Many librarians in Asia will remember Gene Smith who died in 2010. He worked for the Library of Congress in New Delhi and Jakarta from 1968 to the 1990s. A Buddhist scholar and speaker of more than 25 languages, he amassed the largest collection of Tibetan religious texts in private hands. Rare and vulnerable, Gene backed up the collection with digitized copies and shipped the entire print collection to the University for Minorities in Chengdu, southwest China.
“The books are displayed horizontally behind glass doors, giving the reading rooms the feel of a museum. The texts are a treasure-trove for scholars seeking to trace the evolution of dharma, the teachings of the Buddha, from the origins of Buddhism in India in the fifth century B.C. to its flowering in Tibet, China and Mongolia.”
The story of Gene Smith’s collection is the subject of an article in the New York Times by Andrew Jacobs, 15 February 2014.
A trailer for a documentary about Gene Smith and his work, Digital Dharma, is here.