CONSALD Meeting 3/15/2012

CONSALD Meeting minutes
March 15, 2012
Toronto, Canada

I. Attendance: James Simon(CRL)[Chair]; Adnan Malik (Berkeley); David Hirsch (UCLA); Samip Mallick (Chicago); Laura Ring (Chicago); Bronwen Bledsoe (Cornell); Judy Alspach (CRL); Edward Proctor (Duke); Monica Ghosh (Hawaii); Mara Thacker (Illinois); Zbigniew Kantorosinski (LC); Carol Mitchell (LC-Islamabad); Fehl Cannon (LC-Delhi); Sarbjit Randhawa (British Columbia); Harpreet  Ahluwalia (British Columbia); Pushkar Sohoni (Pennsylvania); Gary Hausman (Princeton); Uma Sharma (Syracuse); Lana Soglasnova (Toronto); Philip McEldowney (Virginia); Mary Rader (Wisconsin); Sarah Calhoun (Yale);

II. Introductions were made. CONSALD welcomed Mara Thacker, new representative from Illinois.

III. Minutes of October 2011 were approved with changes

IV. Welcome from Ritu Birla, Director, Centre for South Asian Studies and Caitlin Tillman, Head of Collection Development, University of Toronto Libraries. Tour of Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

Dr. Birla welcomed CONSALD to the University of Toronto and described developments at CSAS (which has a new Web site at: She commented on the challenges of reconfiguring the “two-ended” knowledge formation (classical and contemporary) in the new globalized academy. She applauded CONSALD members’ role as advocates for knowledge building and trans-national literacy. She highlighted the need to engage digital humanities experts in learning more about the context and culture of regions in which they seek to work.

Birla pointed to the young and energetic faculty at Toronto and highlighted areas of cutting edge research, including:

  • Economic history (digitization of economy & business archives, chambers of commerce, etc.)
  • South Asian legal history (see
  • Visual culture studies
  • Media studies
  • Vernacular language teaching

V. South Asia Journals in JSTOR - discussion with Jason Przybylski, Content Development Specialist, JSTOR

Jason thanked the group for the opportunity and reviewed the history and mission of JSTOR (slides appended). He emphasized JSTOR’s preservation mission, highlighting the redundant print archive maintained for backup purposes.

Currently, 7000 institutions in 166 countries have access to 1600 journals in JSTOR. In South Asia, 384 institutions have access (the majority within India). JSTOR has implemented free or discounted access in developing countries, has opened access to portions of content (early content up to 1923 in the U.S. and 1870 for other world areas is freely available), and is developing models for individual access and “read-only access” to a portion of JSTOR content.

JSTOR is also expanding content types, including conference proceedings, primary source content, and books. They are seeking input on all content types.

Currently, there are 62 journals from Asia in JSTOR (three are publishing current issues), with strong holdings also present in related disciplines. In 2010, JSTOR invited 20 journals with South Asian Studies relevance—7 of them signed. Particular challenges in acquiring content from other countries include making contact, educating about JSTOR’s mission, and securing content. JSTOR does not digitize content without first seeking permission, which can be difficult to track down. JSTOR does include ceased journals, but these are also complex, as they may be orphan works still in copyright.

The conversation that followed included the following:

Journals CONSALD would like to see in JSTOR

  • Jason welcomed input and invited feedback on mechanisms to share recommendations
  • Bronwen Bledsoe recommended that JSTOR look to publications of the various Asiatic societies
  • Carol Mitchell suggested that archaeology is a strong subject in Indian publications
  • Mara Thacker related interest on campus in agriculture (particularly where it meets anthropology, sociology, human ecology), geopolitics

Inclusion of non-English material?

  • The group encouraged JSTOR to move towards this capability, recognizing that OCR remains a challenge for many South Asian languages. Target languages for the future might include Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and Urdu. Punjabi was also mentioned. Romanized Sanskrit materials?
  • There is still plenty of English material of interest, particularly when long runs may also serve preservation interests.
  • Vernacular titles may not always represent the top titles. Literary journals may be a strong target. Indological journals.

How to “package” South Asian materials?

  • Marketed as an Asian collection? The group agreed a South Asia collection may be a tough sell for purchase.
  • Some preferred that content is linked with other attractive material of broad interest (“Arts & Sciences”).
  • Others believed there may be appetite for a broad Area Studies (Global Studies?) package.

