Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation
Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation

Minutes of the Meeting
October 12, 2000 Madison, WI

[DRAFT! Please send comments, corrections to Mary Rader]

I. Preliminaries II. AAS Development Funds III. CONSALD Activities IV. LC Field Office Reports V. CRL Reports VI. Round Robin VII. Attendees

I. Preliminaries
  • Alan Grosenheider announced that Irene Joshi is still working on some bibliographies and that she still comes into Washington's Library from time to time. She can be reached at her same email address.
  • The minutes from the CONSALD meeting at the San Diego AAS meeting were passed.
  • Ved Kayastha wondered if Narindar Aggarwal was ever sent a retirement present from CONSALD. Alan G. will check on this.
  • Merry Burlingham gave a brief treasurer's report. CONSALD currently has $1,093.29 in its account. Some of this money will be used to pay for the room used for the CONSALD e-resources program being held in the Pyle Center on the 15th.
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II. AAS Development Funds

  • Alan had sent out a request to the CONSALD list for suggestions for ways to use the AAS funds but received no responses. Alan informed us that these funds will be available each year and encouraged us to have some discussion on what CONSALD would like to use them for. One suggestion was to use them as CORMOSEA has, namely for vernacular indexing for the Bibliography of Asian Studies. Another suggestion was to use this money to support future CONSALD sponsored workshops and presentations (like the upcoming "Navigating between the oases of the Internet") at conferences like the AAS.
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III. CONSALD Activities
  • The upcoming presentation, "Navigating between the oases of the Internet: SARAI and beyond" was discussed. It seems that this is the first CONSALD sponsored presentation of this type in years (there used to be CONSALD panels years ago at the Madison conference). We discussed whether or not we would like to do this type of thing in the future. Ved argued that AAS and Madison are very different venues and that we would have to gear such presentations accordingly. For example, Madison is not only specifically South Asia focused but also draws people from smaller colleges, etc. Merry wondered if a joint CONSALD and CORMOSEA presentation might be of interest. David Magier suggested that it might be good to expand to resources from all of Asia at a potential AAS presentation. Rebecca Moore wondered if a presentation centered on technical issues (such as the non-roman font problem, etc) would be of interest. Afeworki Paulos suggested a presentation on the uses of technology for instructional purposes (support of teaching, etc). Don Johnson suggested that we could follow the pattern of the video and poster sessions at Madison and have online demonstrations. He will check with Joe Elder to see if such a thing is feasible in Madison. David and Rebecca volunteered to work on a presentation for this year's AAS.
  • Philip McEldowney updated us on SALNAQ, CONSALD's newsletter. He told us that it will be published (online) once a year, two weeks after the AAS session. Submissions will be solicited in January. He suggests submissions such as: discussions of problems people have with manuscripts [1]; event announcements; perhaps something from David on DSAL; perhaps contributions from the LC staff; etc. Don wondered if we might want to submit web reviews following the model of the ACRL. Perhaps these could come from LC folks or from projects such as the Digital Asia Library, etc.
  • More discussion on CONSALD as a group followed. David wonders if we should consider using CONSALD as a basis for joint licensing of expensive digital resources (maps, GIS, statistical data, etc). Monica Ghosh suggested that CONSALD consider engaging with activities at the International Council of Asian Scholars to be held in Berlin, such as the diaspora rountable that was organized by Ray Lum at the ICAS conference in Leiden (1998) or the diaspora roundtable organized by Rich Ritchie for the AAS. Alan would like to see CONSALD as a center for support and guidance, especially for its newer members. [2] Krishan Khera suggested that CONSALD consider working for cataloging in the original scripts. Lygia responded that LC is interested in this but that there are still too many technical problems, etc. Monica wondered if CONSALD would be willing to expand our influence to various centers-that is, could we as a group write letters in support of specific centers, etc.
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IV. LC Field Office Reports


