As part of the Centre’s mandate to utilize digital technology for the systematic storage and retrieval of information, since 2000, the Centre has been developing a series of searchable, online databases. The first database to be established, the Inscriptions in Thailand database, provides a digital record of existing epigraphs primarily comprised of rubbings of inscriptions on mulberry paper. Since its initial launch in 1998, the database has been enhanced and expanded. Another valuable database, the Ethnic Groups in Thailand database, has helped to clarify of some of the existing misunderstandings on ethnonyms and ethnic classification. This work on ethnic identity has also led to policy changes at the national level, including the recent Cabinet resolution to safeguard the livelihoods of the Karen and Chao Lay people. This dynamic, continual process of database development and application exemplifies the Center’s commitment to providing relevant digital resources that can be altered and adapted according to user needs and technological advances.
When considering “user needs” and database “target groups,” the importance of recognizing the roles and wishes of source communities cannot be understated. In keeping with the participatory methods that link many SAC projects, we now hope to collaborate more closely with source communities in the design and implementation of digital resources, with a specific focus on access policies.