[INDOLOGY] Manuscripts in India

Harry Spier hspier.muktabodha at gmail.com
Thu Jan 8 15:15:17 UTC 2015

I vaguely recall seeing some article a few years back (maybe on the
Indology list) that Google or Microsoft were partnering with a large
manuscript library in India to digitize their collection.  Does anyone
remember which institute this was and what became of the project.

Harry Spier

On Tue, Jan 6, 2015 at 10:53 PM, Matthew Kapstein <mkapstei at uchicago.edu>

> Friends,
> Though I have had many of the same types of frustrations some of you have
> had in
> accessing manuscripts in India, I do not by any means regard this as a
> particularly Indian problem.
> Take my recent experience with the Société Asiatique in Paris:
> In March last year, I approached the librarians to request access to the
> collection of Tibetan
> manuscripts acquired in the early 20th century by Jacques Bacot. I was
> told that the collection
> was off-limits, except to one Parisian scholar who had been engaged by the
> Société to catalogue it.
> The sole way to access the Bacot materials, they said, was through that
> person.
> After several months, the individual in question and I succeeded in fixing
> a time to visit the Bacot collection
> together. All seemed fine. However, the evening before our appointment, I
> received a message from
> that person stating that the board of the Société had decided to exclude
> me personally because I am
> not a member of the Société! And the person who delivered this message,
> who has access to the
> Bacot collection, is not, it turns out, a member.
> When I then complained directly to the board of the SA, I received a
> rather insulting message to the
> effect that, because the collection will have to be closed in 2016, owing
> to planned renovations, they
> thought it best to exclude me now (!!!)
> I could add stories about a number of other European collections, not to
> mention conditions for
> accessing manuscripts in China.
> All in all, though far from perfect, the situation in India seems not half
> bad.
> Matthew Kapstein
> Directeur d'études,
> Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes
> Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,
> The University of Chicago
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