Other types of content of interest?

  • Simon suggested there is a lack of academic ebooks from South Asia. CONSALD may be able to come up with a short list of publishers to pursue.
  • Primary Source material. Possible linkages with SAMP? Government materials? Associations?

CONSALD and JSTOR agreed to more regular communication on titles, selection progress, and linkages to other disciplines. Simon emphasized the need to have two-way communication, so that we know the work on recommendations from us and our faculty are being acknowledged.

Treasury Report (Simon)

CONSALD’s treasure stands at $342, thanks to the contribution of CONSALD members following the October meeting. Members were reminded of the call for voluntary contributions (AAS does not permit “membership fees” per se, though groups could implement “subscriptions” to a journal).

Elections (Simon)

James thanked the nominating committee (Bledsoe, Mitchell). Nominees: Laura Ring

Laura was elected unanimously. James thanked Jeff Martin for his work on the committee.

CONSALD Web site update (Simon)

Simon reviewed progress to date and applauded the volunteers that came forward to assist in the Web transition:

Technical Team (finalizing site design, user interface, permissions)

  • Tim Bryson
  • Gary Hausman
  • Mara Thacker

Content Transition Team (ensuring old content from CONSALD’s site is migrated)

  • Philip McEldowney
  • James Simon

Content Development Team (adding to new content areas, soliciting assistance from members)

  • Sarah Calhoun
  • Uma Sharma
  • Pushkar Sohoni

 DSAL/DDSA/SAUC update (Nye)

As Jim Nye was absent, this discussion was tabled. Monica Ghosh remarked that Hawaii added records for all DSAL’s resources to their catalog (and OCLC).

SACAP Cooperative Collection Development Workshop update (Bledsoe/Rader/Simon)

Mary Rader reviewed the rationale and progress of the two successive workshops conducted in conjunction with the fall meetings. For the monograph workshop, Mary calculated that there was $20,000 more spending for vernacular monographs in 2012 than in 2011. This reflects largely a re-allocation of resources, rather than an infusion of new funds.

This year’s workshop focused on commonly collected serials, with a target of reducing the number of highly-subscribed content in favor of lesser-represented content. Participants are slowly reporting progress, and Mary encouraged them to make their selections in advance of the next SACAP bill, while acknowledging that these deliberations are difficult.

Some participants asked for guidance in coordinating new acquisitions – concerned that many institutions are selecting or de-selecting same material. Mary suggested that Neha Mohan can compile results, and we can review to ensure there are no over-corrections. Canadian members of CONSALD asked how they can collaborate in the process, as they are subscribing not through LC, but the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute. Mary commented that while we started with SACAP profiles, there are other ways to collaborate. This coming year may be a good opportunity (see below).

James reported on the workshops’ indexing discussions. As reduction of important content requires new approaches, the workshop participants recommended pursuing an indexing effort with the following characteristics:

  • Vernacular indexing (under-represented or absent from major indexes).
  • Text searchability, subject headings highly desired; abstracts/keywords?
  • Distributed responsibility (may be challenging)

James proposed the following next steps:

  •  CONSALD participants develop a prioritized list of five journals in each of the four principal languages (Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Urdu) to use as a pilot to test the process and costs of journal indexing.
  • Seek limited funding to cover indexing pilot, through outsourcing/overseas partners
  • Conduct discussion with existing platforms (Wisconsin/DSAL) to determine specifications and requirements for hosting content
  • Explore international partnerships to contribute funding/in-kind work towards goal

Bronwen invited participants’ feedback on the next workshop topic. She proposed that the group return to a “declaration” model, in which participants bring to the table areas of self-selected interest to collect more in depth. Though specific targets are yet to be determined, they may include one or many of the types of selection below:

  • Specialty collections: Participants declare areas of interest such as that enacted by Wisconsin, Cornell, and Columbia a few years back. Target areas could be on a subject, language, or format.
  • Publisher-centered: participants can declare that they will collect more intensively (all relevant subjects) from a particular publisher/institution. This would bypass a subject-limited profile selection. Examples of publishers might include: Aditya Prakasana, Vani Prakasana, the Sahitya Akademi, the National Book Trust.
  • Place of publication: Institutions may declare a focus on collecting from a particular region, such as from Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Australia, Canada, Scandinavia. This might take shape as a language focus (Russian, Spanish). This may require collaboration with other selectors within the participating institutions, broadening our model of collaboration to other departments.

