Minutes of the Meeting Fall 2006
36th Annual Conference on South Asia
Thursday, October 19th 2006 1-5 pm
Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin
Submitted by Adnan Malik
1. Attendees: Cassie Adcock (Chicago), Deepa Banerjee (Washington), Bindu Bhatt (Columbia), Bronwen Bledsoe (Chicago), Merry Burlingham (UT-Austen), Fehl Cannon (LC), Judy Eckoff (CRL), Gerald Hall (DSAL/CRL), David Magier (Columbia), Adnan Malik (UC Berkeley), Philip McEldowney (Virginia), Ed Miner (Iowa), Carol Mitchell (LC-Islu), Laila Mulgaokar (LC-Delhi), David Nelson (Penn), James Nye (Chicago), Mary Rader (Wisconsin), James Simon (CRL), Andrea Singer (Indiana), Sunita Vaze (NYPL)
Merry Burlingham chaired the meeting on behalf of Bronwen Bledsoe.
2. Minutes from the Previous Meeting, April 6th 2006, Berkeley, were read in silence and then approved.
3. Treasurer's Report: Adnan Malik gave the treasurer's report. Currently, CONSALD has $707.90 in its account.
4. Project Updates and New Initiatives:
Taskforce for non-English Access:
David Nelson reported on the taskforce set up by ALA/ALCTS for non-English access. Its report was completed and released last week. David pointed out that this matter involved CONSALD members and suggested we form some sort of working group in order to forward to OCLC a list of scripts that need to be priority. Basically, what to do next after Devanagari and Bengali? Jim Nye pointed out that a similar resolution was passed in last fall's minutes. Merry suggested that David look at the old minutes and send out an e-survey to the group. Mary Rader recommended that since there were lots of Unicode issues with the display of fonts etc., they should start with big languages that have technical support.
David also strongly recommended that CONSALD should urge OCLC to develop transliteration tools for South Asian scripts as this could allow them to take existing records and change them into vernacular. Mary pointed out that transliteration has its problems. Based on the development of Tamil and Cyrillic transliteration programs at Wisconsin, she pointed out that there was a very high rate of errors in past attempts. Jim Nye suggested that all transliteration be done by people who know the language.
Bibliography of Asian Studies:
David Magier reported that BAS is on a stable schedule of uploading records three times a year. There are approximately 700,000 records in the database of which about half are South Asia related. An increasing percentage of records is not for journals but analytics for edited volumes in English. Some problems with the search engines have been reported. David himself has noted problems with search by singular/ plural noun forms. Problems should be reported to David Magier or Anna Schulman. Everyone is looking forward to BAS having full text access. They are also working on providing Unicode and to convert data. However, David has noticed inconsistencies in Romanization.
CSAL Archives Survey Project:
David Magier also reported that CSAL has now been around as an incorporated organization for three years. Its members include CRL, Columbia, U. of Chicago, U. of Wisconsin. It is an umbrella for a set of projects to help improve access to and preservation of South Asian materials in cooperation with South Asian folks.
CSAL has been doing a survey by language of archives and libraries in South Asia, working with partners like the Centre for Study of Social Sciences. The aim is to find out the strengths and weaknesses of collections and to lay the groundwork for preservation and digitization projects. Tamil is done by RMRL. PLASP is involved in Pakistan. The latest example is a grant from CAORC for Kannada and Malayalam.
David requested new members for CSAL and pointed out it was inexpensive to become a member and was a good way to help set priorities etc. Carol Mitchell pointed CSAL is important for identifying and preserving private collections in South Asia where national libraries often do not have the means to do so.
Distributed Resources (a la LARRP?):
Mary Rader initiated a discussion on whether LARRP's approach to distributing collection development among members was a viable model for CONSALD. She pointed out that LARRP embers set aside about 7% of their budgets for this process which means that if CONSALD members agree to do something similar, they will have to be more willing to share information about their budgets etc. David Magier pointed out that something similar had been tried earlier and the main hurdle was to give up on what one had been collecting over time and let others take up. Deepa Banerjee suggested that CONSALD members need to identify what their strengths are so that they can make them accessible to others.
