Skip to main content

About

The most difficult and common barrier to scholars of Indian manuscripts is access. Major manuscript archives generally publish descriptive catalogues, but these are created over decades in many volumes, and often many individual volumes are difficult to acquire. Even when a manuscript is found, it depends on the policies of the particular archive what sort of access a scholar will be allowed to the manuscript, and at what cost. While most archives will facilitate in-person viewing, and some will provide varying-quality photographs or scans (or permit the visitor to bring a point-and-shoot camera), the most common, most affordable, and often the best-available medium to acquire copies for use outside the archive is xerox. In most cases, all of this involves personally travelling to the archive, and sometimes involves negotiating terms and costs. Also, in virtually all cases, copyrights are strongly asserted and distribution restricted. Despite these issues, since access to information is still at the heart of manuscript-based research, the features provided by a digital collection system may be invaluable in even such audience-restricted scholarly work.

 

The Digital Descriptive Manuscript Catalogue of the Vetāla-pañcaviṃśati of Śivadāsa aims to present manuscripts of one specific text from across India, a widely distributed story collection serving as the topic of the SSHRC-funded project “Listening to the Animated Corpse: Folklore, Aesthetics, and the Production of Sanskrit Story Literature in Medieval India.” The source materials from which the collection is drawn were collected between 2010 and 2013 in Europe and India. The scope of this project is constrained to the data found in a typical archive’s descriptive catalogue: bibliographic and physical information about the manuscript, as well as the textual content of the first and last folios, for which full-text search functionality is provided. The broader hope is that this collection might demonstrate the greater utility of a descriptive catalogue based upon primary materials, that it might in the future be expanded to include the full manuscripts, and that it will contribute to the preservation of materials whose physical exemplars may never otherwise be preserved digitally.

 

To the extent permitted by ContentDM, text transcriptions and manuscript information are provided in Text Encoding Initiative XML format along with the images.

Select the collections to add or remove from your search
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
 
OK