Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation

Minutes of the Meeting Spring 2007
Annual Meeting of the Association of Asian Studies
Thursday March 22nd 2007 1-5 pm
Spofford Room, Building 1, Room 236
Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Submitted by Adnan Malik

[Please send revisions and corrections
to Adnan Malik at
with a copy to Philip McEldowney at]

1. Attendees 2. Introductions 3. Report of the Chair and Treasurer's Report 4. Review of Minutes 5. Project Overviews and Updates
6. Elections 7. Presentation by Omar Khalidi and Ophelia Celine 8. Discussion and Vote on Revisions to CONSALD byelaws III, IV, and V  9. Cooperative Collection Development 10. Cooperative Cataloging 11. SAC Meeting Report 12. Round Robin

The meeting started at 12:55 pm

1. Attendees:
Cassie Adcock (Chicago), Deepa Banerjee (Washington), Bindu Bhatt (Columbia), Bronwen Bledsoe (Cornell), Tim Bryson (Emory), Merry Burlingham (UT-Austen), Ophelia Celine (MIT), Rajwant Chilana (Illinois-Urbana-Champaign), James Gentner (LC-DC), Alan Grosenheider (Hawaii), Michael Grossman (Harvard), Lauren Hartley (Columbia), Zbigniew Kantorosinski (LC-DC), Omar Khalidi (MIT), Aruna Magier (BAS), David Magier (Columbia), Avinash Maheshwary (Duke), Adnan Malik (UC Berkeley), Philip McEldowney (Virginia), Carol Mitchell (LC-Islu), Laila Mulgaokar (LC-Delhi), David Nelson (Penn), Liladhar Pendse (UCLA), Mary Rader (Wisconsin), Sarbjit Kaur Randhawa (UBC, Vancouver), James Simon (CRL), Andrea Singer (Indiana), Greek Singh (Syracuse), Allen Thrasher (LC-DC), Sunita Vaze (NYPL), Samuel Wright (Maryland)

2. Introductions:
The new and old members introduced themselves.
Omar Khalidi welcomed attendees to MIT and briefly introduced the institutions resources for the study of Islamic architecture.

3. Report of the Chair & Treasurer's Report::
Bronwen reported for the year and acknowledged the contribution of the new members to the mentoring and cooperative projects proposals, and for efforts to make information more freely available.
She pre-empted the treasurer's report and mentioned that the account balance was the same since the last meeting (US$ 707.90). She suggested that this should change and some sort of dues should be introduced.

4. Minutes:: Minutes from the previous meeting (October 19 2006 Madison) were approved with the following amendments:
1. Bronwen is at Cornell, not Chicago.
2. Frances Pritchett's name should be spelled correctly.
3. Lisa Mitchell was hired by Penn

Back to the top 5. Project Overviews and Updates::

