Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation
Draft Minutes of the Meeting Spring 2002
Hoover Room, Marriott, Washington D.C.
Thursday, 4 April 2002 (2-6 pm)
Submitted by Usha Bhasker

[Send revisions and corrections to Philip McEldowney with a copy to Usha Bhasker]

Attending. Approval of Minutes. Round Robin. Urdu Research Center. Center for South Asian Libraries. Election. Digital South Asia Library. Center for Reseaarch Libraries.
Library of Congress: Washington, D. C. Office (James Gentner). Islamabad Office (Rukhsana Saood). New Delhi Office (Atish Chatterjee). New Delhi Office (Ravinder Venkataraman).

Attending: Usha Bhasker (NYPL), Bronwen Bledsoe (Chicago), Tim Bryson (Emory), Merry Burlingham (Texas), Atish Chatterjee (LC-New Delhi), Rajwant Chilana (British Columbia ), James Gentner (LC), Monica Ghosh (Hawaii), Alan Grosenheider (Washington), Ved Kayastha (Cornell), Bruce Knarr (LC), Catherine Lee (UCLA), Karl Lo (LC), Philip McEldowney (Virginia), David Magier (Columbia), Avinash Maheshwary (Duke), Susan Meinheit (LC), Rebecca Moore (CRL), James Nye (Chicago), Mary Rader (Michigan), Rukhsana Saood (LC-Islamabad), James Simon (CRL), Gurnek Singh (Syracuse), Allen Thrasher(LC), Ravinder Venkataraman (LC-New Delhi), and Lena Yang (IASWR).

Minutes of CONSALD/Madison Oct. 2001 were review and approved.

Round-robin:Back to the top
  • Usha Bhasker talked about forthcoming 15-20 % budget cuts at NYPL Persian-language cataloger & Serials Check-in positions have been lost. A great deal of South Asian material are being barcoded and moved off to offsite storage facility at Princeton to be shared by NYPL, Princeton, and Columbia University.
  • Avinash Maheshwary explained his new duties as TRLN South Asia Librarian, spending 60% time at Duke, and 40% at other universities, i.e.North Carolina State, North Carolina Central, and the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Budget level is the same; he is member of committee to move books to offsite.
  • Ved Kayastha: will be getting 5% raise in book budget; Cornell has hired 2 new South Asia faculty.
  • Gurnek Singh: Syracuse has hired a faculty member for Islamic Studies.
  • Rajwant Chilana: the Univ. of British Columbia gets its material from The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute; recently they had an allotment of one million rupees for acquiring books from India.
  • Allen Thrasher: the position of Chief, Asian Division, is being advertised after Helen Poe's retirement. Peter Young, Head of Cataloging, served as Acting Chief until March 2002. He was replaced by Karl Lo who will be acting also until the actual position is posted. Allen distributed flyers describing new directions and leadership for the Asian Division. Library of Congress is seriously considering further vernacular-script cataloging beyond JACKPHY, so that South Asian languages can be included. The acquisition budget is good; re: Tibetan loose-leaf binding, a rep. has been sent to India to look into improved bindery methods.
  • Merry Burlingham: some shortfall in book budget; the Enron collapse has adversely affected the financial situation; the university is trying to establish new position for Buddhist Studies. Merry and her staff are working on a recon project for the lesser known Indian languages.
  • Catherine Lee: UCLA recently acquired "Rare Buddhist Sanskrit Manuscripts from Cambnridge University Library," 80 reels ($9000) by Norman Ross Publishing Inc.
  • Monica Ghosh: Hawaii has new President and new University Librarian -there is hope that the budget cut will be restored. They have begun search for Head of Asia Collection, with emphasis on Chinese or Japanese expertise. Also they are considering tenure track position for Urdu language.
  • Mary Rader mentioned the new library staffing model being pursued at Michigan (field librarians) as well as changes in faculty to/from the University of Michigan.
  • Bronwen Bledsoe: budget crisis will affect cataloging projects.
  • Jim Nye: will know in 2 weeks the result of the Title 6 Proposal for TICFIA; Cambridge University Library is willing to donate duplicates of official publications of India. This will be discussed further at SAMP. The Roja Muthiah Research Library has made excellent progress in preservation. Also, 30,000 volumes have been donated to the RMRL from other private libraries. Congress has mandated that a Language Resource Center for South Asian Languages be established. More than $360,000 in funding has been set aside for language teaching and language learning.
  • Philip McEldowney: the Library has budget problems; an underground Special Collections library is being buit; making room to house the gift of th eWienstien Collection of Buddhist material, mostly in Chinese language, as week as provide for an Asian reading room including Tibetan reference materials.
  • Alan Grosenheider: University was reinstated as a Center for the 3rd year;after Frank Conlon's retirement an endowment fund has been set up for professorship; Library is being renovated; they recently reviewed backlog of South Indian material and discarded duplicates; Irene Joshi and her husband have established a fund to benefit the South Asia Library, and already Alan has used the monies for his book budget.
  • David Magier: South Asia continues to be strong; Jim Neal, University Librarian very much in favor of Area Studies; Butler Library undergoing major renovation part of which will be a South Asia Reading Room with 7000 volumes scheduled for opening in Dec. 03.; Bindu Bhatt has been appointed as South Asia Studies Librarian; Columbia has hired a full time recon cataloger to handle the 70,000 volume backlog; in addition they have hired a full-time Tibetan language cataloger; re: BAS, the plan is to input vernacular records which can be displayed on-screen by inserting Unicode into the records.
  • Lena Yang: LC and OCLC have completed the conversion of Chinese materials from Wade-Giles to Pinyin, their Library interfiles the pinyin records with the Wade-Giles records by using a lot of cross references. They do not have OPAC yet and are looking for an affordable one.
  • Bruce Knarr: LC is beginning to discuss ways of implementing the South Asian scripts into cataloging records; also some South Asian material that appear on LC web pages will display table of contents (MARC field 856); LC is looking to fill a cataloging position with expertise in South/Southeast languages.
  • Tim Bryson: enjoying his third year as South Asian librarian/cataloger; their funding is erratic since they depend on corporate funding specifically Coca Cola.
  • Karl Lo: Acting Chief, Asian Division, LC.
  • Susan Meinheit: acquired about 350 new Tibetan titles and air pouched them to LC-ND during an acquisitions trip to Tibet last summer. Work continues on sorting and identifying the contents of the Tibetan rare book cage which has been expanded to accommodate new xylograph collections such as the Derge prints (318 vols.) and the Bonpo Tanjur (380 vols.).
Back to the top

