A project Web site is available

The Digital South Asia Library: A Pilot Project

An Application to The Association of Research Libraries by The University of Chicago on behalf of The University of Chicago Library in collaboration with Columbia University Libraries

Principal Investigator James Nye, Bibliographer for Southern Asia, The University of Chicago Library in collaboration with David Magier, Director of Area Studies and South Asia Librarian, Columbia University Libraries

Submitted August 15, 1997

1. Overview

The University of Chicago Library and Columbia University Libraries propose a two-year pilot project on South Asia under the Association of Research Libraries' "Global Resources Program" funded by the Mellon Foundation. The pilot project will meet existing scholarly needs and provide a model for supplying future information required for South Asian studies. The project will enhance access to research resources by: 1) developing the infrastructure for intercontinental electronic document delivery to and from selected South Asia libraries and 2) creating new electronic reference resources, comprised primarily of data entered by project participants in South Asia. During the course of the project, participants will assess any problems arising from the approach taken, analyze costs and benefits, review responses solicited from readers, and formulate strategies for expanding the project to encompass more participants and a broader array of library materials. This project will serve as a model for other area studies groups, especially those working in developing areas of the world.

Participants in this project include: the University of Chicago and Columbia University in the United States together with the Roja Muthiah Research Library (Madras) and the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram (Hyderabad) in India. (Please see Appendix 1 for a description of these institutions and the Urdu Research Library Consortium.) Previously established working relationships between Chicago, Columbia, and the two Indian institutions will aid in the accomplishment of this pilot project's objectives.

The Digital South Asia Library project will build an electronic library infrastructure abroad (with attention to both human and machine capacities) while delivering many valuable services in the U.S. Networking technology will be used effectively to distribute library resources for use in both South Asia and the U.S. In addition to the major participants, the South Asia Microform Project, the Urdu Research Library Consortium, the Library of Congress, and the entire international community of South Asia scholars will benefit from the project's mounting of new research resources on the internet and by contribution of index records to the Bibliography of Asian Studies, the premier source of article-level bibliographic access for Asian studies.

The results of the Digital South Asia Library project will include:

  1. Electronic indexing records for approximately 38,000 articles in Tamil[1] journals, 38,000 articles in Urdu[2] journals, and 4,750 English journal articles, published during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries;[3]
  2. Electronic full-text versions of three classic nineteenth-century South Asia reference books printed in roman characters;
  3. Full-text electronic versions of five select titles from the Official Publications of India,[4] one of which will be a statistical source structured as an electronic database;
  4. A web site providing global access to the project's newly created electronic resources (from items 1-3 above);
  5. Scanning capacity at research libraries in Madras, Hyderabad, and Chicago;
  6. Delivery on demand of page images of the Tamil and Urdu journal articles indexed under this project via the internet either directly to scholars or through libraries;
  7. Planning of grant proposals intended to support a second phase of the project for expanded participation in North America and South Asia, contingent on favorable interim review at the end of the pilot project's first year;
  8. Planning for a self-sustaining program of services beyond that second phase; and
  9. A formal evaluation and cost-benefit analysis of the project.

The funds for this project will have a multiplier effect. Support from ARL/Mellon will function as seed money and matching funds with which to attract additional support for these efforts. Because of the proven records of Chicago and Columbia at both raising support for innovative programs for dissemination of scholarly information on South Asia and effectively executing those programs in conjunction with libraries in South Asia, supporters of this pilot project can safely expect success.

2. Rationale

a. Importance of Access to Journal Articles

Access to journal articles is of fundamental importance for research in the humanities and social sciences. Demand for their access has risen dramatically among South Asianists as the result of thirty-eight years of federal funding for the study of "critical languages," among which Urdu and Tamil are included. In fact, Urdu and Tamil are two of the South Asian languages most commonly used by U.S. scholars of the region. Yet, current library collections in the United States are distinctly ill-equipped to provide scholars with access to early journal articles in these languages. Journals in Urdu and Tamil were infrequently acquired prior to 1960 and English journals concerning the South Asian subcontinent, including those held by U.S. libraries, have remained inadequately indexed. By the time active collection development programs began, many of the early journals were rarely found, even in South Asia. This project will begin to solve the problems of access by creating resources of value for current and future scholarly needs.

b. Why These Texts in Electronic Form?

Not only are many classic reference resources on South Asia rarely held by U.S. libraries, but these publications, now long out of print, are also extremely brittle. The South Asia Reference Tools Program[5] seeks to rectify this situation by making available high quality photoreproductions of selected reference works on acid-free paper at reasonable prices. However, some of the reference books are of such great value and high demand that they should also be available as electronic texts on a public site. After wide consultation with fellow South Asia librarians and scholars in this country, three titles will be selected by the Advisory Board from among those books reprinted in the South Asia Reference Tools Program for conversion to electronic reference publications and mounted on this pilot project's web site.

