February 19, 2009

Searching the David K. Wyatt Collection

New Mandala has a post about Ohio University's new database for the David K. Wyatt Southeast Asia Collection, a 15,000-volume library of books they purchased in 2005 from the estimable historian, who passed away in November 2006. (This gives me a life goal, by the way -- my current Thai library is maybe 500 books. Clearly I need to step up my game!)

Only about 10% of the Wyatt Collection has been cataloged so far, but it makes for very interesting browsing. The site is a pretty typical OPAC, so no compliments from me there.

The database is useful because it includes both Thai and English cataloging data. Usually you'll only get Thai in Thailand and only phonetic in the U.S. The entries also include many helpful explanatory notes that give context to the books.

Two other useful features of this database: bilingual subject headings and phonetic Thai lookup. For the phonetic, you may need to familiarize yourself with the Library of Congress Thai romanization scheme, but fortunately the diacritics aren't necessary. For example, อักษร is romanized as aksō̜n (with macron + cedilla), but searching akson works just fine.

As it turns out, Dr. Wyatt had a better collection than some actual Thai libraries! I've already found a few interesting titles that I need to track down in local libraries now.

I'm going to keep an eye on this resource, as more of the Wyatt Collection gets cataloged.

[Hat tip to Catherine]

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