[Humanist] 23.13 new projects: Hindu mss collection; music notation data model

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue May 12 06:58:14 CEST 2009

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 13.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    renata lemos <renata.lemoz at eletrocooperativa.org>         (93)
        Subject: parampara project

  [2]   From:    "Mayhood, Erin (elm8s)" <elm8s at eservices.virginia.edu>    (30)
        Subject: Digital Music Notation Data Model and Prototype Delivery

        Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 12:11:06 -0300
        From: renata lemos <renata.lemoz at eletrocooperativa.org>
        Subject: parampara project

*"Parampara" (Tradition) Project:
.Condensing Knowledge and Time as e-Culture*


*Arnab B. Chowdhury* is founder and CEO of Ninad  http://www.ninad.biz/  ~
an e-Learning consulting and collaborating network that participated in the
"Parampara" project. Ninad offers consulting services that are centered in


*A case study
A poet once said that memory is man's real possession; in nothing else is
mankind so rich, or so poor. In the confines of the Institut Français de
Pondicherry (IFP, www.ifpindia.org) and the Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient
(EFEO), two French governmental research institutes, Indian and French
researchers have been working hand-in-hand for over 30 years on a
fascinating undertaking to create a database of one of the world's richest
collection of manuscripts devoted to the "Saivasiddhanta", a Saiva
religio-philosophical system written in verse - a prominent aspect of
Hinduism. They are ensuring that India conserves a vital component of her
rich cultural memory via e-Culture while synergising appropriate cultural
pedagogy, knowledge management, communication design with smart ICT.


Project:* The manuscript collection of the IFP was initiated in 1955 under
the auspices of IFP founder-director, Jean Filliozat. Bundles were brought
back to the IFP from the private collections of priests and temples across
South India. When the manuscripts themselves could not be obtained,
transcripts in Devanagiri script (as in Hindi) were made. More than half the
collection consists of Saiva manuscripts, comprising:

   - Approximately 60,000 texts preserved in 8,600 palm-leaf bundles.
   - 1,144 transcripts of manuscripts on paper.
   - Precisely 6,850 are in Sanskrit (of which approximately 60% are in
   Grantha script).
   - 1,200 in Tamil or Tamil and Sanskrit.
   - A few are in Tulu, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada (regional Indian

In addition to the Saiva materials, the wide range of subjects covered
includes Astrology, Puranas (Mythology), Siddha Medicine, Veda, Epics,
Belles Lettres and Tamil devotional literature.

*Process:* The digitisation and transliteration project, aptly named
"Parampara" (denoting 'tradition' in Sanskrit), got into full swing in 1997
and the entire collection is presently housed and being painstakingly
catalogued at both the research institutes in air-conditioned
conservation-chambers. Its first CDROM release is of a unique digital
archiving system, published under the name "Parampara", co-produced by the
IFP, EFEO and the Chennai-based AMM Foundation with a multi-lateral team of
Indology scholars, media experts and information technologists. Currently a
collaborative Indo-French project has been framed with National Mission for
Manuscripts initiated by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of

*Challenge: *The cataloguing process is a challenge on its own since each
bundle of leaves may contain dozens of texts, and there are no headings, no
word-breaks and no rubrication of titles or colophons. This requires not
only a sound knowledge of the Saivasiddhanta system but also the ability to
read handwritten scripts, in particular Grantha, a dying skill in Tamil Nadu
(southern Indian state) today. Each folio is studied and the texts are
identified. A descriptive form is filled out that describes each manuscript
along with an English transliteration. These details are then entered into a

As far as e-Culture is concerned, the challenge lay in reflecting the
taxonomy of how the palm-leaf manuscripts and their content have been
collated over millennia (6th century A.D onwards) onto a suitable taxonomy
of a graphics-based database that is scalable with efficient access.

In recent times, thanks to the help of the Muktabodha Indological Research
Institute (India), a major part of the collection (namely all the
transcripts) can now be downloaded online free of charge: (

*Technology:* From a software perspective, all images of manuscripts and
books in the online digital library are made available in two formats, DjVu
(http://djvu.org) and PDF.

