Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation
Minutes of the Meeting
DRAFT Minutes - CONSALD meeting/AAS
Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 1-5 P.M.
Sheraton Chicago Hotel, Parlour G

Attending || SACAP Profile: Islamabad and Delhi || Introductions and News || Minutes || AFAOVOP || E-Books || Demonstration of South Asia on the Web || Digital Reference || Media and Culture Archive || Urdu Research Library Centre salvage || CRL || DSAL || Islamabad Office || Delhi Office: Serials Check-in system, Collection Level Record (CLR) database, Rejected titles, Maps and Geography || LC-Asian Division


The Spring meeting of CONSALD took place in the Sheraton Chicago on March 22, 2001.

Attending:, Jim Armstrong (LC), Lygia Ballantyne (LC), Usha Bhasker (NYPL), Bronwen Bledsoe (Chicago), Tim Bryson (Emory), Merry Burlingham (Texas), James Gentner (LC), Monica Ghosh (Hawaii), Catherine Lee (UCLA), Raymond Lum (Harvard), David Magier (Columbia), Avinash Maheshwary (Duke), Judy McDermott (LC), Philip McEldowney (U.Va.), Susan Meinheit (LC), Rebecca Moore (CRL), Jim Nye (Chicago), Susan Rabe (CRL), Mary Rader (Michigan), Marie Sexton (National Library of Australia), James Simon (CRL), Andrea Singer (Indiana), Mel Thatcher (Genealogical Soc. of Utah), Allen Thrasher (LC), and Lena Yang (IASWR)

The meeting began with a discussion of SACAP profiles by the field directors.

     Jim Armstrong said the dollar figures were based on the previous year with an estimation of the increases. They can change in midyear.
     He is still willing to entertain a proposal to separate Islam from Religion and Philosophy and to divide General Literature from Literature in Pakistan.
     Merry suggested remodeling the Pakistan profile on the model of the Delhi one, to have a more general Social Sciences category into which to put things which every library should have, or alternatively to have two levels of Social Sciences.
     Avinash complained of gaps in coverage. Jim said one should notify him of them at once.
     The problem was mentioned that Oxford University Press titles sometimes are available earlier in the US than through the program.

     Lygia also explained the estimates, forms, and billing for the profile. She reminded everyone that if you mark the most comprehensive level of a profile you don't have to also mark the lower levels of acquisition.
     It is hard to estimate costs of the first year of serial subscriptions because there is no cushion for serials; the estimates are OK afterwards because they are based on actual costs.
     One should send changes in the profile by fax both to the FO and to James Gentner in Washington.
     The cost of GAC subscriptions is added to that of general subscriptions.
An Excel spreadsheet form will be sent as part of billing. Tim Bryson said he found it useful because one could create links with it.
     GACs and some other things are omitted on the webpage. There are new pages about what everyone gets in Language and Literature.

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     Next there were introductions, followed by announcements. Krishan Khera and Lynette Wagemann are retiring. Jim Nye is giving a dinner in their honor this evening. We are giving a book in their honor to each of their libraries.

     The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

     Judy McDermott reported that CORMOSEA was drafting a letter of complaint about the slowness of LC's Photoduplication sending microform subscriptions. She explained the Photoduplication is radically restructuring and downsizing. There is no news on how this is supposed to affect subscribers. Judy will find out so that a better informed letter of complaint can be drafted.