Similarly, most pre-Independence Official Publications of India are unavailable in this country. Published by the British during the Raj, these books and serials chronicle British rule of South Asia in minute detail. Among the topics are: land tenure, medical crises such as plagues and famines, ethnographies, trade statistics, archaeological surveys, artisans and their trades, listings of civil and military employees, regional gazetteers, and law and legislative reports. Most historians view these documents as essential for any understanding of nineteenth- and twentieth-century India. Yet, a search of holdings on OCLC shows that fewer than 20% of these publications are accessible in the U.S. at present. This will change later in 1997 as the University of Chicago takes the British Museum's duplicate Official Publications of India (approximately 23,500 volumes) on loan for an indefinite term. Five titles will be selected -- both for their intrinsic usefulness and also as exemplars of typical problems one encounters -- for keying and mounting on the project's web site. This will be an experiment in converting the Official Publications to full-text electronic documents. At least one of the volumes chosen will be predominantly statistical and will be structured as an electronic database.[6] Additionally, using its own resources, the University of Chicago will bring up a web site containing bibliographic information on the full set of Official Publications of India. It is noteworthy that official expressions of interest have come from Indian and Pakistani government libraries seeking collaboration on this program of access to the Official Publications. Holdings of those publications in both countries are strong, but widely dispersed. Scholars and librarians at those South Asian collections are seeking the easier access this project will provide.

c. Other Benefits to Scholars

Another important reason for providing access to these publications via the internet is that scholars will be able to use their research time in South Asia more efficiently and productively after having consulted these sources before their travel. This is especially important given both the diminished number of travel grants for research in South Asia and also that the remaining grants support shorter periods of residence.

Scholars elsewhere in the world will also benefit. Despite their acknowledged importance, many of the journals and reference works treated by this project are rarely found in libraries in South Asian or other countries. (Amazingly, this paucity of holdings even extends to the Oriental and India Office Collections at the British Library.[7]) Also, South Asia scholars and librarians in Europe, Japan, Australia, and in South Asia will be able to use these services via the internet. It is unlikely that institutions in the South Asian subcontinent will undertake themselves provision of digital access to their important South Asian resources, given current levels of support available from their governments for library activities. Therefore, without a cooperative effort such as the one proposed here, it is unlikely that these electronic resources will be created.

d. Why These Institutional Participants?

The University of Chicago and Columbia University are leading institutions in South Asian studies. This is reflected in the size and quality of their faculty, the breadth of their academic programs on the geographic region, the records of placement for graduates in prominent academic and government policy positions, and in the strength of their library collections and services. (Please see Appendix 1, containing brief statements about the two South Asia programs as well as the Indian participating institutions.) Urdu language and literature are taught at both universities and Tamil at Chicago. Faculty and students at both institutions are involved in extensive and path-breaking research in areas covered by the resources that will be made available under this pilot project. Librarians at the two universities have regularly taken leadership roles among their colleagues such as chairing the Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation, the South Asia Microform Project, SAC-East (a federation of South Asia library collections on the East Coast), and the South Asia Library Project (under the Committee on Institutional Cooperation.) SARAI,[8] the World Wide Web Virtual Library for South Asia, was developed by David Magier at Columbia and is hosted there with support from Columbia. Library holdings at the two collections are among the strongest in this country and are well supported by university and library administrators as well as the National Resource Centers at each school. Finally, and importantly, Chicago and Columbia have been leaders in cooperative library ventures to develop resources for scholarly inquiry into South Asia. Noteworthy examples include the indexing of English periodicals for the Bibliography of Asian Studies already underway at Columbia, Chicago's program for Tamil preservation and access in Madras, and leadership of the Urdu Research Library Consortium. It is logical that the Digital South Asia Library Project should be taken up by these two universities.

Existing proven alliances with two Indian institutions will make possible work on Tamil and Urdu publications. There are formal memoranda of understanding with MOZHI (related to the Roja Muthiah Research Library) and the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram (related to the Urdu Research Library Consortium.) Work on the Digital South Asia Library Project will be possible under those agreements. Both MOZHI and Sundarayya Vignana Kendram are non-governmental organizations led by creative and scholarly individuals who have shown themselves to be extremely trustworthy and responsive. In South Asia, perhaps even more than elsewhere, careful selection of institutional partners and colleagues is vital to the success of collaborative ventures. Adaptability is a prerequisite in meeting the requirements of time-bound projects. Both these sister institutions have been adroit and imaginative as we have worked in collaboration on five previous and current major programs for preservation and access. Involvement of these Indian institutions will help bridge national borders across which information does not easily flow. In particular, Pakistani and Indian scholars need Urdu resources and Indian and Sri Lankan scholars need Tamil sources which often are only available in one country. By placing the resulting indexes and other electronic texts on the internet, issues of national boundary and conflicts between states will be transcended. And finally, involvement of these Indian institutions will help to establish the "new library movement" on more solid footing in South Asia. At present, librarians are undervalued and libraries underfunded in India and elsewhere in the region. Successes such as those coming from this project will raise the visibility and centrality of libraries in the subcontinent in a way which will enhance support from the governments.

e. Complementary Nature of the Project

The Digital South Asia Library Project will complement existing programs and projects. A few specific parallel projects follow:

Additionally, supporters of this pilot project will realize a "multiplier effect" with their grants. Project participants have already approached the Aga Khan Trust for Culture requesting support for some of the project activities related to Urdu and the University of Chicago's Women's Board for support of a project focused on Tamil journals that will interlink with this proposal. The project's principal investigators plan to make additional requests to other funding agencies in the near future for support of this project.

