This article was originally published in the Almanac, 03/22/2016. It can be viewed here in its original form.
Working with the National Library of Laos, Penn professor Justin McDaniel, chair of the department of religious studies, has launched the Digital Library of Northern Thai Manuscripts at http://lannamanuscripts.net as a resource for the study of traditional literature from this region. At present, the digital library contains images of over 4,200 manuscripts that can be searched and viewed online or freely downloaded, and to which more manuscripts will be added.
The database contains four collections: digitized microfilms from the Preservation of Northern Thai Manuscripts Project (with permission of Chiang Mai University Library), digitized microfilms and also handwritten copies of manuscripts made in the early 1970s during research conducted by Harald Hundius, and directly digitized manuscripts made during the current digital library project.
All digitization was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. The digital library project was funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and the School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.
The project was implemented by the National Library of Laos, based on the existing Digital Library of Lao Manuscripts (http://laomanuscripts.net).