Minutes of the Meeting Fall 2005
35th Meeting of the Conference on South Asia
Thursday October 6th 2005, 2-6 pm
University of Wisconsin
2. Minutes from previous meeting
3. Project updates and new initiatives
4. Round Robin
Bronwen Bledsoe (Chicago), Merry Burlingham (UT-Austin), Fehl Cannon (LC), Rajwant Chilana (Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Frank Conlon (University of Washington), Monica Ghosh (Hawaii), Philip McEldowney (Virginia), Catherine Lee (UCLA), David Magier (Columbia), Adnan Malik (Cornell), Ed Miner (Iowa), Carol Mitchell (LC), Laila Mulgaokar (LC), David Nelson (Penn), James Nye (Chicago), Mary Rader (Wisconsin), Rich Richie (Yale), James Simon (CRL), Andrea Singer (Indiana), Surya Mittal (DK Agencies)
Minutes from the previous meeting (March 29th 2005, Chicago) were silently read. Two corrections were suggested and adopted, following which the minutes were approved
3. Project updates and new initiatives
Mary Rader and Merry Burlingham shared their discussion of how to go about setting up an archive for CONSALD. Mary showed examples of some things she would recommend for archiving. It was recommended to preserve the organizational history of CONSALD for interested students etc. Don Johnson sent all he had of SALNAQ, South Asia Library Notes and Queries to Mary. There was need to preserve the web versions of such documents, e.g., the CONSALD web page, email correspondence, etc. Mary offered to store the paper documents at Wisconsin which would be a logical choice as CONSALD meets there every year. David Magier and Merry Burlingham also had material from earlier CONSALD years. It was recommended for all to go back and see what material of interest they have in their offices. David recommended that there be institutional commitment to make this an open archive. James Simon stated that CRL maintains historical archives for the AMPs, but may be less inclined to store files for a project not under its direction. However, CONSALD may wish to make a formal request. James Nye suggested LC Delhi also help by preserving queries and working and conference papers.
Journal Indexing Project:
This past summer Wisconsin started a project to see what percentage of South Asian periodicals have been indexed and where. The aim was to see what had been done and then to request funding. She wanted to know about potential sources that could be consulted and would like to have listed all the periodicals supplied by LC. David Magier suggested seeking small amounts of funding and that table of contents also be included. Jim Nye suggested updating OCLC and RLIN records rather than building a new isolated site. Mary sought questions and comments from others.
David Magier gave an update on behalf of Aruna Magier who was not able to attend. He reported that every record now has an ISSN for the article in question, i.e., it has an open URL. Frank Conlon returned from an Asian marketing tour for the BAS and the only negative feedback he got was for lack of vernacular script support. There is Unicode support in BAS, but we need to figure out how to convert the existing dataset not in MARC format to Unicode. David asked for suggestions about how to do this.
Columbia Table of Contents Project:
David Magier reported on how Columbia is dealing with the need for appropriate bibliographic data for material that is being sent to remote storage. The solution is to either know where the material is indexed or, if that is not possible, scanning the table of contents. Columbia is currently photocopying the contents pages before scanning them and capturing barcode and other identifying information with them. They will do this for the entire Indian census. Jim Nye suggested hyper-linking on line those years of the census that are available. Since this project is valuable beyond Columbia, David expressed his hope to see more cooperation from other institutions and wider availability. Currently Cornell and Columbia are collaborating on this project.
Endangered Urdu Archives Project:
Adnan Malik reported that he ran into visa problems and so was not able to visit Aligarh to oversee the start of the project. However, Jim Nye was able to visit Aligarh and had fruitful discussions with the people there on how to go about the project. A preliminary list of ten titles has already been agreed upon, and micro-filming should start soon.
Mushfiq Khwaja Collection:
Jim Nye reported that there was enough interest expressed in the conference call he had arranged to proceed and purchase the collection. He acknowledged the good leadership AIPS has shown and hoped LC Islamabad will help with the digitization. He reminded everyone that libraries that want to join need to make a commitment by the end of October. This could be done by purchasing one share for $10,000. More than one library can come together to purchase one share. He requested that those libraries that have made the commitment need to pay the first installment by the end of the month. So far, commitments have reached $50,000. He hoped that CSAL would also contribute to the project, especially in the area of training.
James Simon reported on some new features for DSAL that were funded by the second phase of TICFIA called SAIA. Two photograph collections have been added to the collection. The first is the Keagle Collection, and the second is the Bond Collection. Both are about WWII and will be up soon.
The other big project is the historical atlas of South Asia. There are some delays with implementation because of transferring to a new bigger server.
The web site is currently receiving about 30,000 hits a month. Starting on Oct 1st, a new phase of TICFIA will award about $800,000 over four years from the Dept of Education. The money will fund activity on several fronts:
- Conversion of audio files of the linguistic survey of India and making them digitally available over the Web. The conversion will take place at the British Library to be delivered as MP3 files. There will also be a copy at RC India.