3. Plan of Work

SCHEDULE OF PROJECT ACTIVITIES September 1997 - August 1998

September 1998 - August 1999

a. Selection

Selecting publications of the greatest scholarly value for immediate treatment under this pilot project is fundamental to its success. An Advisory Board, described in section 4 below, will make these determinations after broad consultation with readers and librarians. The Board's prioritized listings of publications will govern project work in each of the languages covered. Project staff will begin with titles of highest priority and proceed with indexing and data entry until the targeted number of journal index entries is prepared and the electronic texts converted.

b. Indexing, Data Entry, and Scanning

Indexing, data entry, and scanning of Tamil and Urdu texts will occur at the Roja Muthiah Research Library and the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in India since the collections of targeted publications reside there. In this way expertise in Tamil and Urdu available in Madras and Hyderabad as well as the lower expenses for staff will prove beneficial. The means employed in this project will generate resources of value for South Asia and will enhance cooperation between scholars and librarians in the U.S. and their counterparts in India. Indexing of English titles will take place at Columbia University, with work by professional staff already trained in the rigorous requirements of the Association for Asian Studies' Bibliography of Asian Studies. Both the foreign and domestic components of the Digital South Asia Library Project will serve as models for other projects.

The library collections at the Roja Muthiah Research Library (Tamil) in Madras, and the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram (Urdu) in Hyderabad contain numerous journals and periodicals not otherwise available to American scholars. (Please see Appendix 1 for more detailed statements on the collections and information on related preservation microfilming projects at those libraries.) While the scanning and international document delivery components of this project will make them available, it is only through appropriate article-level indexing that scholars and students will be able to identify the items they need. This project therefore includes the creation and internet dissemination of electronic index records for journal articles in these Indian-language collections, together with a selected set of English-language journals from South Asia held by U.S. libraries but not otherwise indexed. The specific journals to be indexed and the sequence of journals to be covered will be determined by the prioritized listings to be produced by the academic Advisory Board.

Indexers will be trained to use the hardware and software selected for this project. The records produced will conform to the content standards[9] established by the Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS), and will contain, at minimum, author, article title, added entries for joint authors, article citation, contents notes, and subject classification. Assignment of subject classifications will follow the established subject structure already used in the electronic edition of the BAS. The records for English-language journals, to be created by the professional indexer already working at Columbia, will be added to the CD-ROM cumulation of the BAS. Urdu and Tamil index records created by the project's indexers in Hyderabad and Madras will be disseminated via a searchable bibliographic database with standardized flexible web interface, to be mounted, maintained, and updated on the web server at the University of Chicago, and linked to the Bibliographic Information section of SARAI (the World Wide Web Virtual Library for South Asia), located at Columbia.

In order to ensure adherence to established standards the records created by the indexers will be directly monitored and reviewed. Additionally, our plan of evaluation will include periodic reports to the Advisory Board. These reports will include a list of the journals indexed during the preceding period, a randomly selected sample of the entries produced, and samples from each journal title covered during that period.

c. Distribution of Resulting Resources

Index entries for Tamil and Urdu journals will be searchable from the Digital South Asia Library web site.[10] Corresponding entries for English journals will be distributed through the BAS on CD-ROM and possibly be available for searching via the internet. The project web site will contain links to reference resources and full-text electronic versions of the Official Publications of India produced during the two-year pilot project.

An e-mail response form closely linked to the Tamil and Urdu index search screens will allow scholars to request delivery of a specific article as a scanned image over the internet from India. Researchers will be able to elect delivery by attachment of compressed page images to e-mail messages, by conventional file transfer protocols to a site of their choice, or to the project's web site. There will be no charge for these services during the pilot project. The University of Chicago already has experience with these modes of transfer for image files to and from Madras via Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited, India's international telecommunications service provider.

4. Advisory Board

Faculty have been the driving force behind previous and current cooperative programs at Chicago and Columbia and will be integral participants in this pilot project. Their involvement on the Advisory Board will enable the project to meet acknowledged academic needs. They will carefully select the texts for treatment. This is especially important given the large expense of creating digital library resources. The Advisory Board will:

  1. Select journal titles for indexing;
  2. Evaluate indexing methodology and mechanisms and review records to recommend adjustment to practices, if necessary;
  3. Advise on web site presentation developed under this pilot project;
  4. Help plan phase two of this project; and
  5. Serve as conduits to their academic colleagues, publicizing the resources, garnering user responses, and keeping colleagues informed of project developments.

