In the spring of 2008, Columbia University Libraries placed a digital library of 97 issues of the Tibet Mirror (Tib. Yul phyogs so so'i gsar 'gyur me long) online for scholarly research and study. Since then, Columbia University spearheaded an international cooperative project with the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, the Collège de France, and the Musée Guimet to more than double the size of the original collection. Additionally, in the three years since its inception, the Tibet Mirror has become one of the most frequently accessed e-resources at Columbia University.
The Tibet Mirror, published from 1925 to 1963 in Kalimpong, India, chronicles the dramatic social and political transformation occurring in Tibet during a time when vernacular writing was relatively scarce and a Tibetan media practically non-existent. Yale, Collège de France, and the Musée Guimet, participated in the project by lending Columbia University rare issues of the newspaper, as well as collaborating with the Preservation and Digital Conversion Division to scan 100 additional issues. Their contributions increased the online availability of the newspaper from 30 percent to more than 70 percent of the paper’s full run, resulting in a total of 224 issues.
The original set of newspapers and the digital library form the cornerstone of the Tharchin Collection which also contains documents, correspondence, photos and publications from the editorial offices of the Tibet Mirror Press. Columbia University Libraries are grateful to the Tharchin Family for their contribution to this important archival collection, and for granting permission to make the digital library available online for free and open access.
“Columbia University Libraries wish to extend its sincere gratitude and appreciation to Yale University, Collège de France, and the Musée Guimet for their support in expanding this digital collection,” Jim Cheng, Director of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library said. “This online resource is an important contribution to the field of Tibetan Studies and illustrates the potential fruits of such collaborative projects."
For more information about the Tibet Mirror project, please contact Dr. Lauran Hartley, Tibetan Studies Librarian at the C.V. Starr East Asian Library.
The C.V. Starr East Asian Library is one of the major collections for the study of East Asia in the United States, with over 900,000 volumes of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Western language materials, as well as some holdings in Mongol and Manchu, and over 7,280 periodical titles. The collection, established in 1902, is particularly strong in Chinese history, literature, and social sciences; Japanese literature, history, and religion, particularly Buddhism; and Korean history. For more information, please visit: https://library.columbia.edu/locations/eastasian.html
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 500 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.