The DREAMSEA program has started to digitize manuscripts from Solok Regency in West Sumatra. The mission started on 14 July and will continue until 12 August 2020. The mission is under the leadership of Pramono, a philologist from Andalas University in Padang, West Sumatra. A number of experts from Manassa and from the State Islamic University Imam Bonjol and the State Institute for Islamic Studies Batusangkar have been added to the field team.
This is the 19th mission and the first to be executed during the Covid-19 pandemic. While he was supervising the field, DREAMSEA data manager, M. Nida Fadlan stressed the importance to protect the team members against the risk of Covid-19 infection during their presence in the field.
Nida also explained the new technique in the digitization and data management in the field in order to produce manuscripts images and metadata that accord to the DREAMSEA standards. The images will be made available to the public and can be accessed in DREAMSEA’s digital repository free of charge.
Minangkabau Islamic Manuscripts
Pramono said that the Islamic manuscripts from the Islamic Schools (Surau) in three cities in West Sumatra are in general 200 years old. He estimates that the number of manuscripts is more than 100 which is more than the outcome of our initial mapping which produced the presence of 94 manuscripts.
“This is an important finding for our understanding of the manuscript treasury in West Sumatra. Most manuscripts are in a bad condition and need special treatment and it is thus important to salvage their contents by digitizing them,” said Manasa General Secretary, Pramono.
The DREAMSEA program to preserve manuscripts in Southeast Asia is executed by the Center for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM) of the State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah Jakarta and the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC), Hamburg University. The program is supported by a grant from the Arcadia Foundation, a funding agency established by Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin in England of which the main mission is to preserve cultural heritage and the environment, and to promote open access to the entire world.