In addition to James Nye and David Magier, Board members will include two Urdu and two Tamil scholars -- one each from the U.S. and India for each language -- and a scholar of colonial India. Specifically, the Board will include: Frances Pritchett, Professor of Urdu, Columbia University; Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Professor of Urdu, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi; Norman Cutler, Professor of Tamil, University of Chicago; E. Annamalai, a prominent Tamil scholar, recently retired as Director of the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore; and Dipesh Chakrabarty, Professor of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago. The Board will meet in conjunction with the annual South Asia Conference in Madison in October 1997 and 1998, at the Association for Asian Studies annual meeting in April 1998, and will conduct other business by electronic mail, correspondence, and telephone conference calls. Board members, except for Nye and Magier, will each be given an honorarium of $100 per year.

5. Evaluation of the Pilot Project and Planning for Next Phases

A preliminary evaluation will take place at the end of the first year and a formal evaluation of the Digital South Asia Library Project will take place in August 1999. Members of the Advisory Board will assess the quality of indexing records and electronic texts, review observations by librarians at the two Indian sister institutions, consider comments gathered from scholars who used the project's web site and document delivery service in conjunction with statistics on use of the resources, and examine costs associated with preparation and delivery of electronic information. The Board will evaluate costs and benefits and any systematic problems encountered during the pilot project. Nye and Magier will synthesize observations of the Advisory Board into a final project report for distribution to ARL and Board members and for mounting on the project web page. The interim evaluation and final report on the pilot project will be central elements in planning for subsequent phases of the project.

Objectives of the second phase will include: 1) establishment of new priorities for creation and delivery of a broader range[11] of documents; 2) re-evaluation of the technology used during the pilot project; 3) experimentation in use of South Asian scripts[12] in the electronic presentation of resources over the internet; and 4) expansion of our strategic alliances[13] to include locations in other South Asian countries and more North American participants in the Digital South Asia Library program.

Examples of projects during phase two might include: indexing for the Guide to Indian Periodical Literature (GIPL); creation of a Guide to Pakistani Periodical Literature (GPPL); preparation of digital cartographic files on South Asia; and construction of electronic guides to government archives by building on the Roja Muthiah Research Library's working relationships with the Tamil Nadu State Archives. Under phase three, GIPL and GPPL might be expanded from coverage of English-language sources to include journals in the regional languages, indexing a highly select list of journals and providing both current and retrospective coverage.


The support requested for this project is modest relative to its projected benefits. This is in large measure due to contributions by the University of Chicago and Columbia University. There will be no charge for bibliographers' time or for material infrastructure. In the U.S., the pilot project will use computer facilities and other resources already in place at Chicago and Columbia. Furthermore, travel will not be charged to the project budget.

Much of the expense for establishing the Madras and Hyderabad sites, including basic electronic equipment, has been met by other grants and by contributions from U.S. universities participating in the programs. Only a small expenditure will be made to purchase particular equipment needed to accomplish the specific objectives of this project.

Budget Summary
September 1, 1997 - August 31, 1999

Category Fund
1. Services
Indexing - Columbia University
Indexing, scanning, and data entry in India
2. Equipment
Three Pentium computers
Two Hewlett-Packard 4C scanners
3. Other expenses
Long distance telephone
Annual fees for two internet connections in India
Shipping and postage
4. Utilities and prorated rent expenses for sites in India 8,000
5. Advisory Board (5 persons @ $100/year) 1,000

Total Project Costs $62,700

Appendix 1. Institutional Participants

University of Chicago

The study of South Asia at the University of Chicago has deep historical roots and a strong institutional commitment. Faculty have regularly taught Sanskrit at Chicago since the University was established in 1892.

Contemporary strength and commitment to South Asian studies at the University of Chicago is reflected by the appropriation of faculty resources, the diversity of languages taught, the presence of a federal Area Studies Center for South Asia, and the level of collection development in the Library.

At the very foundation of the University, the great strength of the Library in the subjects of classical and ancient India was ensured by a large purchase of journals and books in Indian philology. Because of continuing commitment to research on South Asia, the collection supports the full range of research and instructional needs related to the subcontinent. Intensive collection development and patron use occurs in areas particularly emphasized in academic programs at the University, including the Departments of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, History, Political Science, Anthropology, Art, Linguistics, Behavioral Sciences, and the Divinity School. In all of these departments it is possible to pursue education through the Ph.D. level with a specialization on South Asia.