David Nelson asked what means were available to compare collections. Mary and Bronwen recommended OCLC's product. Jim Nye pointed out that it might have problems, like lost records etc. He said it was more important to look at actual praxis rather than rhetoric. David Magier said they had tried something similar for South Asia collections fifteen years ago. SAC EAST got students to do profiles in three categories: 1. I must get this, no matter what. 2. I should drop getting this, no matter what. 3. The in between. It was in the last category where the tradeoffs were. However, after a lot of work, the adjustments to the profiles were minor. Maybe that was because at that time ILL was not so good. Now, increasingly even a university's own collections are more than twenty-four hours away. SAC WEST worked better because it had the administration's backing.
James Simon pointed out that libraries are trying to collect more deeply and not really monitoring one another's activities. James Nye suggested the example of Japanese bibliographers who have distributed prefectures among themselves, and offered to present the model at the next meeting. There was a show of hands and it was decided to continue the discussion at the AAS meeting and then vote. David Magier recommended that people need to identify what they are NOT going to do anymore.
Metalib at Wisconsin:
Mary gave a presentation on the implementation of MetaLib at Wisconsin and explained what databases were included in it and how searches were conducted. Wisconsin implemented MetaLib a year and a half ago. Mary noted that the metasearching possibilities are not extensive and that she was disappointed that not many databases with South Asian content are metasearchable.
Jim mentioned that JSTOR approached CRL for inclusion of new titles on local history and art and they want recommendations from CONSALD. Jim will send a note around. Social Scientist and EPW are already included.
Other Web Resources:
Jerry Hall announced that the Schwartzberg's historical atlases were up at DSAL and invited people to test how the interface and zoom function work and then send comments for improvement. He said the overlays for the maps were coming soon.
James Simon directed the group's attention to SAVIFA, a South Asia virtual library hosted by Heidelberg University. It has good search access to European resources, TOC indexing and e-journals. He also mentioned the EZB e-prints open source resource.
Merry added that GALLICA, a project of the Bibliotheque Nationale, also has South Asia related material.
Merry Burlingham reported on the results of the she conducted on the duties of South Asia librarians on various campuses. She found out that in many cases, libraries are taking advantage of the other capabilities of South Asia librarians besides collection development and require them to provide services not directly related to South Asia. However, no one is being asked to catalog non-South Asian material. Jim Nye wondered if this could be compared with earlier surveys to see how things have changed.
5. Proposal to Streamline and Revise the Constitution:
The group was supposed to vote on the proposed changes to the constitution in order to:
1. reduce the number of members of the executive committee,
2. abolish the membership of ex-officio members
3. Increase the time served in office from 2 to 3 years.
Jim Nye suggested that if the ex officio members are retained there should be a subsequent discussion about who they should be. Currently they include the editor SALNAC, and reps. of CRL and LC.
However, the question arose as to who gets to vote? Who is a member of CONSALD? DO you have to be a member of AAS to be a member of CONSALD? While theoretically that is so, it is not enforced within CONSALD.
Mary moved that the vote be postponed and membership be defined before the next meeting at AAS so that the vote can take place then. The motion was carried and a working group was formed to define who is a member of CONSALD. The group consisted of Deepa Banerjee, Sunita Vaze, James Simon, Mary Rader and Don Johnson.
Jim Nye suggested that Jim Armstrong and ---? be included in the group in order to recognize their services. He was informed that Jim Armstrong was given a book as a gift in appreciation and the new executive committee could follow up on this.
Bindu Bhatt thought CONSALD was meant to mentor new South Asia librarians. Merry suggested perhaps the executive committee could take that up.
6. Round Robin:
David Magier, Columbia University: A selector driven text digitization project is in the offing, with 600 pages per month allotted to each area. Anything prior to 1923 is eligible. Another project with Leena Mitford of the British Library and Francis Pritchart involves the digitization of the first edition of Umrao Jan Ada. David is also involved with Columbia University's Arts Initiative in producing e-editions of dissident literature titled Speaking Truth to Power.
