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Tracing Han - Nom documents

TTH.VN - The collection and digitization of Han-Nom (Sino-Demotic characters) documentary heritage has been carried out for many years in many clans, private residences, villages and communes throughout the province. This quiet work is still being pursued by staff of the Provincial General Library, in the hope of preserving the ancient documents passed down by our ancestors.

Preserving and promoting the value of Sino - Demotic Characters heritageDigitalizing precious Han – Nom (Sino-Vietnamese characters) documents in Quang Phu commune, Quang Dien district

Currently, more than 412,000 pages of Han-Nom documents having been collected and digitized in 201 villages. Photo: TVTH

Thousands of Han-Nom documentary heritages, which are considered precious documents in the journey to preserve historical and cultural heritage values in danger of being damaged and lost, have been digitized by the Provincial General Library in 2022.

In the last days of September, and early October, 2022, the delegation of the Provincial General Library, together with experts, continued to visit the clans and private residences in the two communes of Phu Xuan and Phu Gia (Phu Vang district) to embark on the work of collecting and digitizing the Han - Nom documentary heritage.

In these places, the delegation of librarians and a number of experts have coordinated with local authorities to open ordained chests storing Han-Nom documents of 66 clans (14 villages) for digitization. The number of digitized documents is estimated at more than 12,000 pages.

According to Ms. Hoang Thi Kim Oanh, Director of the Provincial General Library, more than 412,000 pages of Han-Nom documents have been collected and digitized in 201 villages, including 989 clans and 18 palaces across the country, up to now. Among which, there are many valuable documents such as: ordination, emperor’s rules, emperor’s decree, emperor’s command, genealogy, cadaster, regidter, diploma, administrative documents, literature, history, medicine books, village convention, oration, etc.

Particularly in the past 2 years, despite complicated weather conditions and the pandemic, the Provincial General Library has organized the digitization of Han - Nom documents in the area.

Specifically, about 200,000 pages have been digitized (reaching about 50% of the number of pages of documents collected and digitized in the past 12 years). Digitization has been organized by the clans according to traditional rituals such as: sacrifice ritual, processions, opening the ordained chests, etc., not to mention a large number of documents kept in many places in the province being damaged by harsh weather, poor storage conditions as well as getting lost.

All have been classified, translated, and published in the form of digital documents by the library, in coordination with other units, for centralized storage in its archive system. In addition, the library has also developed specialized management software, advertising information page as well as printing activities of ordination sets with large format for display and exhibition, and select some precious documents to publish in the form of books and publications to introduce to readers.

“After classifying, translating and completing the digitized version to store documents in the form of digital documents, the unit publishes copies on electronic devices and organizes handing over digital documents to localities. In case localities have proposals to serve important local activities, the library will consider and coordinate to provide support for serving the promotion of the values of such documents,” said Ms. Oanh.

From that process of collection and digitization, the Provincial General Library has cooperated with many other libraries and research centers, as well as published many books related to Han – Nom, for conservation and research. Besides collecting and digitizing, recently, the library has also cooperated with specialized units to train preservation practices at source for owners of Han - Nom documents in districts and towns.

Ms. Oanh added that, at the end of 2022 and in the future, the Provincial General Library would continue to collect and digitize Han - Nom documents in the areas of Hue City, and to restore ordination, emperor’s rules and emperor’s decree in Phu Loc and Phu Vang districts.

Not stopping there, the library will continue to propagate and improve the conservation of Han - Nom heritage for the clans, villages and communes in particular, as well as the People in general and especially the youth and young generation - an important part of the national cultural heritage in the area.

In order for the values of Han-Nom heritage documents in the area to be truly promoted, the Provincial General Library is making efforts to promote the application of information technology and digital transformation in library activities. However, according to the Provincial General Library, the process of implementing this practice is more or less difficult.

For example, in the process of fielding, collecting and digitizing Han-Nom documents in the localities, the library encountered certain difficulties in terms of agreement in the use and promotion of the sources of documents of the clans and private residence.

In addition, the implementation of using digital documents after being collected and digitized on the network, for digital documents in general, as well as digital Han - Nom documents in particular, encountered some problematic policies, particularly with respect to the use of copyright, proprietary and related rights.

Therefore, the library believes that relevant functional sectors need to continue researching to propose appropriate regulations and policies to access and exploit Han - Nom documents in the new period.

The Provincial General Library also suggests that there should be attention, coordination, connection and sharing of document sources, as well as the protection and promotion of the value of Han-Nom documents at agencies, organizations and institutions, clans and private residences. By doing so, the process of collecting, digitizing and promoting the value of new documents will get easier and more convenient.


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