Programs and Projects

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The Programs of Noolaham Foundation cover the four objectives of the Foundation.

Research and Documentation

Noolaham Foundation aims to document a wide range of subjects through innovative documentation initiatives and research based approaches. Subjects include religious and cultural memories, traditional architecture and design, traditional science and technologies, law and social orders, home and life style, arts and cultural activities, ethno medicines, social structure and genealogy and kinship, archeology and history, linguistics and literature, ethnography and race relations, villages and communities, organization and institutions, landscape, environment and biodiversity. (Visit Roadmap 2020 page for the comprehensive list) The main goal and impact of this work is to secure and preserve knowledge for future generations, to ensure the preservation of documents and to enhance access to these documents for worldwide Tamil communities through participatory contribution and collective actions.

We are yet to launch any Programs under the "Research and Documentation" Department.

Preservation and Digital Archiving

The second objective of the Foundation is to engage in and support preservation and digital archiving of written, print, multi-media and electronic resources related to Sri Lankan Tamil speaking communities. This section targets archiving of printed materials such as publications, manuscripts, multimedia, and digital resources. There is a huge volume of diverse printed materials to be archived including monographs (books), periodicals, newspapers, booklets, reports, souvenirs, felicitations, mementoes, posters, leaflets, invitations, factsheets, dissertations, abstracts, olaisuvadi (ola manuscripts), diaries, letters and other hand written materials, audio, video, photo and images, maps, drawings, web sites and electronic resources. Through digitization of printed materials, strong local partnerships will be ensured for sustainability, which will strengthen local stakeholders within the community. This intervention includes the transfer of technical know-how and the strengthening of communities in planning, management and monitoring with the consideration of dynamics and trends of social changes. The visual aids will provide an interface for quick and effective input to marginalized and vulnerable communities. It will support the day-to-day knowledge seekers to draft new documents such as factsheets, leaflets and other documents based on available references. It will provide a good base for information gathering for entrepreneurs and social researchers to quickly access results of new discoveries and findings through easily accessible user-friendly interfaces.

Digital Archive of Print Publications

The Digital Archive of Print Publications Program digitizes and preserves all print documents which are related to Sri Lankan Tamil communities. These documents include Books, Magazines, Journals, Newspapers, Newsletters, Booklets, Reports, Souvenirs and Felicitations, Annual Publications, Posters, Flyers and Leaflets, Fact sheets, Invitations, Memorial Publications, Dissertations, Ephemera, Trade and Advertising Publications, and Guides and handbooks. By September 2014, Noolaham Foundation has archived over 14,000 publications.

Digital Archive of Manuscripts

In Sri Lanka, there exists a vast number of medieval and late modern Tamil palm-leaf manuscripts held by individuals and organizations. These palm-leaf manuscripts cover a variety of subjects including traditional medicine, law, history, technology and religion. Majority of these works have not been published in print. In addition, there exists an array of contemporary handwritten manuscripts such as notebooks, letters and diaries. Noolaham Foundation’s Manuscripts Archive Program identifies, catalogs, digitizes and makes these works accessible to the wider scholarly community and the public. Palm-leaf manuscripts need special handling and equipment to be digitized. To date, Noolaham Foundation has completed manuscript archiving projects with Chunnakam and Jaffna Public Libraries.

See Manuscripts Archive page for more details of this program.

Multimedia Archives

The purpose of the Multimedia Archive is to collect and archive Images, Videos, Audios and electronic media. This project is in its initial stage. Photos Archive is a pilot project currently being developed. It is expected to be online in 2015.

Knowledge and Information Services

This intervention focuses on digital library, collection and development of materials, reference services, research supports, and virtual learning environment and facilities. This objective aims at providing a supportive environment for researchers and social contributors. The established virtual interface will be a fact-finding source of Sri Lankan Tamil documents, and will be an entry-point for interactions between intellectuals.

Digital Library

Noolaham Foundation Digital Library ( is the largest Tamil digital library on the Internet. It contains more than 13,500 resources about various aspects of Tamil speaking communities in Sri Lanka. This digital library functions as a learning centre incorporating local knowledge and provides information services contributing towards knowledge-based development in Sri Lanka. It serves students, researchers, historians, activists and the public.