     Katha was unaware that its publications were available on the web. David M. said he has put on SARAI a list of all relevant e-books with a unique identifier. Please draw David's attention to others you may find. NetLibrary has an increasing number of South Asia titles. Stanford, Hawaii, Chicago, and SUNY all have some. Texas did a review of e-books reviewed and was surprised how many area studies titles there were. Allen discussed the use of CORC to catalog them, in connection with LC's Area Studies online country portals. Jim Nye suggested that CONSALD should ask those publishers such as Princeton who have not put books on the web to do more with South Asia titles. Merry said that Texas's press has been reluctant to give the rights to do this. New faculty ask, "What about UT's licensing my books?" David asked whether we should approach authors for use of their digital rights, since some retain them and bestow them one someone else than the inkprint publisher. Merry said that at Texas the University buys an online copy 1 for itself and 14 schools, and thereby gets a lower price. Once the book has been set up by a UT user from an on campus computer one can sign on and read the book from any computer anywhere. There was a discussion of how to approach authors. Could CONSALD create a standard letter and document of consent? Jim Nye warned that each e-text had its own problems in setting it up. Merry commented that one needs permission for each illustration; some illustrations are missing in NetLibrary books for this reason. Phil has seen an article asserting that Indian publishers are getting from the authors all rights including electronic ones.
     Is there any consensus where we should recommend authors go? NetLibrary makes commercial deals with publishers, not authors. There is much in print on authors and the rights to their articles. They worry about others commercially profiting from their work. There are explorations on ways to make articles freely available but not reformatted to pages (?). Is there a place where faculty are urged to retain web rights?
     David volunteered to follow up and report back.
     Merry suggested we urge people at publishers' booths to put their things up on the web. Commercial presses are far ahead of university presses in pursuing these possibilities. Jim Nye said DSAL has started a modest program of letter writing. Whom should we write? Princeton, Duke, Oxford (which has some books on the web but none on South Asia yet).
     Allen T. asked if anyone had investigated South Asia books offered by the print on demand firms. Some reprints of old scholarly ones were available. Neither he nor anyone else had yet examined current ones.

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     Merry said she had been billed and paid for the demo last year. AAS wanted to have one as a panel, including SARAI, DSAL, commercial sites, Virtual Village, and faculty show and tells. Should we do it at Madison or AAS? Maybe have it up a half day and people can come and go, with blocks so people don't come in and use it for random surfing. Would Madison absorb the cost? Rebecca Moore volunteered to work on it. It was agreed we should have a demo at Madison.
     Should we have one at AAS as well? AAS charges commercial rates for equipment. Could we combine with CORMOSEA and the other consortia? Could CRL help? Someone heard that AAS wants to make renting equipment easier. Could we put it near the registration desk rather than with the commercial booth? We could include AAS's own digital publications.
Alan G. will discuss with the *AL meeting.
     Jim Nye said he was thinking of a panel on lexicography in the light of online dictionaries. Bronwen said faculty should be included in the panel to get greater interest.
     Someone said most panels on alternative publication methods have been with reference to science because those publications are so expensive.


     It was suggested we look at EasyHelp at the Virtual Reference Desk (, in particular the Ask an East Asian Studies Librarian ( Alan G. suggested we create a similar one for South Asia (perhaps including Southeast Asia). We could have a link to it on the AAS homepage. This would help institutions without a South Asia librarian. No one knows how much it would be used. Ray said that people in CEAL are not sure they want theirs at AAS because AAS might want to control it. David M. said the worry was less AAS control than AAS getting the credit. CONSALD et al. are not part of AAS. CEAL every few years talks about splitting away from the Virtual Reference Desk. CONSALD could put its page on SARAI. CONSALD's present listserv is insufficient because the user would not think to post a question on it. CEAL has the advantage of several hundred members, far more than we. We would need to have a clear statement of what we can and can't do. There is the potential for ill will because of unanswered questions. There would have to be a statement the site was not for questions which could be answered from standard reference sources. It is hard enough to maintain such a page within one institution, let alone several people at different institutions to do so. There would have to be a way to ensure several people don't waste time on the same question. Should we prepare FAQs? Should we prepare a database of previous responses? Could people sign up as experts on specific subjects.
     Why do we want to do this? Because at least the public universities have to answer such questions, do such things. Also, as an AAS committee we have responsibilities to all faculty, not those at big institutions. On the other hand these faculty are on H-Asia and can post questions there. Why should we do this if the LC cooperative program for 24-7 reference is doing it?
     Alan G. summarized: The problems are the time it takes to do it, the logistics, whether we really care to do it, that standard reference resources available vary, creating ill will, duplication of effort, and PR with AAS and in general.
     Someone asked why CEAL did decide to do it. Also, did they plan to do it in CJK?

