paper with Research Associate Mr Pritam Singh on “The Muslims of Indochina: Islam, Ethnicity and Religious Education” and a paper “Cham Manuscripts and the Possibility of a Second Champa Kingdom” at the 19th International Association of Historians of Asia (IAHA) 2006 in the Philippines.

Related Books:
The Art of Champa by J. Hubert