Newly Launched Digital Library of Northern Thai Manuscripts

By Jotika Khur-Yearn|March 8, 2016|History, Literature, Religions, South East Asia|0 comments

lanna ms

The University of Pennsylvania and National Library of Laos have launched the Digital Library of Northern Thai Manuscripts at as a resource for the study of traditional literature from this region. At present, the digital library contains images of over 4,200 manuscripts which can be searched and viewed online or freely downloaded, and to which more manuscripts will be added.

The database contains four collections: digitised microfilms from the Preservation of Northern Thai Manuscripts Project (with permission of Chiang Mai University Library), digitised microfilms and also handwritten copied of manuscripts made in the early 1970s during research conducted by Harald Hundius, and directly-digitised manuscripts made during the current digital library project.

All digitisation was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, and the digital library project was funded by The Henry Luce Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. The project was implemented by the National Library of Laos, based on the existing Digital Library of Lao Manuscripts (

A large number of the manuscripts are extra-canonical works consisting of narrative literature, especially Jataka stories, many of which are thought to originate from local Southeast Asian traditions. Texts are found in the Northern Thai (Lan Na), Tai Khuen, Tai Lue, Lao, Shan, Burmese, and Pali languages, and are written in a variety of scripts.

We hope that the digital library will be a useful resource for the study of traditional literature from this region. In order to make it as widely available as possible, your assistance in announcing it through your own networks would be greatly appreciated. Feedback on the site is welcome.

Justin McDaniel (DLNTM Project Leader, University of Pennsylvania)

Harald Hundius (DLNTM Local Project Leader, National Library of Laos)

David Wharton (DLNTM Technical Director, National Library of Laos)

  • Note: The wordings used in this blogpost are compilation of messages from an email sent by David Wharton and extract from the digital library’s website.
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