The Nepalese-German Manuscript Cataloguing Project (NGMCP) is the successor of the well-known and widely acknowledged Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project (NGMPP) which thirty-one years after its inception in 1970 was brought to an end in March 2001. This new project was launched in April 2002 with the approval of His Majesty’s Government of Nepal and the University of Hamburg. After an examination by the Nepalese cabinet an Agreement of Cooperation between the National Archives of His Majesty’s Government of Nepal and the Asien-Afrika-Institut, Abteilung für Kultur und Geschichte Indiens und Tibets concerning the Nepalese-German Manuscript Cataloguing Project was signed in Kathmandu on 16th August 2002. The NGMCP is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).
The idea that a descriptive catalogue of all the manuscripts microfilmed under the NGMPP from 1970 until 2001 should be prepared came already at the time of the NGMPP. It was soon realized, however, that the microfilming of the manuscripts and simultaneous time-consuming accurate cataloguing of the enormous material collected would be an impossible task within the limited time and money allotted to the NGMPP. For this reason only index cards with basic information about the manuscripts were prepared in the process of microfilming.
In order to secure immediate access to the information about the microfilmed manuscripts and enable the ordering of the microfilms containing them, a special team in Hamburg undertook in October 1987, still within the NGMPP, the digitalisation of the index cards with the most important information for retrieval. A title list of the texts belonging to the Indological section was begun with and it was successfully completed in 2002.
This first preliminary list prepared under the NGMPP forms the basis of the new project. The NGMCP aims first and foremost to prepare a detailed and comprehensive descriptive catalogue of the Nepalese manuscripts microfilmed under the NGMPP. After thirty-one years of microfilming, the estimated 80–85 per cent of the manuscripts still extant in Nepal, the time has eventually come to carefully evaluate and duly catalogue the vast amount of the material collected.
Due to the fact that the collection contains an enormous number of items, it was deemed appropriate for the time being to focus only on manuscripts written in Sanskrit, Newari, Nepali and other Indian languages, excluding the Tibetan material and the historical documents. Nonetheless, even this limitation still leaves us with more than 114,500 items to be catalogued.