Digital Himalaya is a pilot project to develop digital collection, archiving and distribution strategies for multimedia anthropological information from the Himalayan region. Based at Cornell and Cambridge universities, the project began in December 2000. The initial phase involves digitizing a set of existing ethnographic archives comprised of photographs, films, sound recordings, fieldnotes and texts collected by anthropologists and travellers in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and the Indian Himalayas from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. One of the primary archives consists of 100 hours of 16mm ethnographic film shot by Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf, Professor of Asian Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and a grandfather of Himalayan anthropology. Another collection held in the Open Video Project is that of Frederick Williamson, a British Political Officer stationed in Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet in the 1930s.
The project has three long-term objectives: (a) to preserve in a digital medium valuable ethnographic materials that are degenerating in their current forms; (b) to make these resources available in a searchable digital format to scholars and the Himalayan communities from which the materials were collected; and (c) to develop a template for collaborative digital cataloguing that will allow users to contribute documentation to existing collections and eventually link their own collections to the system, creating a dynamic tool for comparative research.
View the 34 videos in this collection »