After many years of preparation, the "Gundert Portal" digitisation project was launched in January 2016. Since then, with the support of the DFG (German Research Foundation), printed and handwritten source material from the estate of Hermann Gundert and his immediate surroundings has been scanned, partially transcribed in cooperation with Indian partners and made publicly accessible.
The Hermann Gundert estate at Tübingen university library contains printed and lithographed books and pamphlets in Malayalam, Kannada, Tulu, Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit and other languages, Indian manuscripts including several palm-leaf manuscripts, copies of texts and notebooks in various languages by Hermann Gundert and his missionary colleagues.
On this portal we have included all 19th century works in South Indian languages that are in the holdings of the University Library, even if they were not strictly speaking from the Gundert legacy. English and German material written by Gundert and his closest colleagues was also added.
Official release of the Hermann Gundert Portal on 20.11.2018
The Historical Reading Room of the Tübingen University Library was well filled on the afternoon of 20th November, with almost all seats occupied. The audience included relatives of the family of Hermann Gundert, members of the Hermann Gundert Society, members of the University Library, students of Indology, people interested in India and some representatives from South India.
The welcome speeches of Marianne Dörr (Leading Director of Library), Jürgen Leonhard (Dean of the Faculty of Humanities) and Albrecht Frenz (Founder of the Hermann-Gundert-Gesellschaft) were followed by a series of lectures, in which different aspects of the Hermann-Gundert-Project were highlighted: Gabriele Zeller gave a live tour through the portal and presented examples of the digitized material. Afterwards Heike Oberlin's contribution explored the origins of the project as well as its relevance for the subject Indology. In her lecture she also included some words from Shiju Alex, the South Indian cooperation partner, who unfortunately could not be present in person. The official part concluded with an enthusiastic plea by Prof. Shreenathan (Malayalam University, Tirur / Kerala), in which he emphasized both Hermann Gundert's important role for South India and the significance of the digitisation project.
A small exhibition of some manuscripts from the Gundert estate rounded off the program.
The following reception was accompanied by many discussions, which reviewed the project time or gave rise to further ideas. At the end of the evening there was a certain satisfaction about the successful event, which marked an end point and the beginning of something new at the same time with the completion of the project and the opening of the portal.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the project in the University Library as well as all contributors in Germany and abroad for their patient cooperation.
Pictures of the event
Since its release, the Hermann Gundert Portal has enjoyed great popularity. During the first two months more than 2.200 views of the website have been recorded. Many users can be located in India. There the project found also resonance in the regional and supraregional press and particularly in the social media.
Some press reviews
13.11.2018 Times of India Blog 13.11.2018 Times of India / Chennai 15.11.2018 Times of India / Kochi 19.11.2018 Mathrubhumi 20.11.2018 SWR aktuell 21.11.2018 Deepika 21.11.2018 Church of South India News 21.11.2018 Pravasi Online 22.11.2018 Manroama Online 22.11.2018 Malayala Manorama 2018/19 Meine Welt
At the beginning of the project:05.07.2016 The Hindu / Kochi 11.10.2016 Horst Hilger for the Blog of Zentralkatalog BaWü) 19.10.2016 Posting of Ophira Gamliel as an example for future use of the Gundert Portal in research