 The salvage firm Cromwell is doing a good job of treating the flood-damaged material. The cost is $253,000. Freeze drying is being done and there are good prospects for recovery. Cataloging and indexing are going on, also digitizing; unbound books will be filmed after they are cleaned.

 The Center for Research Libraries received a grant on behalf of the Center for South Asia Libraries from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a Planning Meeting at New Delhi in March. Columbia University and the University of Chicago joined CRL in organizing the event for the purposes of discussing preservation and access problems for South Asian materials and the operating methods, funding, administration, etc. of this international federation of libraries working together on projects and collections in the subcontinent. Other institutions participating were: the Urdu Research Centre (Hyderabad), Sundarayya Vignana Kendram (Hyderabad), Roja Muthiah Research Library (Chennai), Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (Kathmandu), Center for Studies in Social Sciences (Calcutta), British Library, Library of Congress, New Delhi, Royal Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, and National Library of Bangladesh. Pakistan and Sri Lanka were not directly represented but have been in close contact with organizers. Each Center will have the same mission statement, i.e. worldwide accessibility of South Asian research material to scholars within the subcontinent as well as elsewhere in the world. The first step in the plan is to set up teams by language expertise. These teams will identify the 10 best collections (libraries) for each language.-5 within the subcontinent and 5 outside the subcontinent. The newly agreed mission statement for the CSAL is: "The Center for South Asia Libraries' mission is to foster the identification, documentation, and preservation of research materials for South Asian studies and to facilitate their accessibility and exchange for the benefit of scholarship on South Asia world-wide."

to the top

 Mary Rader and Tim Bryson were elected to the CONDALD Executive Committee.