James Nye, University of Chicago: The Mushfiq Khwaja sale is going along well along with help from AIPS. So far, Michigan, Madison and Columbia have contributed. Jim will seek more donors. The Marathi collection in Pune will be purchased. AIIS is also involved but Chicago will buy it straight out.
Jim was in Japan for a month and saw a lot of commitment to South Asia research, mainly in Tokyo and Kyoto. The person in charge of the Center for Excellence at Tokyo has spent a lot of money on book collections, many old ones. Jim suggested that they collaborate in filling out SAMP's Hindustani collection. They also have a long time clippings collections. In Kyoto too there is room for collaboration. There is a lot of literature on South Asia in Japanese, old and new. There is a niche collection of propaganda from WWII, with a traveling exhibit of Japanese war posters in Bengali and other languages. CONSALD may want to look to build on ties. The 2nd volume from Matusmoto will have all major imprints from the Meiji Era.
Gerald Hall, Digital South Asia Library: Getting ready to take up Gazetteer maps.
James Simon, Center For Research Libraries: Will serve more electronically, newspapers social science related material etc.
Judy Eckoff, Center for Research Libraries: Judy introduced herself as the new member of the SAMP team.
Andrea Singer, Indiana: CRL helped Indiana scan their Sanskrit collection and then they cataloged it. Indiana needs a new Mideast/Islamic bibliographer.
David Nelson, University of Pennsylvania: The South Asia Studies Dept. hired, ---?, a South India specialist in Telugu and anthropology. Her husband is a post doc historian. Hired another post doc in cinema studies and Rupa Vishwanath in Tamil history. Two Sanskritist positions are open, one a professorship, the other a lectureship. There were many retirements. Position also posted for Buddhism. David has a new boss.
Sunita Vaze, New York Public Library: Sunita is the new South Asia librarian at NYPL and has a background in Sanskrit librarianship. NYPL has a new project to digitize material on Hindu rites. The Google project is also going apace.
Deepa Banerjee, University of Washington: Deepa is the new South Asia librarian at Washington. They used Title VI money to buy the digitized collection of the Asha Archives from Nepal, and also back issues of newspapers.
She is also involved in the South Asia oral history project. It is actually the second phase of Irene Joshi's work and deals with immigrants in the 60's and 70's. They will ultimately digitize the old and the new parts of the work and might even make it a national project.
Philip McEldowney, University of Virginia: Things are steady but did not get 2nd round of grant. They did get a cataloging grant of $70,000. They are establishing an Asian wing in the library. The Mideast is increasingly becoming part of Philip's job.
Bronwen Bledsoe, Cornell University: The South Asia program is expanding gently. Taking up the notion of association of regional scholars which will raise the number of users of Cornell's South Asia resources. CUL has signed an agreement with Microsoft and Asia will be implicated.
Adnan Malik, University of California, Berkeley: There were two new hires in Dept of South/Southeast Asia studies: Munis Faruqui, who does Mughal history and Prachi Deshpande, who does Marathi history.
Mary Rader, University of Wisconsin, Madison: Wisconsin signed on with Google. Guide to Indexing of Indian Periodicals continues. Sent grant proposal to NEH and will find out in spring.
Cassie Adcock, University of Chicago: Cassie has been at her job for six months now. They are running out of space, especially for the reading room reference collection. New records have been created for the backlog in Sanskrit, Hindu, and for European Indological works and for the Ken Jones collection.
Ed Miner, University of Iowa: Holding steady and bought lots of Bollywood films. His budget was not cut and got his 5% raise.
Ed also went to Israel to buy Palestinian literature and was detained at the airport on his way back and had to miss his flight. He is the Director of African Studies now and so will not be that involved with library conferences.
Merry Burlingham, University of Texas, Austin: Shanti Kumar will join Media Studies. A new president is coming as well as lots of changes in the administration.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:05 pm.
[Minutes taken and submitted by Adnan Malik.]