The Southeast Asia Digital Library

Project Web Site Not Up Yet

Northern Illinois University
NUI Libraries
DeKalb, IL 60115-2868

Project Co-Director:
Gregory Green

Project Co-Director:
Drew VandeCreek

Project Manager:
Anitha Parachuri

Project Technical Manager:
Tara Dirst

Dollar Allocation Year 1: $195,000

Project Overview:
Northern Illinois University Libraries, along with a consortium of institutions represented by the Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia (CORMOSEA, and participating international institutions, will create a digital library to provide access to research materials and bibliographic indexes from Southeast Asia. The Southeast Asia Digital Library will directly support scholarly activities at the Department of Education designated National Resource Centers for Southeast Asia and additional universities with nationally recognized centers or programs in Southeast Asia Studies. It will employ digital library standards developed and approved by American and international library organizations to provide free access to archives of textual, still image, sound, and video resources, covering both historical and current information from the region. Eight constituent projects, created in collaboration with partner organizations, will create the initial content for the Southeast Asia Digital Library, including:

  • Supporting upgrades to an online bibliographic index at Thammasat University in Thailand, while creating an interface to access the index and providing a full-text article delivery service;
  • Supporting a project at Khon Kaen University to preserve and digitize fragile palm leaf manuscripts from northeastern Thailand;
  • Creating an archive of historical photographs covering a century of life in Cambodia;
  • Training seminars for librarians in the Philippines at the University of San Carlos, Cebuano Studies Center, covering the latest techniques in preservation, conservation and digitization that will result in the creation of an online archive of unique images and textual materials;
  • Creating a video archive of a currently influential television program from Indonesia;
  • Digitizing rare early printed works in the vernacular languages of the region;
  • Supporting the Living Memory Project to create a video archive of interviews of former political prisoners in East Timor; and
  • Funding a project at Ohio University to create a free, online access interface for the Berita Database of journal articles and other resources from Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and the ASEAN region.

Individuals representing leading Southeast Asian Studies programs at American universities will coordinate the above projects, acting in concert with partners in the region. Similar to their cooperative efforts in teaching the languages of Southeast Asia through the Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI, program, members of the consortium will collaborate to build the Southeast Asia Digital Library. Individuals involved in planning and creating this online resource come from institutions including Arizona State University, the University of California at Los Angeles and at Berkeley, the University of Hawaii, Cornell University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Michigan, Yale University, Harvard University, the University of Washington, Ohio University, and Northern Illinois University. Each of these institutions has completed successful projects that provide online access to high-quality research and teaching materials. These individual projects have made significant contributions to the Southeast Asian studies community. Their efforts have yielded products heavily used by students and scholars covering a vast array of Southeast Asian topics in the areas of digitization, indexing, and online language teaching. However, collaboration will enable these institutions to use available resources more efficient ly by establishing and continuing to build a cooperative digital library rather than constructing unconnected pieces.

The collaborative digital library resulting from this grant will amass substantial resources from Southeast Asia and provide free access for students, teachers, scholars, government officials, and many others with interest in the region. Additionally, in order to maintain consistency across regional digital libraries, the Southeast Asia Digital Library will use the standards, including compatible software and hardware systems, established by another TICFIA funded regional digital library, the Digital South Asia Library (DSAL,, thus building on the foundation created by earlier projects. At the same time, the Southeast Asia Digital Library will expand and enhance the functionality of the DSAL model by digitizing and providing access to materials in formats not previously used in Digital South Asia Library.

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