Q: What kind of commitments would this entail? As yet undefined… but “for the foreseeable future” is a possible target.


 South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) Update (Mallick)

Samip described progress of the organization, highlighting particular community stores. In order to grow SAADA, Samip announced his impending resignation from U. Chicago to further SAADA’s aims. He thanked the group for their support thus far, and hoped for further partnerships in the future.

Library of Congress Report (Cannon/Mitchell)

Pakistan is capturing PDF monograph content, wrapping it with metadata (via “Bag-It”) and sending to LC-Washington for storage. The records point to the live version and a pURL to the archived version (accessible only “on campus”). Not yet dealing with serials.

Carol is sending lists of English quarterly (and less frequent) to Aruna Magier for review and potential inclusion in Bibliography of Asian Studies. Carol thought many of the top English journals were already being indexed.

Carol brought additional information on the commercial database PINFO, an abstracting service for major Urdu newspapers. PINFO value added includes (for a fee) receiving an electronic copy of an article and translation service.

XX [More info from Carol?] XX someone is now building up a legal archive of historical material – 1947 debates & laws to the present.  Carol urged members to consider how to assist Pakistan in developing a more robust digital library infrastructure (particularly project management). Possible role for a Fulbright fellow/

Fehl Cannon reported on Delhi achievements.

  • I&O rates for Delhi will be 19% next year (current year is 21%). Pakistan will be 38%
  • IOTA system replacement underway. Hope to have user testing in June, in full use by January 2013?
  • Recent acquisition trips to the NorthEast. New bibliographic representatives in training for Mizoram and Meghalaya. Also recent trips planned for Nagaland, Tripura. Hope to add bib rep for Nagaland.
  • Attended 15th world Sanskrit conference. Picked up 150 new possible titles in Indology, for further review.
  • Filled Bengali cataloger position. Still looking for Marathi senior cataloger.
  • LC will implement RDA by March 2013. Some training to take place. SACAP should expect some slowdowns as transition occurs. Q: Do we prefer brief records and quicker shipments, or wait until cataloging is complete? A: Perhaps wait for foreign languages, send English with brief records?
  • Microfilm – lost overtime funding for staff. This necessitated a permanent reduction of 600 reels per year. 42 titles from India no longer filming.

Fehl recommends seeing “Digital Dharma” (Lunchbox Communications) – documentary about Gene Smith.


Open Discussion

Pushkar Sohoni described a situation in HathiTrust in which, due to publishers reprinting content from the public domain, early works are being assigned copyright restriction. James suggested following up with Executive Committee to explore the problem further and see whether we can clarify or affect change.

Simon asked Ring about the comment in her round robin report about the Urdu Research Centre at the new Sundarayya Vignana Kendram facility in Hyderabad. What is implication for access to the content? What about remote access? [Follow up response by email:}

Many of the issues impeding access to the Abdus Samad Khan collection (e.g. flooding, administrative woes, space questions) have been resolved.  All the materials have been moved to the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram’s new facilities, and are on shelves on the top floor of the new space.  Things are still in transition – staff has not yet been hired, it still hasn’t been determined who will have access to the collection and how.  It looks like access has been opened for the Telugu and English materials, but it it’s not clear if this is the case yet for the Urdu materials.  Meanwhile, SVK is installing state-of-the-art equipment (paid for by SVK) for digitizing Telugu and Urdu materials.  The Telugu will take the lead – they’ve got a proposal out to the Endangered Archives Programme.  Our application to the EAP for Urdu periodicals, based largely in Karachi, will be linked back to this collection in Hyderabad as we try to collect full runs.  The goal with this digitization is for the materials to be broadly accessible, and we’re discussing the possibility of on-demand printing for requests for books.

Simon discussed his report to the South Asia Council (SAC). In reflecting on JSTOR discussion, the council inquired whether there were similar conversations about South Asian content in ARTSTOR. Members suggested ARTSTOR is a different kind of conversation: It is expensive, and includes a lot of otherwise freely available material. Should AIIS photographs be included? Simon will try to recall the status of digitization of AIIS archives.

Meeting was adjourned.

Submitted by James Simon 3/16/2011