[INDOLOGY] Database of manuscripts digitized by National Manuscript Mission

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Sat Nov 7 17:04:26 UTC 2015

When NAMAMI says "digitized" they don't mean "digitized".  They mean, "for
which a bibliographical record has been created in our database".

I would love to be corrected, but to the best of my knowledge, NAMAMI does
not have a MS digitizing program. Only IGNCA has been doing that.  (And
their database of the MSS they have photographed is separate.)

NAMAMI's database is based on field-surveys of MS holdings in various parts
of India.  Their staff went out into villages and collected information on
what people had.  This information was recorded on paper forms and later
typed into the computer at head office.  These surveys have been considered
as trials, not as a full-fledged program.

Thus, the NAMAMI program is a bit like the old surveys of Rajendralal Mitra
and Haraprasad Shastri, published in the *Notices* series.  The MSS stayed
in the villages, and the publications gave what we would today call
metadata.  Today, mostly, only the metadata survives.

To get images of the MSS recorded by NAMAMI one has to communicate with the
original owners of the MSS.  My attempts to do this through agents and
colleagues have in all cases drawn blanks.

I have heard indirectly that NAMAMI field officers were paid per return,
and that some officers returned more metadata sheets than appeared feasible
given the hours that they worked.

Professor Dominik Wujastyk
Singhmar Chair in Ancient Indian Society and Polity
Department of History and Classics
University of Alberta

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