* Digital South Asia Library. Rebecca Moore.
 Highlights of the past few weeks have already been sent to the listserve. Repeated request for missing issues of "Social Scientist" that need to be scanned . These would have to be duplicates, since they would be cut and fed into scanner. Full text of this title and the "Journal of Arts & Ideas" will be made available online. Re: maps, Jim Nye reported that the Survey of India maps will be scanned. Rebecca noted that map-scanning is a slow process; a subset of the BAS (about 4,000 records) will be available on DSAL.
In response to question on Punjabi dictionaries from Rajwant Chilana, Rebecca said that he should provide her with 1 or 2 titles, so that she could include them as future dictionary projects.

to the top

* Center for Research Libraries. James Simon. New President Bernard Reilly has shown positive response to Area Studies; the report of the Collection Assessment Project has been completed, and has several recommendations which will include future directions for CRL. The backlog of 800,000 foreign dissertations will be cataloged. There will be a review of serials and government documents. If a title is held by 5 or more libraries, CRL will drop that title. But the list will first be presented to CONSALD before being dropped. If fewer than 5 libraries receive a particular title, CRL will try to acquire.
Avinash commented that CRL should collect less-known serials from areas such as Orissa, Rajasthan, Assam, etc.
(digital projects meeting report…….) ???? no notes available.

* Library of Congress. James Gentner.
    Due to disruption of the Brentwood Mail facility, there have been horrendous mail delays. In addition, irradiation treatment has damaged all the mail received after Oct. 12, 2001. Payments made by participants and mailed after Oct. 12, have not been received at LC. Participants received mail directly from Islamabad, but LC did not. Current mail is being vacuumed to detect dangerous microbes.
Re: Islamabad, Jim Armstrong was evacuated after the Church attack. In the meantime the contact person at Islamabad will be Rukhsana Saood.

*LC - Islamabad Office. Rukhsana Saood
The morale of the acquisition staff is good.
Re: cataloging, some collection level cataloging is being done with a 505 contents note.
Recently acquired posters of Osama Bin Laden will be scanned into David Magier's website. Re: black binding on material from Pakistan, Avinash requested that the color be changed. However the group consensus was to retain the same color.
Rukhsana will be undergoing training at LC in Washington for the intergrated system, which is already in place at New Delhi.

Back to the top

* LC - New Delhi Office. Atish Chatterjee
They are proceeding with acquisition of material from all local organizations in New Delhi. In the past 5 months 2000 pieces (monographs and serials) have been gathered from the 220 sources visited. With regard to musical CD's and DVD's they are trying to acquire better quality material. Re: multipart monographs, the titles are attractive, but content is of poor quality; therefore they will be sent as circulars. The recording of Indian authors is continuing, with 79 recordings so far; Carol Mitchell visited Sri Lanka and recorded 7 authors. Copies of these recordings have been sent to the authors. Pre-Taleban material has been received from the Islamabad office. They are creating a microfilm collection consisting of media coverage of the 9/11 attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon, and the war on terrorism. They are in the process of filming "Desh" from 1933 to date; "Ananda Bazaar Patrika" from 1922-44 also being filmed. The New Delhi staff is being trained in cataloging and classification of the social sciences. The American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies has joined the program to receive books from Sri Lanka and India (about Sri Lanka only) for their newly created library in Colombo.

* LC - New Delhi Office. Ravinder Venkataraman
 Gave the new address for SACAP website:
This is not available for public, only to participants. Participants will have access to their own financial reports by using Username and password. When participants provide their IP addresses to the Field Office, the database will be accessible. If an institution needs additional Username and password they should contact Ravi and/or Carol Mitchell.
The following are available on the website:

  1. Direct access to Serials Database
  2. Pamphlet collection
  3. Newspapers on Film
  4. Circulars
  5. Annual Reports
"Books on order" may be a feature to be added later on.
Answering a question re: merging of Pakistan Serials database with the Delhi Serials database, Ravi responded that it is not possible right now.
On the Public website both pamphlet collection and the serials database are available.

The meeting adjourned at 6 p. m. Back
to the top

Return to Minutes OR Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation

Last update:
Webbing - Philip McEldowney, University of Virginia