The DjVu format is ideal for the viewing of large books and manuscripts on
the web and uses an encoding scheme called "wavelet" technology. Essentially
this means that they are stored as mathematical formulas describing curves.
This allows the page images to be zoomed with almost no loss of quality to
1200% and without getting the jagged edges (called "jaggies") that occur if
the image is stored as a pattern of pixels.

The PDF format is ideal for the downloading and disseminating of files of
books or manuscripts because it is so universally available and known. The
online database of the 210,000 pages of transcripts occupies 102 Gigabytes
of storage and is hosted on a Linux Apache server. Additionally, this
e-Culture application applies Open Source technologies such as PHP and

*Conclusion:* In all, we can see how ICT with a sincere pedagogical
sensitivity towards culture, can help unravel and disseminate the cultural
and research Knowledge-Value from the past to make it accessible,
comprehensive; to transport it from the past to the present and ensure its

*Appreciation:* The "Parampara" project is now a part of UNESCO's 'Memory of
the World' program - an initiative to recognize the immense cultural
significance of various sites worldwide.

renata lemos

        Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 19:30:57 +0100
        From: "Mayhood, Erin (elm8s)" <elm8s at eservices.virginia.edu>
        Subject: Digital Music Notation Data Model and Prototype Delivery System 

University of Virginia Library and University of Paderborn Receive Grant to Create a Digital Music Notation Data Model and Prototype Delivery System 

Erin Mayhood, Head
Music Library, Old Cabell Hall
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
(434) 924-7017, elm8s at virginia.edu

Prof. Dr. Joachim Veit
Carl-Maria-von-Weber-Gesamtausgabe, Arbeitsstelle Detmold
Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar Detmold/Paderborn
Gartenstraße 20, jveit at mail.uni-paderborn.de

The University of Virginia Library and the University of Paderborn are pleased to announce the receipt of a grant jointly funded by the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft e.V., DFG). 

The $77,065 grant will support the development of a music notation data model and encoding scheme for music scholars, publishers, and performers. In addition to the common notation functions of traditional facsimile, critical and performance editions, the encoding scheme will provide for the capture of a composition's textual variants and their origins. Textual matter, very important to the understanding of a composition in its historical and cultural contexts, will also be accommodated.

The grant will support two workshops that will result in guidelines that can be widely used by libraries, museums, and individual scholars who engage in online research, teaching, and preservation of cultural objects. The international work group is made up of musicologists, specializing in notational styles from medieval to twenty-first century music, and technologists, with skills in music representation, schema design, optical music recognition, and software development.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) is the central, self-governing research funding organization that promotes research at universities and other publicly financed research institutions in Germany. The DFG serves all branches of science and the humanities by funding research projects and facilitating cooperation among researchers.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.

Any views, finding, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

The expected completion date of the project is July 31st, 2010.

About the U.Va. Library
With 13 physical locations as well as the original Rotunda, the U.Va. Library contains more than five million books, 17 million manuscripts, rare books and archives, and rapidly-growing digital collections. The Library is a leader in developing collections, tools, and collaborations that foster scholarship at the University and worldwide. It is known in particular for its strength in American history and literature, as well as its innovation in digital technologies.

About the University of Paderborn
The University of Paderborn has a special focus on Computer Science, exemplified by its Heinz-Nixdorf Institute. Together with the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, the University conducts the Seminar for Musicology where, in 2004 and in cooperation with the Carl Maria von Weber Complete-Edition project, preliminary work was performed regarding digital critical editions of music. Its "Edirom" project (also DFG funded) has been developing platform-independent solutions for musical editions since 2006.

Erin Mayhood
Head, Music Library
Old Cabell Hall
University of Virginia
PO Box 400175
Charlottesville, VA  22904-4175

elm8s at virginia.edu
(434) 924-7017 (w)

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