- Continued work on the South Asia Union Catalogue. TICFIA funds "phase III & IV," covering North Central India and Nepal, as well as western South Asia including Pakistan and Afghanistan. The grant will fund the creation of 120,000 records by members of CSAL. Records are being created from Quarterly lists and other sources. The aim is to make full MARC records and also include titles with no copy. Funds are being sought for phase II of the project covering East India and Burma.
- Preservation and indexing of periodicals. The grant will fund the creation of 1200 journal index records and microfilm preservation of about 200 periodicals.
- Development of a pilot to deliver articles electronically between South Asia and the US. The approach is cautious because of copyright concerns.
Jim Nye reported on the latest developments of DDSA. Many new dictionaries have been added. These include two Balochi dictionaries, a Bengali-English dictionary, Old Marathi dictionary, and Schmit's Nepali-English dictionary. Apte's Sanskrit dictionary is also available and negotiations are ongoing to add the Hindi Sabdasagara. Monier William's Sanskrit dictionary is also in progress, but is not a priority at this time.
4. Round Robin:
- Monica Ghosh, University of Hawaii: Hawaii is maintaining the status quo and does not expect any more budget cuts after last year's drastic one. They have hired a new tenure-track faculty member in Ethnic studies who is interested in the South Asia Diaspora. Hawaii participated in an art exhibition titled, Making Connections that showcased rare material from the library about Asia and the Pacific.
- Ed Miner, Universiy of Iowa: A small Islamic studies program has started on campus, which has introduced collection of material in Arabic that is being handled by Ed. He was able to add Kannada to the South Asia profile and would like to collect more from Afghanistan and Pakistan because of interest in global Islam. He visited Delhi and Bangalore to fill in the gaps in the Kannada studies core title list compiled for the NRC center at Iowa.
- Merry Burlingham, University of Texas, austin: Two new faculty members were hired in government and international development, trade and Environment. They want to hire two more South Asia faculty working on films and geography, ecology and the environment. There will be a Texas book festival at the end of October with Salman Rushdie as the guest of honor. A mentoring program has started on campus for people pursuing a joint MLS and Middle East studies degree. Merry, Don Johnson and Rajwant Chilana volunteered to work on a basic bibliography on South Asia for undergrad schools.
- Frank Conlon, University of Washington: The search for a new South Asia bibliographer continues.
- Surya Mittal, DK Agencies: Surya Mittal from DK Agencies gave an overview of the latest projects undertaken by the book suppliers. These include adding table of contents to records as well as original scripts. They already have web data in Hindi.
Jim Nye, University of Chicago, DSAL: Jim talked about his trip to India and Pakistan in relation to the Endangered Archives Project. In addition to the project for Urdu periodicals there are three other projects being funded by the British Library. There is a project dealing with Marathi books at the Bhandarker Institute and another at the SVK involving the preservation microfilming of Telugu books. He suggested that if CONSALD or SAMP were interested there was still time to apply for grants for similar projects.
He reported on a seminar abroad being run by USEFI for fifteen librarians and archivists. The emphasis is on high school and junior college librarians. The candidates will spend 5 weeks in India. The University of Chicago will host the pre-departure orientation. Jim sought suggestions for readings for the candidates. He also asked if there is a way to link USEFI for CONSALD's benefit.
He also mentioned the survey on the state of libraries in Goa done by Abhijit Bhattacharaya. He will do more surveys in Assam etc. There are surveys available for Nepal and the Deccan. Jim wondered if CONSALD wanted to take the initiative in similar activities.
He also reported that the Aligarh Muslim University showed interest in collaborating in preservation and greater access, not just for its Urdu holdings but also Sanskrit and Hindi.
Finally he reported that the private Marathi collection of R C Dhare was up for sale. It is one of the finer collections in Pune, and is strong in periodicals, literary works, and family histories. It might be possible to house it on the upper floor of the AIIS office in Pune. The collection has 16-18 thousand monographs and about 400 periodicals and the price is $35,000. Those interested should contact Jim.
David Magier, Columbia University: Bindu is back after 3 months of sick leave and projects are moving again, including the final cleanup of the South Asia backlog. The South Asia studies is on the rise with new faculty appointments, including Sheldon Pollock from Chicago. Partha Chatterjee is the current chair of the South Asia/ Middle East Dept. A new grant was awarded to the Language Resources dept for Tamil and Telugu.
Aruna and David got married on Sept 10th. Aruna is teaching Telugu part time and indexing BAS full time.
David visited India and Nepal. He visited RMRL in Chennai, SVK in Hyderabad and Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya in Kathmandu. Each of these centers wants to standardize the services they offer visiting scholars, and he wondered if CSAL could play a role in that.
