IMLS Funds SE Asia Digital Collection

FOR RELEASE: 13 November, 2002 Ithaca, NY -- Cornell University Library has received a grant of $281,449 from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for a two-year project to digitize early Western travel narratives from the library’s John M. Echols Collection on Southeast Asia.

Directed by Allen J. Riedy, curator of Cornell Library’s renowned Echols Collection, the "Images of Southeast Asia" project represents the first large-scale initiative worldwide to create a digital collection of Southeast Asian library material. The resulting digital collection will comprise a significant representation of English language first-person accounts of life in Southeast Asia before 1927.

In collaboration with the library’s divisions of Digital Library and Information Technologies and of Rare and Manuscript Collections, the full contents of 400 monographs and 150 periodical articles from the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society and Le Tour du Monde will be scanned and made available in a full-text database. The resulting digital collection will include some 140,000 pages of text and 10,000 illustrations taken from early Western travel narratives.

With holdings totaling more than 370,000 titles, the John M. Echols Collection is the largest collection on Southeast Asia in the United States. More than half of the collection comprises volumes in the vernacular languages of the region—Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Malaysian, Khmer, Laotian, and the languages of the Philippines. The collection’s Dutch, French, and Spanish holdings are uniquely strong and date back to early colonial periods of the region.

For more information about the Images of Southeast Asia project, contact The Echols Collection at 607-255-8889.