The Library acquires publications of research value from throughout the world in all the languages of South Asia as well as all other languages of international scholarship. Since 1962, current materials from and about South Asia have been collected at the "research level", as defined for the North American Collections Inventory Project. Given the uneven quality of collection development prior to 1960, retrospective acquisition is also a major focus. Reference publications are acquired at the "comprehensive level" without respect to date of imprint. Holdings of philological publications concerning the classical languages of the subcontinent are extraordinarily strong, especially in monographic series. The Library has been a comprehensive participant in the Library of Congress Cooperative Acquisitions programs in South Asia since the programs began in 1962 and currently has the fullest selection profile of any participant save the Library of Congress itself. In addition, the University supports an ambitious program to acquire current and older imprints about South Asia from America, Europe, and East Asia.

The University maintains a knowledgeable South Asia library staff. Unlike most other South Asia Area Centers where bibliographers are additionally responsible for general reference activities or other disciplines and geographical areas, the Bibliographer for Southern Asia at Chicago is able to focus exclusively on Southern Asia. Commensurate with the size and prominence of the collection, the University of Chicago Library has a staff of 6.5 full-time equivalent employees throughout the library dedicated to its South Asian collection.

Generous support from the University augmented by regular awards of grants enables consistent growth of the collection, supports a capable staff, and permits an intensive program for processing titles into the collections. These qualities combine to provide an hospitable climate for special grant-funded projects.

Columbia University

The study of South Asia at Columbia University in various departments has a prestigious history dating back to its famous Sanskrit programs in the nineteenth century. More recently, the establishment of the Southern Asian Institute in 1968 and the continuous funding by the U.S. Office of Education of its National Resource Center since 1974 have facilitated the campus-wide coordination of South Asia-related activities. The Institute's conferences, seminars, exhibits, films and lecture series regularly bring together faculty, students, and colleagues from around the country and around the world. The presence of related programs on campus, such as the Dharam Hinduja Indic Research Center, the Center for Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, the Taraknath Das Foundation, and the Quaid-e-Azam Center for Pakistan Studies, further enhance the strength and breadth of Columbia's focus on this region.

Because of its location in New York, Columbia maintains unique ties with United Nations personnel, the diplomatic community, numerous international agencies, and the largest South Asian immigrant community in North America. The South Asian community has generously assisted the University in the development of its South Asia programs, including direct financial support for the new visiting professorship in Indian political economy.

Columbia's excellence in teaching, research, and library resources has been consistently recognized and substantially supported by the Department of Education's Title VI program. A core group of twenty faculty directly concerned in teaching and researching South Asian subjects is augmented by an additional twenty-eight supporting faculty in various departments. The University offers courses in seven South Asian Languages (Bengali, Hindi, Nepali, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Urdu), as well as instruction in other languages can be arranged on demand.

Columbia University's historically prestigious library system offers students and scholars a wealth of research services and information in traditional as well as electronic forms. The entire collection is estimated at about 6.8 million printed volumes and 4.2 million pieces of microfilm and microfiche.

Columbia's South Asia collections, acknowledged as among the best in North America, are integrated into the twenty-two library departments on campus. Holdings on South Asia are conservatively estimated to exceed 293,500 monograph titles, of which over 111,000 are in South Asian languages. The strongest portions of the collection are in the fields of history, religion, language and literature, political science, economics and development, archaeology and art history. The collection has been developed over the last 150 years to support the well-rounded South Asian Studies curriculum and research base at Columbia. It provides materials suitable for both the beginning undergraduate and the specialized needs of the doctoral candidate. At a time when many other major American research libraries have had their book budgets reduced, Columbia University Libraries have continued to demonstrate a strong commitment to South Asian Studies. This support, in addition to operating costs such as salaries for the South Asia Librarian, catalogers and support staff, has come in the form of an annual book budget that, despite tight fiscal conditions, has continued to increase at rates significantly greater than that of the Libraries' book budgets as a whole.

Apart from these collections themselves, the University demonstrates its commitment to this field by extensive staffing and operational supports. Library staff devoted to South Asia include a full-time South Asia Librarian and Bibliographic Assistant, a part-time professional Indexer of South Asian journals (supported jointly by South Asia National Resource Center and by the Library), a part-time South Asia Electronic Resources Assistant, and a professional Indic manuscripts cataloger. Operational support includes fully equipped office space for all the staff; extensive travel support to attend conferences, acquire materials and supervise activities at the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in Hyderabad; sponsorship of international meetings and conferences on issues of South Asian bibliographic access as well as meetings of the East Coast Consortium for South Asian Collections (SAC-East); and provision of unlimited web-server space and technical support to operate SARAI (The World Wide Web Virtual Library for South Asia).

Roja Muthiah Research Library

The Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL) was created in 1994 by the University of Chicago and MOZHI[14] for the express purpose of cataloging, preserving, and making accessible one of the world's finest Tamil collections[15] amassed by Mr. Roja Muthiah. The University of Chicago has raised funds for purchasing and processing the Tamil library, including major support for extensive preservation microfilming in a well-equipped reprographics laboratory installed at the Madras library. As portions of the collection are processed, ownership and responsibility for maintenance will be transferred to MOZHI. We believe this to be the first time a U.S. research library has raised funds for purchase and preservation of a foreign collection with an explicit commitment to donating the publications to its collaborator in the host country.

