Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation
Draft Minutesof the Meeting Spring 2005
57th Meeting of the Association of Asian Studies
Thursday 29 march 2005, 2-6 pm pm
Grand Ballrooom D North, Hyatt Regency
Chicago, Illinois
Submitted by Andrea Singer

[Send revisions and corrections to Andrea Singer singer at or Mary Rader mrader at with a copy to Philip McEldowney]

Attendees 1. Minutes from previous meeting 2. Round Robin 3. Treasuere's Report 3. Project updates and new initiatives
4. CONSALD business 5. Elections 6. Library of Congress Reports 7. Adjournment

Attendees: Marti Alt, Usha Bhasker, Aruna Kuruganti, Merry Burlingham, David Magier, Allen Thrasher, Jim Nye, James Simon, Philip McEldowney, Fehl Cannon, Catherine Lee, Jerry Hall, Tim Bryson, Bronwen Bledsoe, Rajwant Chilana, Laila Mulgaokar, Adnan Malik, James Niessen, Melvin Thatcher, Will Tuchrello, Qun Ying Li, Marie Waltz, Todd Scudiere, Avinash Maheshwary, Gurnek Singh, Andrea Singer, Kenneth Harvey (Proquest)

The meeting was opened by David Magier, standing in for Mary Rader. J. Nye announced that Mary had given birth to a son, Zim Edward, and that mother, baby, and family were doing well. Attendees introduced themselves.

1. Minutes were read silently and approved.

Back to the top 2. Round Robin highlights:

  • Philip McEldowney reported that Virginia's microfilms of district gazetteers are being catalogued, including authorities for locations. 80% of the collection has been added to OCLC.
  • Qun Ying Li, the first South Asia Bibliographer at Arizona State, mentioned their South Asia committee and Blackwell approval plan. No South Asian languages are being taught.
  • Bronwen Bledsoe, Chicago, described acquisitions including Persian titles and Adam Mathew microfilms.
  • Jerry Hall, DSAL, reported on additions of 11 dictionaries, functioning Perso-Arabic script, 3,000 additional photographic images, atlases, photographic WWI I images, and a Tamil web interface. Work is continuing on the Historical Atlas of South Asia and negotiations with Art Store to increase awareness of DSAL images.
  • Melvin Thatcher reported that the Genealogical Society of Utah is filming Hindu pilgrimage records.
  • Gurnek Singh reported that Syracuse is holding a Human Rights Movie Conference.
  • Andrea Singer reported on new faculty in history, economics, and Urdu at Indiana, and a buying trip to the Kolkata Book Fair.
  • Merry Burlingham described new faculty in Asian studies and great progress in Texas's library re-con project.
  • Allen Thrasher described his role as South Asia team coordinator, a new organizational structure at LC. Planning is going ahead for expanded exhibit space and Friends activities. Cataloging projects including Dravidian language materials and Sanskrit and Indo-Aryan manuscripts.
  • Marti Alt of Ohio State, which has no South Asian program but a growing program in Religious Studies, said that OSU is evaluating priorities including their SAMP and CRL memberships.
  • Adnan Malik described Cornell's elimination of a cataloging backlog, new faculty in South Asia history and the British Empire, and new acquisitions from Sri Lanka.
  • Aruna Kuruganti reported that she is able to keep more of the BAS indexing up to date because of the increased presence of online tables of contents of journals for her to refer to. She also reported that ISSNs have now been added to all BAS records to facilitate automated linking to online full-text.
  • Usha Bhasker reported that under the leadership of the new Director David Ferriero, NYPL plans to merge the catalogs of the Branch Libraries and the Research Libraries, so that the general public has only one database to search - this could be problematic since material from the branches circulate but those at Research do not. Acquisitions continue at the same level; there is interest in the Afghanistan program.
  • Catherine Lee described UCLA's plan for a Center for South Asian Studies chaired by Sanjay Subramanian of Oxford. In a reorganization, Catherine and approximately 30 other librarians and staff are part of a Collections Research Instruction Services Dept.
  • Avinash Maheshwary of Duke reported that Deborah Jakobs has become the library director. The Triangle arrangement continues and there is a new digitization department. The cataloging backlogs are down to 200 titles.
  • Jim Nye reported that Chicago will begin teaching Malayalam. The Roja Muthia Research Library has a new building. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies has received support from the government and area studies librarians have been forming themselves.
  • James Simon reported that CRL has received a TICFIA grant of $800,000 ($197,000 for year one),Work will continue on the South Asian Union Catalog and indexing periodicals. He introduced CRL librarians Marie Waltz and Todd Scudiere.
  •  David Magier described Columbia's backlog cataloging and offsite storage re-location.
  • They will digitize a gift collection of 1200 slides on Islamic architecture worldwide.
  • Tim Bryson says Emory is hiring a new faculty person in Tibetan Buddhism and is hoping for library support for the area.