  1. CC:AAM update / Alan Grosenheider
    Alan taking over from David Nelson on the committee. Alan invited the group to comment on the report presented at ALA mid-winter at their URL. The list-serve will be made public and a working group will be established for each script and, working with CONSALD will order how to enroll scripts and how they will be filed in the catalogue. Need to diversify library workplace by recruiting more cataloguers who know scripts. James Gentner said that the LC policy on this issue is stated on the website. Right now they are not doing anything besides Arabic/Hebrew and CJK. OCLC has gone ahead with Bengali, Devanagri, Tamil and seven more scripts are on the way. It is still good for CONSALD to suggest to CC:AAM the order in which the scripts should go in. OCLC and other libraries are also doing it. David Nelson has letter drafted and will put it up to start conversation.
         Deepa asked if there was a list-serve where cataloguing questions can be posted. David Nelson suggested setting up a discussion group. Others suggested the CONSALD website. It was agreed to carry forward the conversation on the CONSALD list to make a decision before June and if needed a new list-serve will be generated.
  2. JSTOR update / Mary Rader for Don Johnson
    A few years ago JSTOR requested to get more South Asia related material for JSTOR. In 2005 JSTOR added Social Scientist and invited EPW. By March 2nd Sankhya and Social Scientist released to JSTOR and the invitation to EPW is still there. Have added Royal Asiatic Society Journal to the list. Don Johnson wants them to have a separate South Asia catalogue. If we want other publications added we can take it up with JSTOR.
  3. BAS update, Unicode conversion / Aruna Magier
    Indexing project: Fast track list never updated even though Aruna gave CONSALD the list a while back. Since then some have seized. Have included the Journal of Bhutan Studies (also available online). Aruna welcomes suggestions to add to the fast track list. Merry asked about filling in gaps in the journals already on the list. Aruna replied that they are already trying to do that. Aruna also indexes edited volumes about South Asia.
         Unicode in BAS: BAS is a publication of AAS. BAS has an advisory committee on which David Magier represents South Asia. The current chair is Frank Conlon, a South Asia historian. So South Asia is well represented and it is a good time to push for Unicode in BAS. It allows all data bases uniform searchability. If BAS does not have it then federated searches will ignore BAS. Unicode also allows for diacritics and you can get indexing in vernacular languages. We do not know when or if BAS will start indexing vernacular publications. Unicode is not an enhancement but a requirement now.
         Frank Conlon wrote to Bronwen to get support from CONSALD to enhance the proposal.
         Bronwen informed the group that he was looking for a CONSALDS resolution to get Unicode. There was also the question of who gets contracted to do it. She proposed a resolution: Unicode is something BAS should have. The resolution was carried almost unanimously. Tim Bryson was worried about its implementation, as Emory and other institutions are finding difficulties. Mary Rader recommended established data case vendors like EBSCO to take on cost. The AAS board has not looked at this option. Tim, Merry and Adnan agreed to form a draft resolution. There was unanimous support for the principal of having Unicode but need to resolve the procedures of how to implement it.
  4. CSAL Library surveys / Sam Wright
    71 libraries and archives were surveyed in East and South India, Nepal and Bangladesh from 2002 onwards. The object was to document existing libraries and archives and describe their collections in order to help initial collaboration projects. The survey was funded by CAORC, but there are no guarantees for future funding. Hence, contributions by members are welcome.
  5. SAUC developments, TICFIA update / Jim Nye
    James Simon gave the updates on behalf of Jim Nye who was not present.
         - DSAL has added two new collections of cartographic resources. These are the 1909 and 1931 editions of the atlas volume of the Imperial Gazetteer of India. These volumes comprise more than 130 plates representing society and culture in South Asia at the beginning of the twentieth century. These complement the Historical Atlas of South Asia by Joseph Schwartzberg announced at the last CONSALD meeting.
         - DSAL continues to work towards digitizing the sound recordings from the Linguistic Survey of India (negotiations with the British Library continue). Simon presented a sample audio file. DSAL will host both the sound recordings as well as the accompanying transcriptions and text of the Linguistic Survey of India.
         - The South Asia Union Catalogue (SAUC) is still in rapid development.
         - The Digital Dictionaries of South Asia (DDS) announces three new Perso-Arabic dictionaries up and running.
Back to the top

6. Elections:
Elections were held and Tim Bryson and Andrea Singer were elected as new members of the executive committee.

7. Presentation by Omar Khalidi & Ophelia Celine:
Ophelia started the presentation by giving an introduction to Archnet, a virtual community of architects at MIT. One does not need to log in to the Archnet web site to use its digital library. Its content acquisition consists of donations and non-direct digital contributions. Then Omar gave a presentation on the Hyderabad Architectural Project. Hyderabad was chosen because its historic core is still intact and in use. Omar had two requests, firstly, to spread the word about Archnet. Secondly, to let students and faculty who are interested in collaborating know that they are welcome. Archnet will soon have a new phase, Archnet II, that will also have digitized maps of Hyderabad.

8. Discussion and Vote on Revisions to CONSALD byelaws III, IV, and V:

Mary Rader oversaw the voting on the revision to the byelaws. She explained the proposed changes. Carol thanked Don and Mary for working on it. The vote was carried out, and the results were: yes (adopt proposed wording) for III, no (wish to retain as is) for IV, and yes (extend tenure length to three years) for V.

9. Cooperative Collection Development / Mary Rader:
Mary gave a summary of the discussion at the previous meeting in Madison for those not present there, when the Latin American model was discussed. A group was formed at the last meeting that is collecting data. Mary will put up a full report as well as a survey on the web.

10. Cooperative Cataloging / Adnan Malik:
Adnan Malik opened the discussion on ways in which various libraries can coordinate their cataloging activities in order to share their skills and strengths. David Magier suggesting outsourcing to South Asia and then paying for it cooperatively, and Avinash liked the idea. Mary brought up the question of gift collections and said that Michigan and Chicago had a model of exchanging Rajasthani and Tamil donations through t.p. etc. Bindu suggested that we share information on what are our strengths. Mary offered to add fields to her survey on cooperative collection development to find out language expertise at various libraries. Philip suggested that the data will have to be updated regularly as it changes. Andrea requested that questions about monographs/serials also be added. David also suggested that various levels of cataloging be considered. Alan recommended that we should pay attention to cataloging issues in developing new South Asia libraries.