A rented structure in Madras houses the Roja Muthiah Research Library. The facility, recently designed to meet the needs of the Library, has 5,200 square feet of space. This is adequate for housing the collection and seating twelve research scholars. It includes nearly 1,000 square feet of space for the cataloging and preservation units. A guest house and other facilities are available to support visiting scholars. The RMRL web site, including a searchable on-line catalog, is available at:


Urdu Research Library Consortium

The Urdu Research Library Consortium (URLC) was formed in 1996 by the University of Chicago in conjunction with all the U.S. institutions offering advanced study of Urdu. The objectives of URLC are to acquire the private Urdu collection[16] of Mr. Abdus Samad Khan in Hyderabad, India and make it accessible through a seven-year program of cataloging, indexing, microfilming, and creation of digital images. Participating institutions have each paid for shares in the URLC to enable purchase of the library and to begin cataloging. Funds are now being sought to support the program of preservation microfilming of selected publications in the collection. The new location of the collection and the center of activities is the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram[17] in Hyderabad, an Indian non-governmental organization that will assume ownership of the collection as URLC work is completed. It is prepared to function as an overseas research center with its spacious modern building housing the organization's library, meeting halls, a theater, offices, and rooms for guests. Microfilm

resulting from this program will be available in India and also in the U.S., with the South Asia Microform Project at the Center for Research Libraries expected to house the U.S. copies and assume responsibility for the master negative microfilm. A web site for the Urdu library is available at:


Appendix 2. Curricula Vitae for Key Personnel


James H. Nye
Bibliographer for Southern Asia
Joseph Regenstein Library
University of Chicago
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 (773) 702-8430


BA Augsburg College, 1968 (philosophy)

MAR Yale University, 1970 (history of religions)

MS Drexel University, 1974 (library science)

[PhD] University of Wisconsin, Madison, comprehensive examinations passed 1982 (South Asian language and literature)

Doctoral Dissertation:

Granthamala: A Cultural Study of Indological Publishing in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century India
V. Narayana Rao, Thesis Director


1984-to date, Bibliographer for Southern Asia, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

1974-1984, Librarian II (equivalent to Assistant Professor), Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota. Tenured 1979.

1978-84, Acquisitions and Reference Librarian

1974-78, Reader's Services Librarian

1973-to date, Vice President and Editor / Publisher, Musicdata, Inc., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1971-73, Librarian, Community Legal Services, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Major Grants, Fellowships, and Honors:

1996-99, Ford Foundation, grant for "Access to Tamil Performance and Folklore Literature," $250,000

1995-97, National Endowment for the Humanities, grant for "Access to Early Twentieth-Century Indian Books: Marathi, Gujarati, Sindhi, Konkani, and English," $261,835

1994-96, U.S. Department of Education, Title II-C, grant for "Tamil Publications for Historical Studies," $287,690

1994-96, National Endowment for the Humanities, grant for "Preservation and Dissemination of Classical and Medieval Tamil Literature," $198,780

1992-94, National Endowment for the Humanities, grant for "Microfilming Nineteenth-Century Hindustani Books," $140,000

1991-94, National Endowment for the Humanities, grant for "Microfilming Nineteenth-Century Hindi Books," $68,860

1991-94, Kern Foundation, grant for "The Adyar Library / University of Chicago Program," $68,150

1989-91, National Endowment for the Humanities, grant for "Preservation of Major Indological Series from the South Asian Subcontinent," $262,650

1989-91, U.S. Department of Education, Title II-C, grant for "Acquisition and Preservation of Indological Series Published in South Asia," $241,310

1985-88, National Endowment for the Humanities, grant for preparation of South Asian Books in Series: Sanskrit, Pali, and Prakrit, $232,000

1982-83, Junior Fellowship (dissertation research), American Institute of Indian Studies

1981-82, HEA Title VI National Resource Fellowship for Foreign Language Studies, Hindi

1974, Beta Phi Mu (national library science honors society)

1970 (summer), NDEA Title VI Critical Language Fellowship, Hindi / Urdu

Selected Publications:

A Primer in Oriya Characters (editor), by Purna Chandra Mishra. New Delhi: Manohar Books, forthcoming 1997.

South Asian Books in Series: Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Pali edited by James Nye, associate editor Larry DeVries. Preliminary edition, forthcoming 1997.

"Recent South Asia Projects at the University of Chicago and the South Asia Microform Project," South Asia Library Group Newsletter, no. 40 (January 1993): 7-13.

"Toward a Sociology of South Asian Book Preservation," in Planning Modernization and Preservation Programmes for South Asian Libraries, edited by Kalpana Dasgupta. (National Library conferences, no. 5.) Calcutta: National Library, 1992.