  • James Armstrong is in Nairobi until November 30th so Lygia gave his report.
  • James says that publishing hasn't changed much with the coup. He says that desktop publishing is of marginal importance in Pakistan. The press in Pakistan had a few weeks of restraint after the coup but is back to its normal working mode. Newsprint has become more expensive. The devaluation of the rupee has been difficult for the publishing industry. CD-ROMS from Pakistan are not good quality although decent pirated software is freely available. The IFOS implementation and de-implementation has taken a considerable amount of staff time (keying and re-keying, etc) and therefore there has been a slowdown in new orders. Overall receipts have dropped 4% due to this slowdown. Cataloging is also slow although the office produced 1,644 records last year. Shipping has also been delayed. In the past year, the office has made 18 acquisitions trips to 12 cities.
  • In James' absence, please contact Rukhsana Saood (email:

New Delhi:
  • Lygia reported that due to the switch in systems there have been late reports, different labels, different bibliographic printouts, etc.
  • Two libraries need supplemental bills this year but everyone ended with positive balanaces. Lygia reminded us of the need to pay our bills promptly.
  • LC now has a full-fledged group for automation. At the LC Field Officers meeting in January, they will discuss how to distribute/disseminate this automated information (such as the Sources, Pamphlet and Serials databases she demonstrated in the afternoon). Lygia would like to have some demonstration of interest in these automated systems to present to people at this meeting in January.
  • Over 16,000 titles were sent out last year. LC has seen many cancellations in newspapers and serials over the year. Carol did most of the selection this past year. The rejected titles rate dropped this year from 42% to 37%; Lygia thinks this may be in part to Carol, in part to better books.
  • The Sri Lanka program was re-invigorated this past year. The Colombo rep has been working hard on a number of projects: internet resources and updates, serial surveys, and the like. Due to her increased activity, acquisitions from Sri Lanka are considerably up this past year.
  • The Mongolia program has seen an improvement in both the quantity and quality of materials. LC is getting a good number of newspapers, serials and monographs from Mongolia these days.
  • 13 fieldtrips were made this past year, compared to 17 last year. In particular, the Kerala trip was quite successful. The trip to Rajasthan by the Malayalam selector confirmed that the dealer in Rajasthan is doing a good job. (Lygia passed around reports from the Rajasthani dealer.)
  • A number of cities in north India were visited to acquire Tibetan materials-from these trips over 300 new Tibetan titles were added this past year.
  • LC is working on its bicentennial recording project. The purpose of this project is to record Indian authors reading from their own works. At this time, LC has recorded 16 authors. (Lygia passed a list of the authors.) Photographs are also taken at the time of recording. Lygia would like to have these recordings and photos mounted on the web or possibly burned onto CDs. In addition, LC is exploring authors in the Indian diaspora to record. If people have suggestions for authors, please forward them to Lygia. In total, LC has already identified 100 authors to record.
  • Lygia asked for suggestions for topics to be addressed at the Field Directors Conference in January, in addition to a discussion on the recent NSF report and other automation issues. She wondered if topics such as these would be of interest to participants: indexing of vernacular serials, the capture and description of internet resources, a TOC and delivery service (articles on demand), a restricted web page for participants, etc. Again, any suggestions would be welcome by the LC office.
  • Lygia reported that if the LC office were to provide full cataloging for literature, the participant indirect and overhead costs would rise from 21% to 31%. Over the past year, the LC office created over 13,000 catalog records and over 7,000 authority records. They converted over 80,000 reject records which, if there's interest, they can put on a restricted web page for participants to check.
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V. CRL Reports

Rebecca Moore gave all the reports.


  • The International Coalition of Newspapers is a project to create a union list of newspapers. In its first two years, they have entered over 20,000 titles in their online database. Twelve of these titles are going to be preservation microfilmed, including two from South Asia (Kaiser-i-Hind and the East Bengal Times).


  • Reading from Susan Rabe's email, Rebecca reported that CRL has created 923 South Asia records this past year (monographs and serials), a combination of new and copy cataloged records for both recon and new cataloging of mostly older uncataloged materials.
  • CRL will re-do its website soon.
  • The search for a new director is underway.