11. SAC Meeting Report / David Magier:
David was able to come directly from the SAC meeting and join us to give a brief summary. Some of the main points of the SAC meeting were:

  1. In June 2011 AAS will hold a joint meeting with ICAS either in Seoul or another East Asian city. This will not be the annual meeting but an extra one.
  2. In June 2011 AAS will hold a joint meeting with ICAS either in Seoul or another AAS has improved its web site. There is a new SAC page with a link to CONSALD.
  3. In June 2011 AAS will hold a joint meeting with ICAS either in Seoul or another SASA / ASPAC will organize a conference in southern California. A misquote about the position of South Asia in AAS led to a discussion on the place of South Asia at AAS in the meeting.
  4. In June 2011 AAS will hold a joint meeting with ICAS either in Seoul or another here was discussion about Unicode in BAS.
  5. In June 2011 AAS will hold a joint meeting with ICAS either in Seoul or another AAS decided to provide projectors etc., regularly from next year on for panels only, but no computers or internet connections. SAC has argued that they want to join other area groups and push AAS to extend this library groups as well. Maybe ALL can send a note.

Back to the top

9. Round Robin:

    Michael Grossman (Harvard): Michael works for the Mid East collection at Harvard and now is also in charge of the Perso-Arabic portion of the South Asia collection.

    Omar Khalidi (MIT): Omar is in charge of the Agha Khan Project South Asia Archive library.

    Lauren Hartley (Columbia): Lauren is in charge of the Tibetan library at Columbia.

    Mary Rader (Wisconsin): Wisconsin is developing strength in the field of South Asian law. Index to the guide to South Asian periodicals is being uploaded.

    Bindu Bhatt (Columbia): Umrao Jan Ada has been digitized. Christopher Sackler's glossary to Umrao Jan Ada will also be digitized along with the works of Ibn Battuta and Bernier. Happy to say the backlog is almost gone. There have been new faculty hires.

    Avinash Maheshwary (Duke): Several new buildings added to campus. The library has also been expanded. South Asia library moved to new building. Finally switched from Dewey to LC. Sumati Ramaswamy of Michigan might be coming over.

    Gurnek Singh (Syracuse): Syracuse got Title VI funding for next four years, along with Cornell. Gurnek has completed 35 years.

    Liladhar Pendse (UCLA): New South Asia center on campus under Sanjay Subrahmanyam. Restarting vernacular collections.

    Sunita Vaze (NYPL): Sortstaffed because of retirements. NYPL has not committed to the Google Project which is why Microsoft is pitching.

    Cassie Adcock (Chicago): The South Asia collection has a new site page.

    Allen Thrasher (LC-DC): Acquisition budget the same as 2007 budget has not been passed. No cuts so far. Moving large portions of belle letters to Fort Mead as well as South Asian serials. Will create online serial records for the latter. Cataloging lost more people to retirements, four in last year. Sam Wright helping with cataloging manuscripts. Chief of Asia Division leaving in Feb 2008. Getting more help from Friends Society. Liladhar given a grant to come to LC DC.

    Tim Bryson (Emory): Hired the Dalai Lama as faculty- more of a PR thing. Emerging Tibetan program.

    James Simon (CRL): CRL continues its development of digital delivery of resources for scholars. CRL is also exploring terms and models for large-scale digitization of its foreign news collections. The purchase proposal program for 2007 included "Curzon India and Empire Pt 1: the papers of Lord Curzon 1859-1925" and "East India Company Factory Records: China and Japan"

    Merry Burlingham (UT-Austen):

    Andrea Singer (Indiana):

    Zbigniew Kantorosinski (LC-DC):

    James Gentner (LC-DC):

    Alan Grosenheider (Hawaii):

    Philip McEldowney (Virginia)

    Rajwant Chilana (Illinois-Urbana-Champaign):

    Samuel Wright (Maryland):

    David Magier (Columbia):

    Carol Mitchell (LC-Islu):

    Deepa Banerjee (Washington):

    Laila Mulgaokar (LC-Delhi):

    David Nelson (Penn):

    Aruna Magier:

    Sarbjit Kaur Randhawa (UBC, Vancouver):

    Adnan Malik (UC Berkeley):

    Bronwen Bledsoe (Cornell):

The meeting was adjourned at 5:45 pm.

[Minutes taken and submitted by Adnan Malik. ]

Back to the top

return to Minutes or committee on south asian libraries and documentation

Webbing - Philip McEldowney, University of Virginia

Last update -