"Textual Information Retrieval and Analysis for Indology," in Indological Studies and South Asia Bibliography, edited by Ashin Das Gupta. (National Library Conferences, no. 3.) Calcutta: National Library, 1988.

A Primer in Telugu Characters (editor), by Edward C. Hill. New Delhi: Manohar Books, 1988.

A Primer in Grantha Characters (editor and publisher), by K. Venugopalan. 1983.

Sacred Choral Music in Print and Secular Choral Music in Print (editor, with T. Nardone and M. Resnick). Philadelphia: Musicdata, 1974.

Selected Recent Conference Panels, Seminars, and Papers:

1997, "Preservation Programs for South Asia" invited paper, annual meeting of the American Library Association

1996, "South Asia and the Strategic Plan for Improving Access to Global Information Resources" invited paper for a Presidential session, annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies

1992, Organizer and Chair, panel on "Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the Creation of Indianness" also included my paper on "Sanskrit Series Publishing: A Nineteenth-Century Move into the Hinterlands," 20th Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

1990, "University of Chicago Program for Preservation of Indological Texts" invited paper, National Library of India, Calcutta, Seminar on Library Modernization and Preservation

1989, "Constructing Indianness: Publishing and Culture in South Asia" invited paper, Committee on Southern Asian Studies, University of Chicago

1988, "A Machine-Readable Sanskrit Lexicon" invited paper, Sanskrit Database Conference, University of Texas at Austin, Center for Asian Studies1985, "Upapuranas and Mahapuranas: Appendix or Appendee?" invited paper, Conference on the Puranas at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a part of the Festival of India

1984, Organizer and Chair, panel on "Computing and Sanskrit Texts" also included my paper on "Computer Photocomposition of Devanagari Texts in the United States and India" at VIth World Sanskrit Conference, Philadelphia

Memberships and Professional Offices:

American Library Association (Conference panel planning committee, Asia and Africa Section, ACRL, 1989; Area Chairman for South Asia, International Relations Round Table, 1989-1993); American Oriental Society; American Pakistan Research Organization; Association for Asian Studies (Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation, Executive Committee, 1988-1990; Editor of South Asia Library Notes and Queries, 1984-1988); Microfilming Indian Publications Project, Steering Committee, 1989-to date; Nineteenth Century South Asia Short Title Catalog Project, Steering Committee, 1992-to date; South Asia Microform Project (Chair, 1989-1992, 1996-to date; Executive Committee, 1987-1992; Academic Coordinator for special projects, 1991-to date); Supervisor for Fulbright Library Interns from India, six-month internships, 1988, 1989.


Natural: Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, French, German
Programming: SNOBOL, PL/1, Revelation database programming


David S. Magier 212-854-8046
South Asia Librarian 212-854-3834 fax
304 International Affairs magier@columbia.edu
Columbia University Libraries
New York, NY 10027


Ph.D. (with Distinction) Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 1983
dissertation title: Topics in the Grammar of Marwari

M.A. Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 1979

B.A. (with Distinction) Linguistics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1977


Director of Area Studies, Columbia University Libraries, NY, 1989 - present. Line responsibility for the 5 departments of the Area Studies Division (staff of 13). Allocating, coordinating and supervising all activities for research-level area studies collections in Judaica and Middle Eastern, Slavic and East European, Latin American and Iberian, South and Southeast Asian, and African studies. Design and delivery of new online information services and networked resources. Liaison with Columbia's extensive international and area studies programs. Serve on Management Council to plan and coordinate the operation of the entire Columbia Libraries system. Work with regional and national library consortia to devise effective library cooperation and coordination programs.

South and Southeast Asian Studies Librarian, Columbia University, NY, 1987 - present. Direct responsibility for operation of the South/Southeast Asian Studies Department, and for the assessment, development, maintenance and preservation of the research-level interdisciplinary collections of materials, in all languages and from all regions of the world, on South Asian and Southeast Asian studies, and direct provision of reference, consultation, bibliographic instruction, and electronic information services to these area studies faculty and students. Initiated, designed and maintain at Columbia the World Wide Web Virtual Library for South Asia (SARAI: South Asia Resource Access on the Internet).

Library Internet Training Consultant, NY Metropolitan Reference and Research Library Agency (METRO), March, 1994 - present. Design and conduct customized intensive hands-on Internet training workshops to fill the Internet needs and information service development plans of librarians at several hundred public, community college and University libraries and agencies.

Adjunct Professor, Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University, 1990-1991.

Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics & Lang., Michigan State University, 1986-1987.

Field Director, UC Berkeley Urdu Language Program in Pakistan, 1985-1986. Total responsibility for major program of Urdu instruction for American students residing in Lahore, Pakistan.

Field Director and English Language Consultant, University Grants Commission, Government of Pakistan, 1984-1985. Developed, implemented and administered English Language Centers and teaching libraries at three universities in Pakistan.