2a. The Treasurer's report indicates a balance of $722.60.

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3. Project updates and new initiatives:

a. British Library Endangered Archives Programme
      A. Malik reported for himself and Jim Nye that the Urdu periodical preservation and access project in which Cornell, Aligarh Muslim University, and the Center for South Asia Libraries are partnering has identified 50 prominent titles and begun the initial searching phase to identify gaps. Actual imaging will take place at Aligarh and digital images will go to the British Library, South Asian institutions, and the Center for South Asian Libraries. Digital versions will be made available on the web.

b. Khwaja Collection
       J. Nye reported that the Karachi collection of 25,000 monographs and many long runs of serials will be available. Within the next few weeks he will be organizing a conference call to expand the Urdu Research Library Consortium in an effort to purchase the collection. The University of Karachi will build a library building for it and Persian manuscripts might be gifted to accompany the print collection.

c. South Asia Union Catalogue update
       J. Nye reported that the pilot funding of Phase 1 (South India and Sri Lanka) by the New Delhi Office of the Ford Foundation will be followed by TICFIA funded phase 3 which includes Nepal and phase 4 which includes Perso-Arabic scripts from the West. NEH won't be funding phase 2 (East India, Bangladesh, Burma), but has asked that the planning group re-apply. The Council of Overseas Research Centers might help with the project beginning in Bangladesh. Jim hopes that unique records from U.S. institutions will be added. Manuscripts haven't yet been included, but Columbia may help with that.

d. Discussion of adding TOC for sets, especially in the "off site" storage environment
      D. Magier described the cataloging and shift of South Asian volumes at Columbia to offsite storage and the Starr E. Asian Library's practice of scanning table of contents which help ease retrieval. Burlingham described Texas' practice of keeping indexes and Thrasher noted the decision to send monographs instead of serials to maintain good access. Improved analytics and additional finding aids are helping at Chicago which has compact shelving.

(Note: The order of agenda items e. and f. was reversed as follows:)

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f. Discussion about developing useful guides for microfilms such as Proquest's Rare Buddhist Sanskrit Manuscripts.
Ken Harvey of Proquest and C. Lee discussed the inadequacy of using only Cecil Bendall's guide to the microfilm. A general discussion of MARC records, variant transliterations, and best practices when titles lack authors or there are no identifying titles was presented. Harvey asked that people send him comments and suggestions.

e. Discussion about Course Management software, such as Blackbird
M. Burlingham led a discussion on enriching the presentations for undergraduates. Course management software makes it possible to easily create quick sets of sources. When the focus is on large interdisciplinary databases, the need for area studies specialists and generalists to interact is critical if more specialized sources are to be highlighted.