Please visit to use this digital library.

Collection Development

This program focuses on creating critical mass of collections so that they can be used by students, researchers and general public to fulfill their information needs effectively.

Noolaham Foundation provides digitization and archiving services for schools, non-profits, and cultural organizations with the aim to build open access and inter-operable repositories. We help institutions preserve and share their knowledge bases and memory for the long term. The following institutional repositories projects have been completed to date: Women’s Education and Research Centre, International Center for Ethnic Studies Digitization, Colombo Royal College (a DVD was released), Jaffna Hindu College (a DVD was released) and Jaffna Vembadi Girls' High School (a DVD was released).

Noolaham Foundation recognizes additional challenges faced by some of our communities in preserving unique and rare resources relating to these communities. Noolaham’s Special Collections projects aim to provide focus and dedicated resources to support research, documentation, digitization and archiving of materials relating to these communities. Muslim Archive and Malaiyaham Archive are such collections being developed. In addition, Noolaham Foundation has implemented projects to archive complete sets of periodicals including Alai, Tamil Times, Gnanam, Sarinihar, Thinamurasu and Puthiya Poomi.

Reference Resources

Noolaham Foundation collects information and create in depth resources about People, Places and Organizations and makes them accessible to all. So far information about more than 600 People and around 3000 organizations have been collected. This program will be the backbone of the information architecture needed for all other programs and will become a useful reference tool. There are plans to collect context and community specific open data sets such as information about works, biodiversity, micro-climate, economic data and social indicators as well.

Pallikoodam - Virtual Learning Environments

Combining formal education with alternative forms of education, Pallikoodam aims to create Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) that support and empower students at the grassroots levels within the Tamil speaking communities in Sri Lanka. It promotes education as an avenue to strengthen the democratic foundations of society. The first phase of the project, which has been successfully launched (, brings together text based educational resources using the Moodle platform.

See Virtual Learning Environments page for more details of this program.

Building Capacities and Communities of Practice

Noolaham Foundation aims to develop advanced expertise and communities of practice in archival science, library and information sciences, digital libraries, community knowledge management, documentary linguistics and related fields. We aim to user and develop preservation technologies, applications, tools, standards and services in the above noted fields.

Focus on building social and human capital, building processes, technologies and standards of archival, library information sciences through communication, networking and collaboration that includes lectures, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, conferences, publications of book, newsletters, leaflets, journals, posters, magazines, researches, Research Support & Fellowships, meetings, forum, and also to provide space for information commons. This section will provide room for interaction among Tamil speaking communities through the convening of various events and programs to transfer knowledge and skills. It will stretch out and expand the collaborated and coordinated effort through interactive discussions and programs. Community rooted technologies, traditions, practices and other crucial features will be brought out and it will pave a way to identify good ethics and practices that suit the present context and requirements.

A central aspect of the Noolaham Foundation’s strategy is the formulation of activities through projects based on community needs and priorities to address the needs of the whole community to foster social stability, cohesion and reciprocation. The Noolaham Foundation works closely with volunteers and contributors in planning project proposals. During the implementation stage, the Noolaham Foundation considers local groups / circles or social institutions such reader circle and CBOs to implement and monitor the activities according to Noolaham Foundation regulations.

Conferences and Symposiums

Conferences and Symposiums are organized to encourage sharing of information and best practices across disciplines such as information and library science, archival science, museology, history, archaeology, anthropology, cultural studies, and linguistics.

The first project of this program Tamil Documentation Conference 2013 was held in April 2013.

Noolaham Events

Noolaham Events program focus on building volunteer communities and educating wider public on various issues including Information Literacy, Digital Library usage and digital preservation. Lectures, seminars, workshops and exhibitions will be conducted through this program. Since 2010, this program is being implemented.


Noolaham Foundation publishes books, newsletters, magazine and journal. This program is a part of the outreach strategy of the Foundation and contributes towards awareness raising and documentation as well. We reprint important, rare, out of print books as well. The first issue of Suvadu Journal will be released in January 2015.

See Publications page for more details of this program and to access some of our publications.

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