REAMSEA is a program to preserve Southeast Asian manuscripts and their contents and aims to disclose the immense cultural treasures to the world. Supported by the Arcadia Foundation in the United Kingdom, the program is run by the Center for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM) of the Syarif Hidayatulah State Islamic University in Jakarta and the Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC) of the University of Hamburg.
DREAMSEA preserves endangered manuscripts owned and kept by individuals who live in Southeast Asia. Manuscripts collected by institutions fall beyond the scope of the program. It is important to highlight that many manuscripts are in unfavourable conditions and their future existence is threatened. Because many manuscripts are or will be damaged, their contents may disappear for ever.
The fact that large parts of Southeast Asia are humid and prone to natural disasters means that the existence of individually-owned manuscripts is threatened. In addition, volatile conflict situations also endanger the continued preservation of the manuscripts in the area. Therefore, it is very important that the manuscripts and their contents are preserved as soon as possible.
DREAMSEA assists Southeast Asian society to preserve manuscript collections by digitising them. The program digitises manuscript collections by going directly into the field and by photographing the manuscripts on the spot where owners keep and preserve their collections.
Since December 2017, DREAMSEA has digitised 129,478 pages from 2,170 manuscripts of 56 collections in Southeast Asia. The images have a high resolution and put online in cooperation with the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library in Minnesota, USA. The digital versions have also been distributed to the manuscript owners as a token of our high appreciation for their willingness to be part of this unique program.
The program does not only offer high resolution images of the manuscripts, but also offers detailed metadata. The metadata of each manuscript are made in cooperation between the DREAMSEA staff and a large number of experts to ensure their reliability and comprehensiveness.