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4. CONSALD Business

David Magier stood in for Mary Rader as CONSALD's representative to the meeting of the South Asia Council (SAC), CONSALD's parent in the AAS hierarchy, presented Mary's report on CONSALD activities, and asked whether SAC could recommend librarians for travel grants. SAC's suggestion was that CONSALD should organize a panel at AAS, making librarians eligible as panel participants. SAC appreciated Rader's report and suggested highlighting CONSALD activities on the SAC web pages.

a. Discussion regarding the possibilities for a CONSALD archive
M. Burlingham agreed to work with M. Rader who says that Wisconsin can host the archive. Members agreed that the photographs recently circulated and upcoming retirements point up the timeliness of this proposal.

b. Possible amendment to the CONSALD Constitution: do we need to be members of AAS to be members of CONSALD? P. McEldowney initiated this discussion. All agreed that all present are participants in the AAS conference, and that nothing is gained by being exclusionary. No change was suggested.

c. The nominating committee (Tim Bryson, Merry Burlingham, and Don Johnson)
presented candidates Bronwen Bledsoe, Monica Ghosh, and Adnan Malik for two executive board positions. Those present voted.

A short break was taken.

5. D. Magier announced that Bronwen Bledsoe and Adnan Malik have been elected to the CONSALD Executive Board.

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6. Reports from the Library of Congress
        F. Cannon described a 20% decrease in the costs for the programs for Pakistan and Afghanistan. He called for a show of hands of those interested in being kept informed on possible developments in the Mongolia program. LC is exploring ideas for continuing perhaps in Washington. 17 LC overseas staff members have been trained in Washington in the ILS system, so the lag between creating records and uploading will be greatly diminished. LC Washington staff is getting slightly larger office space.

        L. Mulgaokar (New Delhi) reported that the ILS cataloging picture is difficult in New Delhi. With two vacancies, two trainees, a death, and an accident things will probably be slow until the next calendar year. The cataloger doing Malayalam has also been doing Sinhala. Acquisitions are being rejected at a 50% rate, which is disappointingly high. The shipping cost for rejects plus 100 Rp is paid by LC, so the vendors have no incentive to be selective. The acquisitions section may be enlarged. Copyright concerns are being addressed and permissions will be sought for digitization. Planning has begun to schedule an hour and a half at the Madison conference for SACAP procedural items. In FY 2007 the office is scheduled to move into the embassy compound. LC must pay a specified cost per employed person for security even if the line is not filled.

        W. Tuchrello (Islamabad) thanked the staff of the New Delhi office for help in training Islamabad staff and said it is unlikely that an American staff member will be posted in Islamabad full time. He mentioned the reduced overhead cost for Pakistan. A sample profile will be distributed describing three selection levels for some subjects: basic, items for LC, and comprehensive. Binding clean complete law sets has commenced. One bibliographic representative is now in Kashmir and perhaps another will be added in Lahore. Materials are being obtained from religious sects. A comprehensive review of Pakistan serials has begun, and he estimates that 50 Afghan serials might be issued beyond the first issue. A pamphlet collection will be going to New Delhi to be microfilmed. More circulars are going out with PDFs of title pages and tables of contents. Taliban have moved from Afghanistan to publishing along the Pakistan border. The Persian cataloging staff in New Delhi has been increased to two and they are interviewing for a third.

In discussion, A. Maheshwary voiced dislike of binding decisions based on perceived durability. U. Bhasker agreed. To a question about slow shipments, a broken machine at LC has been repaired and shipments are re-commencing. Others commented about RLIN cataloging increases for Persian and Urdu. Queens Public Library is augmenting and Michigan and Penn are adding records but they have not shown up yet in OCLC.

        W. Tuchrello reported that the Afghan program is moving along and trips are planned for staff to go to Kabul in June and August.

B. Bledsoe asked whether Permanent Black titles, including those that LC can not supply, might be circularized.

A new Cooperative Acquisitions System is at the planning stages. It would make the selection process easier by including publishers in a shopping cart environment.

        D. Magier reminded all of other meetings including a panel on which he is presenting later in the conference.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 6 pm.

[Minutes taken and submitted by Andrea Singer. ]

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