Grant to McDaniel Will Help Make Thai Manuscripts Available Online

October 14, 2013

Justin McDaniel, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, has received a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to help fund the The Digital Library of Northern Thai Manuscripts project. Working with the staff at the National Library of Laos and Chiang Mai University, this project will make approximately 7,000 primary sources from this historically important region available for study via the Internet.

The original texts are mostly written on palm-leaf and are stored in the libraries of Buddhist monasteries and in private collections. In addition to local texts from the Theravada Buddhist tradition, they contain a wealth of indigenous literature, historical writings, and works pertaining to social relations, customary law, and everyday life.

Many exceptionally rare and important texts will be made available through the project. Until now, a very limited number of textual studies has been undertaken due to the lack of availability of primary sources from a tradition that has contributed to the development of related cultures throughout the region.

The Digital Library of Northern Thai Manuscripts will be the first major collection of manuscripts from Thailand to be made accessible online.

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