He suggested a blog for area studies librarians considering that area studies are under threat and it is getting hard to secure funding for traveling abroad and within the US.
Philip McEldowney, University of Virginia: Philip McEldowney announced that the University of Virginia has completed the cataloging of Indian District Gazetteers. The South Asia collection acquired a Koran published in 1900. They hired a new person to do digital Tibetan work. Calvin Hsu was hired as the new East Asia librarian.
Philip was given $20,000 to spend on Arabic material in 5 months. The East Asia and South Asia collection will shortly receive a big donation for the study of religion. Work continues on the Rosetti Project, the Blake Project, Valley of Shadows (Civil War), and TV clips about the Civil Rights Movement.
- Catherine Lee, UCLA: UCLA just established a new Center for study of India and South Asia with Sanjay Subramaniam from Oxford as its director. It is hard to get a South Asia librarian for UCLA. The chancellor will step down to teach next year.
- Rich Richie, Yale University: The South Asia Program is growing slowly with a new PhD on Asian religions. They have also begun to teach Tamil in addition to Hindi.
David Nelson, University of Pennsylvania: There were no new hires but the search is on for a new South Indianist and a post doc Sinhalese position. Many prominent Sanskrit faculty members have either retired or moved
The position for director of collection development is also vacant. Currently those duties are being executed by a collection development council of 5 members which includes an area studies librarian on a rotating basis. Penn now subscribes to Newspaper Direct, which provides access to 9 newspapers from India.
Andrea Singer, Indiana University, Bloomington: Incoming freshmen were assessed an extra $1000 in tuition to support international programs. The library was given money for the Middle East, South Asia etc. The Indian Studies program has also been granted a centrally located house.
The South Asia collection has expanded its profile to include Urdu. The Tibetan collection has benefited from moving material to off site storage because now it is housed in better conditions.
Andrea thanked all who worked at SAMP last year on the Manring subvention project.
- Adnan Malik, Cornell: Things holding steady. There were new hires to teach languages, primarily Sinhalese, Sanskrit and Bengali. The South Asia program is planning a big conference on religious identity and economic development on 15-16 October.
Rajwant Chilana, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign: The interest in South Asia is growing on campus. There are two new hires, one for Indian history and the other for Indian cinema. UIC will submit an application for the Title VI grant for the first time.
Rajwant just released his book titled, Index to Sikh Religion and Culture, and will now work on Indian cinema.
- Mary Rader, University of Wisconsin, Madison: Mary had already talked about the indexing project. Wisconsin lost their Tibetan person to Emory. Mark Kenoyer will be the new AIPS president and his office will be at Wisconsin
- James Simon, CRL: The Global Resources Network will be transferred to CRL. This move consolidates considerable international activity under one roof -- CRL will work with participating institutions to collect "harder and smarter," with more integration of projects and distribution of responsibility. James made his first trip to South Asia
Fehl Canon for Allen Thrasher, Library of Congress: Allen would people to know that Anne Della Porta of RCCD told him that what languages get selected for cataloging in original script via Unicode depends upon demand from other institutions. CONSALD and other institutions may want to express their concerns to LOC in a resolution or some other way.
Mi Chu Wiens, area specialist in the Chinese team, made permanent head of Reference Services in Asian Division. The Southern Asian section has been split into South Asian and Southeast Asian teams. Large areas of the South Asia collection are being sent to remote storage at Fort Meade. The Tibetan collection will stay on Capitol Hill.
Phong Tran has completed cataloging books from Albrecht Weber's library and will begin on Indo-Aryan manuscripts. IN RCCD, the South and Southeast Asian teams have combined to form one team called SSA.
LC is buying all the IDC microfilm collections of British political intelligence files on Asia. IDC will probably microfilm the Burma Papers consisting of 1. files from Japanese occupied Burma seized by Gen. Stillwell's troops, and 2. files of interrogations of suspected communist insurgents after the war, given by the government of post-colonial Burma to Cecil Hobbs. The first component contains material on the Indian National Army and the resident Indian community.
Efforts are being made to improve acquisition of publications about Asia from Europe and elsewhere. The gaps for South Asia are not that bad.
Certain problems in updating and maintaining Country Portals have been fixed.
Allen visited the field offices primarily to look over acquisitions and came back satisfied.
- Bronwen Bledsoe, Univesity of Chicago: Lots of changes in the South Asia department. Most of the old guard is gone. There is more gender parity and also lots of non-US European and South Asian hires. The library is well equipped to meet needs.
Jim introduced a resolution that in "alphabetical order" Bengali, Devanagari, Tamil and Tibetan to be seen as a unit not in order of priority.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 6 pm.
[Minutes taken and submitted by Adnan Malik. ]