Digitisation and Access Enhancement of the Tibetan Dunhuang Manuscripts at the British Library
Grant Holder: Dr Sam Vanschaik; Dr Jacob Dalton
"Following extensive excavations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, tens of thousands of manuscripts, paintings, textiles and other artefacts dating from 100 BC - AD 1200 were found in the Library Cave at Dunhuang and at numerous other ancient Silk Road cities, temples and tombs in the Taklamakan and Gobi deserts. These constitute a fragile but very rich source of information about religion, art, history, politics, trade, science, culture and social life on the Eastern Silk Road around the first millennium AD. The manuscripts are written in over twenty different languages and scripts, including Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit, Khotanese, Tangut, Sogdian and Uighur, attesting to the cultural richness of the Silk Road. The murals and portable paintings, on silk, hemp and paper, are mainly Buddhist, but other religions and themes are depicted. Numerous artefacts, mostly Buddhist or everyday items, and textiles were also uncovered.
Following these discoveries, the material was dispersed to museum and library collections worldwide, making access difficult. Moreover, the sheer quantity of items in the collections strained the resources of the holding institutions, resulting in most collections not being fully conserved, catalogued or published" (see project web site for more details).
"In 2002 the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) provided funding to the School of Oriental and African (SOAS) for a joint project between IDP and SOAS. The project was directed at cataloguing the neglected Tibetan tantric manuscripts in the Stein collection at the British Library.
The project was completed in 2005, and an online version of the catalogue was launched on the IDP site. In the following year a printed version of the catalogue was published. In addition to the catalogue the researchers also produced a substantial body of new research and scholarly publications on a variety of subjects related to the Tibetan tantric manuscripts. Among this research was the identification of individual Tibetan scribes through palaeography" (see project web site for more details).
|Project start date: 1994-01||Project end date: 2004-06|
|2d Scanning and photography||Data capture|
|Content-based image retrieval||Data analysis|
|Data modelling||Data structuring and enhancement|
|Documentation||Strategy and project management|
|Text encoding - descriptive||Data structuring and enhancement|
|Text encoding - presentational||Data structuring and enhancement|
|Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)||Metadata standards|
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Content types created:
Dataset/structured data, Still Image/Graphics, Text
Software tools used:
Source material used:
IDP is one of the largest projects of its kind, containing information on more than 50,000 paintings, artefacts, textiles, manuscripts, historical photographs and maps as well as cataloguing and contextual information.
Digital resource created:
The main digital resource provided by this project is a catalogue - available here: http://idp.bl.uk/database/oo_cat.a4d?shortref=Dalton_vanSchaik_2005. Through this catalogue one can link to digital images of most of the manuscripts. the catalogue was produced by Dr Sam van Schaik and Dr Jacob Dalton.
Access to digital resource:
Generation of HTML using XSLT from XML for web delivery
Data Formats created:
JPEG File Interchange Format (JPG), Tagged Image File Format (TIFF)
Metadata standards employed:
Text Encoding Initiative (TEI)
Institutions affiliated with this project:
|UK HE institutions involved:|
|School of Oriental and African Studies|
Project staff and expertise:
|Principal staff member:||Dr Ulrich Pagel; Dr Sam van Schaik; Dr Jacob Dalton|
|Metadata on this arts-humanities.net record|
|Author(s) of record||Ulrich Pagel|
|Title||Digitisation and Access Enhancement of the Tibetan Dunhuang Manuscripts at the British Library|
|Record updated||2010-06-22 14:51|
|URL of record||http://www.arts-humanities.net/node/2161|
|Citation of record||Ulrich Pagel: Digitisation and Access Enhancement of the Tibetan Dunhuang Manuscripts at the British Library.|
created: 2007-08-09, last updated 2010-06-22 14:51