The public are perhaps aware of the fact that the Government of Madras have launched upon a scheme of publication of rare manuscripts treasured in two premier institutions of this State, namely, the Madras Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Madras, and the Tanjore Maharaja Serfoji's Sarasvathi Mahal Library, Tanjore. Financial help has also been extended to Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Iyer's Library, Adyar, Madras, for similar purpose. Though the publication of rare manuscripts was started as early as 1909 by this library, only 12 works were taken up for publication till 1942. Of these, the printing of three works has not yet been completed.
Only in the year 1949 - 50 a regular scheme for the publication of manuscripts was prepared and accepted by the Government of Madras under the MADRAS GOVERNMENT ORIENTAL SERIES. This scheme included the manuscripts in all the South Indian Languages in which there are manuscripts in the Library. The selection of manuscripts was done by an Expert Committee appointed by the Government specially for this purpose. Till now 157, manuscripts in , Adyar, are in the press.
While all the manuscripts under the Madras Government Oriental Series were edited by various scholars drawn from different learned institutions, the publication of manuscripts under the Madras Government Oriental Manuscripts Series was resumed in the year 1950-51. All the manuscripts published under this series before 1942 were in Sanskrit. But since 1950-51 the manuscripts in other languages also were included. These are edited by the Curator with the assistance of the pandits in respective languages.Till now 60 works have been printed including the total number of 51 since 1951.
Since 1958-59, however, no fresh manuscripts were taken up for publication in both the series. There were several proposals for the printing of manuscripts. Of these, the Government of Madras have sanctioned the publication of the following seven Tamil manuscripts in G.O. No. 81859-E6/59-15, Education, dated 5th January 1960.