Entrance to the U Pho Thi Library in Myanmar
Entrance to the U Pho Thi Library in Myanmar. Photo courtesy of U Aung Moe.

The open-access Myanmar Manuscript Digital Library is now live – thanks to the efforts of an international network of scholars and volunteers, including members of our own Department of Religion.

PhD student Tony Scott, the outreach liaison for the project, has written a post for the Oxford Tea Circles blog announcing the completion of the online library and describing the 5-year process of preserving and digitizing the manuscripts. The effort included lay volunteers and community members in Myanmar, as well as scholars in Toronto.

Manuscripts wrapped in brightly colored cloth at the U Pho Thi Library in Myanmar.
Manuscripts wrapped in brightly colored cloth at the U Pho Thi Library in Myanmar. Photo courtesy of U Aung Moe.

The establishment of the archive on the UofT server in collaboration with Robarts Library has been managed by Department of Religion Professor Christoph Emmrich; and the files are now under the supervision of PhD student Andrew Dade, who will be managing new incoming files from the ongoing digitization efforts in Burma. Fellow PhD student Rachelle Saruya will be overseeing the formal updates of the website, which may include a projected Burmese transcription of the site to enable ease of access among Myanmar’s scholars, volunteers, and community members.

As Tony notes in his blog post, the trove of manuscripts is now “accessible to anyone in the world, travelling by word of mouth, Facebook likes, through teacher-student relationships, or simply by clicking here.”

Congrats to our Toronto colleagues for helping bring this project to fruition!