It is a true pleasure for me to draw your attention to a new online resource for the study of Burmese texts: the Myanmar Manuscript Digital Library (MMDL).
Located at https://mmdl.utoronto.ca/, housed at the University of Toronto, and supported by Toronto’s Robarts Library, the site makes available for public retrieval manuscripts from Burma in digitized form, collected under the direction of the Pali Text Society’s William Pruitt, with the support of Yumi Ousaka from the Sendai College of Technology, and together with an impressive team of scholars, technicians, and volunteers from Burma and abroad. Thanks for making this ongoing digitization project possible go to the Pali Text Society and Rupert Gethin, the Sendai National College of Technology and Sunao Kasamatsu, the KDDI Foundation, the Mitsubishi Foundation, the CARI Foundation, and the JSPS Kakenhi. Further team members include Aleix Ruiz Falqueś, Kazuhiro Fujiwara, Yukata Kawasaki, Professor Miao, U Aung Moe Oo, U Nyunt Maung, Win Htay, and Markus Wörgötter. The University of Toronto and Robarts Library have offered and have helped establish the electronic infrastructure for this archive. Even more importantly, they have created the conditions for the long-term sustainability of this archive, facilitating the dissemination of the results of this unique and impressive effort for times to come. To begin with, this digital archive comprises the contents of the U Po Thi Library, containing some 775 palm-leaf manuscripts and located in Thaton, Mon State. However, as the digitization project unfolds further, it is envisaged that the contents of more Burmese archives will added, increasing further the volume and range of sources and thus the value provided by this site.
My most sincere words of gratitude for making this site possible go to William Pruitt, without whose vision, work, persistence, and cheerfulness the world of Burma and Pali Studies would not be able to so easily access these treasures. I thank him particularly for the patience with which he has accompanied us at the University of Toronto, offering his advice and support along the lengthy path it took us to make this website accessible to you today. I would also like to thank the team at the University of Toronto and at Robarts Library, most of all Priyadharshini Murugaiah and Sian Meikle, for giving our site a home. I would like to thank Jeffrey Bermejo for creating this site in the first place and for taking care of it as it develops further.
Should you have questions regarding the site, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I will do my best to answer your questions or to redirect them to those colleagues and friends who are more informed than me.
With warm regards,
Associate Professor, Buddhist Studies
Director, Centre for South Asian Studies
at the Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
Chair, Numata Program UofT/McMaster
University of Toronto