Identifying Challenges and Barriers in Collecting, Documenting and Digitizing Palm Leaf Manuscripts in Eastern Sri Lanka

  • Gayathiri Navirathan Senior Assistant Librarian, Eastern University, Sri Lanka
  • Oshanithi Sivarasa Research Assistant, Eastern University, Sri Lanka
Keywords: Digitization, Palm leaf manuscripts, Indigenous knowledge, Documentary heritage, Cultural heritage, Preservation, Conservation, Endangered documents


The palm leaf manuscripts are the sources of the cultural heritage of our ancestors. It is a very crucial part of the librarians or archivists or curators to conserve and preserve them from passing the information and knowledge to successive generations. Palm leaf manuscripts indicate previous documentary heritage and conservation, preservation and made them available shortly is a challenging and demanding task at present. Sri Lanka has a rich history of documentary heritage comprised of valuable palm-leaf collections. In eastern Sri Lanka, the palm leaf manuscripts are spread everywhere as personal holdings.

There are many countries all over the world that put much effort into preserving them for the future. One of the potent methods of preserving those endangered documents like manuscripts is digitization. At this point, there is an urgent need to find the suitability of preserving those palm leaf manuscripts in the facets of digitization techniques.

As the palm leaf manuscripts are shown as endangered through ages while tackling them to collecting and documenting them, several challenges were faced. Therefore identifying the solutions to overcome those challenges and barriers is important to further the documentation and digitization process of palm leaf manuscripts. The study aims to find the challenges and barriers in collecting, documenting and digitizing those palm leaf collections in eastern Sri Lanka.

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