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     The Center for the Study of Culture and Society, Media and Culture Archive was discussed. It has put on demos at various institutions. Some were concerned about copyright problems. Jim Nye said it was established by the Ford Foundation. Its first conference was on cinema studies in South Asia. The editor of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema was much involved. It collected materials for the conference and afterwards decided to digitize them. Ford funding had been cut back and since it needed funds it decided to sell its digitized files. The demos showed problems of structuring, copyright, excessive prices, such as $10,000/year for an institutional subscription. It makes exaggerated claims of US institutional interest. It converted Roja Muthiah Research Library materials without permission. Are we obligated to inform them of how we think they ought to proceed? They have gotten guidance from two councils in India. Jim Nye said he has been told [he has told them??] that they are misinterpreting the Indian act of 1994. It has sent passwords to some faculty without telling their universities who they are.

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     Jim Nye distributed handouts from the salvage firm Cromwell. He said you can see the report on the DSAL site at .
     In January Cromwell sent out a team to look at the materials in the freezers. They were in very good shape. Cromwell paid for part of its own employees' costs. It will take $300,000 to get equipment from Vancouver to Hyderabad and back and for a stay of 9-10 months. Chicago is a few days away from a commitment to be financial guarantor. Several foundations are being approached. Money has also been raised from the Government of India, the Government of Andhra Pradesh, private sources, mostly for Telugu materials. Jim reviewed the history of the URLC and the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram. The SVK was interested in bringing collections in Urdu and Telugu together to help bridge communities. The Urdu collections are up there with the Khuda Bakhsh Library and the British Library, and outstrip the BL in journals. The SVK's Telugu collection is one of the main ones in the world.
     Finally Jim noted that advance payments on URLC film would be thrown into the recovery efforts, and he encouraged people to place orders and pay in advance.

     Jim Simon reported CRL still had not appointed a permanent president. Beverly Lynch will remain as interim president concurrent with her position at UCLA. A new vice president will be appointed. ICON (International Coalition on Newspapers) will be hyped at the spring meeting.
     The Center is cooperating with JSTOR to be the print archive of what it digitizes.

     Rebecca Moore reported on DSAL. It is working on a program for British Library image databases. The AIIS photo archive is also being worked on. The goal is to make all databases easy to search, and eventually to be able to search across all of them at once. So far images, bibliographic resources, and books are separated. There will be downloadable fonts for Indic scripts. She is putting up position papers on technical issues. She is eager to send out information on DSAL's solutions, programs, and scripts, and to encourage people to send them back if they make improvements. LINUX is the model. DSAL will include maps and will work on integrating historical maps with DIS (Digital Information Service?) data.

     Phil reported that U.Va. was using Webcatcher to catch everything on a website. It is using the University of Michigan Optical Character Recognition lab, which is very well rated for its software and performance. You send it a tif and they send it back. It does not, however, do diacritics. Virginia is also developing a Tibetan digital library.

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     Jim Armstrong reported that a digital Atlas of Pakistan was available. He did not know if the State Department had acquired it yet. There were licensing problems because State's copies are bought for government use only. The digitization was done by an ad hoc firm. The product was very impressive and the firm was working out the bugs.
     Jim has copies of a letter about the blasphemy case for those who want them.
     About 4 district census reports were coming in per month.
     The office lost about 25% of its staff this year. He expects a rapid turnover in the staff.
     Receipts are up because last year the office was held back by the introduction of a new acquisitions system. The same is true of cataloging productivity.
     The World Federation of Islamic Missions supplied a complete set of its publications.
     Geographic Survey of Pakistan maps are freely available except for border areas. If you are interested, the FO can send a catalog and you can order what you want. The FO will send a supplementary bill if necessary.
     Cultural institutions change heads with every change of government, and sometimes are headless for years. This interrupts their publishing programs.
     There is a delay in producing positive fiche for the Afghan materials.
     Problems with the postal machine and getting US stamps are being addressed. The office is anticipating getting labels off the web.

