Manuscript images?

Like the title: does SuttaCentral ever plan to house manuscript images in addition to digitized texts?


I was sure I’d see a discussion about this come up ages ago. I did a search and this was the closest thing I could find (I’ve no idea if (1) it’s what I remembered (2) it helps to answer your question):

Short answer: we already do, kind of. For many texts, you can display textual information, and next to the PTS vol/page numbers is a little book icon. That means we have the scanned images for that page available; click it and it displays.

So far this only works for the PTS texts. In fact we have already prepared and ready to go the page images for a Thai and Sri Lankan edition. We also have the images for a Burmese text, but the numbering is not sorted out. If anyone reads Burmese, your help would be appreciated!

These are not available on the site yet, because we have not set up the data to locate the position of each page. We have been distracted by other things, but this is still very much on the to-do list.

Now, all of these are modern printed editions, not traditional manuscripts. However, exactly the same technology can be applied to manuscripts. All we need are a set of properly numbered images, and the reference data. Eventually it would be nice to include manuscripts if possible.

This way of presenting texts is very handy, but quite laborious, as it requires collating the reference data for thousands of pages. Simply presenting the scanned images online and letting readers find what they want is much easier, of course.

The Idb site to which Aminah refers is a project of the British Library, which includes a number of Sanskritic texts, to which we link. I have not checked to see whether the also house Pali texts.

Peter Skilling’s Fragile palm leaves project is a long standing effort to preserve and collate Pali manuscripts from SE Asia, with a special interest in rare and non-canonical texts, although it includes plenty of canonical texts as well. However they don’t seem to be publishing the actual images.

There’s a collection of Lanna manuscripts here:

And there will be many other places. If anyone knows of a central list of such sites, that would be great!