China digitises historical Mongolian books

China digitises historical Mongolian books
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Chinese researchers have launched several digital archive projects to preserve a number of rare historical Mongolian books and to make them accessible to common readers, a media report said on Sunday. 

Beijing: Chinese researchers have launched several digital archive projects to preserve a number of rare historical Mongolian books and to make them accessible to common readers, a media report said on Sunday.

Engraved on wood, a rare Mongolian version of the Tibetan Buddhist classic "Kangyur" has been scanned and photographed to make a digital copy, according to Qi Jinyu, deputy head of the Mongolian language and literature working group. Published in 1720, the woodcut copy has 109 volumes and 50 million words. Its electronic edition is now available online.

China is home to more than 200,000 volumes of Mongolian books and documents, but many of them are in danger of discolouration and mildew. Mongolian books often remain shelved, with common readers or scholars not having access to them.

"The most important method to give access is to digitise and publish ancient books. Recently, the digitisation project has brought new life to many ancient Mongolian books." said Soyolt, an official specialising in ethnic Mongolian documents.

Over the past three years, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has digitised and published 120 Mongolian classics, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. In northwest China's Gansu Province, the Northwest University for Nationalities has established a database and collected over 10,000 Mongolian folk tales.

Researchers in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have collected and compiled 384 books in Todo bichig, a writing system used by Mongolian tribes in the Qing Dynasty (1644- 1911). It is the only compilation of Todo bichig materials in China. About 6.5 million ethnic Mongolians live in eight Chinese provinces and regions, including Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Gansu, Xinjiang and Qinghai.

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