     Lygia reported on the progress of the Literary Recordings project. It was necessary to re-record some things. LC-Washington is extremely interested in the project. She has been urged to make CDs of the materials for the Calcutta market, but there are numerous problems, particularly with permissions and copyright.

SCINS (Serials Check-In System):
     Lygia handed out a prototype example of a web search using it. The database will be updated daily. If it is not available by July she promises printouts of participant subscriptions. It will not be complete at first because not everything has been transferred from old system and Cardex. The files can be sent as email attachment or diskettes as desired.

Collection Level Record (CLR) database:
     An example of web database searches was handed out. It needs to be corrected because Title slot really means a word search. They are working on making it possible to go first to a specific collection and then searching.
     The FO will send participant copies as soon as they come in with whatever cataloging is available at the time, even if it is incomplete. This may speed up shipping. The participants will get the book sooner but the cataloging at the same time. Books that have already been shipped will go to the head of the cataloging queue.
     Lygia commented that the State Department has decided it needs to do more with the vernacular press because of its wide circulation and less favorable coverage. [of what? of the USA?]
     Tim remarked that Emory's preservation people don't like where the labels are put, on the bottom right corner. Lygia remarked that there is a problem wherever it is put because different institutions put their barcodes in different places.
     There is a problem in binding Penguins and books of similar format; it is hard to read the text in the gutter. The participants could send them back to the binder or cease binding them. The FO is supposed to inspect volumes when they come from the bindery.
     James Gentner discussed the letters from the auditor. They include data from the field on the status of a particular date in last year. This should not be the same dollar figure as your bill, but ask if it seems unreasonable. Some institutions don't want to sign these letters before returning, but please do so, for it harms Overseas Operations if they get refusals to sign. Merry suggested using a form of words approved in such cases by Texas.

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Rejected titles:
     Lygia commented that the office could make it possible to search for what has been rejected but this is not a priority. Bagchi approached Penn about an approval plan for what LC rejects. Smaller publications have done the same for their own publications. South Asia Bibliographer is not keeping up with everything the office gets. D.K. Printworld tried to get on NACO (the name authority component of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging) on the grounds that the FO misses things or gets them late and its cataloging is insufficient. KK approaches faculty members with tailored lists.

Maps and Geography:
     Should Maps be separated from Geography in the profile? Carol thinks not all libraries that want geography books want maps or vice versa. Maps are different from books in that they come in sets and episodically. The 10 volume atlas of India has been delayed because of the formation of new states.
     Avinash complimented the FO on tremendously increased service to queries and complaints. Lygia attributed this to empowering the higher employees to answer directly, only carboning her and Carol.

     Allen T. reported that we are without a Southeast Asia deck attendant and Satish Bindra was doing double work. This might slow down interlibrary loan requests again. On the other hand Collections Management was reshelving or shelving for the first time MLC books, the service of which might improve.
     He was planning a trip to Delhi for the World Sanskrit Conference and consultations with the FO, and retrospective buying in Varanasi.
     The Library was soon to open a major ongoing exhibit of World Treasures in which South Asian items would figure prominently.
     Guidelines for creating a web portal for every country in the world were being finalized.
     An attempt to drastically reduce acquisitions "lesser known languages" had been headed off by Area Studies specialists. (The major languages of South and Southeast Asia would not fall under LC's definition of this).
     The budget for current and retrospective materials both was firm and indeed generous.
     Allen requested tips on major collections outside the subcontinent, assuming one's own institution wasn't interested; top management is pushing this.
     There are no South Asian materials being digitized on American Memory yet but Allen has proposed American Mission Presses in South and Southeast Asia.
     He has hopes on getting agreement on cataloging Asian monographic manuscripts.
     There are discussions at LC about how to make it possible to search across various digital collections.
     Allen is investigating various print on demand firms doing things on South Asia, starting off by asking that copyright copies be claimed. He is working on improving acquisitions of European and Japanese materials on our area.
     Asian has been promised repeatedly a significant amount of space when the first remote storage module is opened at Fort Meade, MD.

Respectfully submitted, Allen Thrasher

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Last update - Tuesday, 16 October 2001
Webbing - Philip McEldowney, University of Virginia