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VI. Round Robin
  • Alan Grosenheider is working on establishing relationships with the South Asian faculty at the University of Washington.
  • Philip McEldowney reported on the Tibetan digital library project (with David Germano) and a recent Persian gift at the University of Virginia.
  • Lygia Ballantyne announced that there are two new participants in LCCAP: Emory and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She emphasized that more participants means cheaper overall costs.
  • Ved Kayastha is soon to complete two bibliographies he has been working on for some time: one on Indian immigrants worldwide and one on Indic dictionaries.
  • David Magier reported that his job duties at Columbia are now 20% South Asia, 80% as the Director of Area Studies. In addition, he recently picked up duties at the reference desk. They have a new position for South Asian re-con cataloging and have gotten money to rebind loose publications in their Tibetan reading room.
  • Monica Ghosh spoke of the current "interim period" they are experiencing at Hawaii: they have an interim director, interim CDO and interim catalog. She is doing a lot of instruction and working with the Asian Studies Development Center.
  • Catherine Lee reports that UCLA has hired a Southeast Asia person. Catherine has been busy with electronic resources seminars. UCLA has had three South Asia faculty retirements over the past few years.
  • Don Johnson's book, Agile Hands and Creative Minds has been released. The Digital Asia Library now has over 500 South Asia quality urls and their descriptions in its database. If anyone has suggestions for inclusion to DAL, please pass those along.
  • Bronwen Bledsoe reported that Chicago is considering plans for picking up the gaps left by the minimal cataloging currently supplied by LC.
  • Panna Naik has a new recently published book. She is busy cataloging at the University of Pennsylvania and told us that Penn has a new "Bollywood" video collection.
  • Usha Bhasker would like to suggest that we work to get RLIN and/or OCLC to accept devanagari cataloging.
  • Shyamala Balgopal is the acting head of the South Asia division at the University of Illinois. She has been updating the reference collection and working to increase the visibility of the department through an open house and a newly revised website.
  • Tim Bryson reports that Emory is still trying to establish its Asian Studies Program, which will encompass East and South Asia. Emory is also having an increased emphasis on international programs.
  • At Indiana University, Andrea Singer reports that they are finishing retrocon and cataloging uncataloged government documents. In addition, she mentioned Jim Canary's work with Paper Road ( She presented at the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs and has been busy trying to liaison with faculty.
  • Mary Rader reported that she made a trip to India this year. Michigan is also exploring GIS projects and Rick Saran is working on indexing Rajasthani journals.
  • Afeworki Paulos reported that he made a trip to Ghana in June this year. Iowa is also in the process of digitizing selected South African documents from the period 1960-1965.
  • Merry Burlingham reported on a number of new hires, including S. Ganguly and J. Brereton and Kathy Hansen as the new Center director at Texas. Of UT's enrollment of approximately 50,000, 12% are of Asian descent. This has led to big recruitments for their Asian and Asian-American Studies programs. In addition, the Library has received good funding this year through its Regents.
  • David Nelson spoke of a number of changes at Penn including the loss of their Center funding and a lot of retirements (including in their language center). However, the library has received a better budget and they are getting new hires (including G. Ghosh).
  • Krishan Khera has been on sabbatical this past year working on a dictionary of personal names in Indian history from the earliest time up to 1947. Krishan announced that he will be retiring next year and that this would be his last CONSALD meeting.
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VII. Attendees
Shyamala Balgopal, University of Illinois
Lygia Ballantyne, Library of Congress
Usha Bhasker, New York Public Library
Bronwen Bledsoe, University of Chicago
Tim Bryson, Emory University
Merry Burlingham, University of Texas-Austin
Monica Ghosh, University of Hawaii
Alan Grosenheider, University of Washington (chair)
Donald Clay Johnson, University of Minnesota
Ved Kayastha, Cornell University
Krishan Khera, University of Toronto
Catherine Lee, UCLA
David Magier, Columbia University
Philip McEldowney, University of Virginia
Rebecca Moore, Digital South Asia Library
Panna Naik, University of Pennsylvania
David Nelson, University of Pennsylvania
Afeworki Paulos, University of Iowa
Mary Rader, University of Michigan (minutes)
Andrea Singer, Indiana University

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[1] On a related note, Ved asked if LC was willing to help us with identifying and cataloging manuscripts. Lygia says that LC is willing to contract these.

[2]This led to some discussion of how to encourage new people. Indiana has Mellon fellowships for area studies librarians but this has not yet led to jobs. Duke has a program for mentoring Latin American Studies folks. Ved, David and Shyamala Balgopal all discussed the future of South Asia librarian positions. Lygia suggested that perhaps we need to explore new areas and disciplines for South Asian studies such as Business, Public Health, Population Studies, etc.

[Please send comments, corrections to Mary Rader]

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Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation

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