National Literary Survey

In order to discover Bhutan's rich literary treasures and preserve important and rare documents for the nation, the Research Division along with the IT Division is carrying out a survey of rare texts and documents throughout the country under a Danida funded project. The survey includes the digitization and registration of rare texts and their location the details of which are entered into a database for future reference. Where particlarly rare or important manuscript or xylograph texts are discovered, their contents are catalouged and many are either digitised on location by members of our survey team, or they may be brought back to the National Library for microfilming.

There are more than two thousand temples, monasteries and private collections throughout Bhutan - many in remote and difficult to reach places. Up till the end of 2007 the survey team managed to survey the temples and monasteries in the Thimphu, Bumthang, Paro, Ha, Samtse, Chukha, Dagana, and Wangdue Dzongkhags. Often this involved walking for days in order to reach inaccessible places. Work has already begun on surveying collections in the Gasa, Tashigang, and Punakha Dzongkhags.

In the locations surveyed so far, we have been able to catalouge a total of over 4,000 rare titles; and to microfilm or digitize many particularly important works.

The results of the survey in seven dzongkhags have been published in the form of of a book.

In order to complete this important task, over the next three years our team will visit the temples, monasteries and collections in the districts of Bhutan which have so far not been surveyed.

The main objective of this documentation survey is to register the titles, ownership and physical locations of rare manuscripts and documents, along with an outline of their contents, in the records of the National Library and to digitize unique or particularly rare texts. These records will be included in a comprehensive National Bibligraphic Catalogue which the National Library hopes to publish in the near future.