Lecturer, Department of Linguistics, UC Berkeley, 1984.


"Library collections and access: Supporting global expertise," with Deborah Jakubs. HEA-Title VI-Fulbright/Hayes National Policy Conference, 1997. (Published on the web by ARL).

"Clio and the Net: Historians in an Electronic Age," History Section, ALA, 1996.

"Digital Libraries: A View from the Third World." 41st Annual International Conference of SALALM (Seminar on Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials), 1996.

"Library Collections and the Internet," full-day workshop at Charleston Conference, 1995.

"Electronic Resources for the Study of Buddhism," Seminar in Buddhist Studies, 1995.

"Cooperative Collection Development: a model for Internet virtual collections," keynote speech, RLG-METRO Selectors Consortium (200 librarians and administrators from Columbia, New York University, New York Public Library, and Rutgers), 1995.

"Towards a National Agenda for South Asia Teaching and Research Resources," keynote speech, AAS South Asia Council Conference, Madison, 1994.

"Developing Virtual Collections: a case study of The South Asia Gopher," Symposium on Electronic Projects for Research & Teaching, 23rd Annual Conf. on South Asia, Madison, 1994.

"The process and value of library networking and coordination," Annual Meeting of Library Directors of DELNET (New Delhi consortium of academic and research libraries), 1994.

"Cooperative collection development in the context of competition," AAS Conference on the Future of South Asian Studies, Madison, 1993.

"Library Issues: Budgets and Coordination of Acquisitions," a report to the Working Group on Library Issues (David Magier, Chair), US Dept. of Education, Meeting of Title VI Area Studies National Resource Center Directors, Washington, D.C. April, 1993.

"Electronic Resources for Humanities Research," lecture/workshop, JvNCNet Internet Resources and Applications Symposium at Princeton University, 1993.


Chair, Asian Studies Online Library (an international collaborative project under AAS)

Chair, SAC-East (East Coast S. Asia Library Consortium: Columbia, NY Public Library, U. Penn-sylvania, Cornell, Harvard, Syracuse, U. North Carolina, U. Virginia, Library of Congress)

Chair (former), Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation (CONSALD)

Chair (former), South Asian Microfilm Project (SAMP)

South East Asian Microform Project (SEAM)

Committee on Research Materials on South East Asia (CORMOSEA)

Chair, CORMOSEA Task Force on Southeast Asian Network Resources

Committee on Publications, Board of Directors, Association for Asian Studies

Bibliography of Asian Studies Advisory Committee

Executive Committee, Rajasthan Studies Group

Association for Asian Studies

Board of Trustees, American Institute of Pakistan Studies (AIPS)

Committee on Publications, American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS)


American Institute of Pakistan Studies grant for field research in Lahore, 1985-1986

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad grant for field research in India, 1981-1982

Berkeley Urdu Language Program in Pakistan fellowship, Lahore, Pakistan, 1979-1980

Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowships (Hindi and Urdu) 1978-1983


"The language of the bard," in Ann G. Gold, [1992] A carnival of parting : the tales of King Bharthari and King Gopi Chand as sung and told by Madhu Natisar Nath of Ghatiyali, Rajasthan. Berkeley : University of California Press, 1992. Pp. 335-350.

"Dative/accusative subjects in Marwari," in Manindra Verma, K. P. Mohanan (eds.) [1990] Experiencer Subjects in South Asian Languages. Stanford: Center for the Study of Language & Information, Stanford Univ.

"The Transitivity Prototype: Evidence from Hindi," in Word 38.3:187-199 (1987).

The Semantics of Participant Roles: South Asia and Adjacent Areas. Edited by Arlene Zide, David Magier and Eric Schiller. Bloomington: Indiana University Linguistics Club. 1985.

"Components of Ergativity in Marwari," in Papers from the Nineteenth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, April 1983.

"Marwari Honorifics," in P.J. Mistry (ed.) Studies in South Asian Languages and Linguistics, South Asian Review 6.3:160-173 (July 1982). South Asian Literary Assoc. (MLA).

Hindi Films for Instructional Purposes [3-volume textbook and materials for teaching Hindi], with Bruce Pray, Satti Khanna. UC Berkeley: Center for South & Southeast Asia Studies, 1980.


Hindi, Urdu, Rajasthani, Spanish

Appendix 3. Specimen Index Records

[1]The Tamil language boasts one of the oldest continuous literary traditions among world languages (extant literature dates back as far as 300 B.C.) and today is spoken by over 60 million people worldwide. The vast majority of Tamil speakers today reside in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, but numerous speakers reside as well elsewhere in India and in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Fiji, Burma, other countries of Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America.

[2]Urdu literature dates from the fifteenth century and includes not only masterpieces of poetry and prose but important works of science. A cosmopolitan language, Urdu was the primary vehicle of intellectual life for much of British and princely India during the nineteenth century. As its influence grew in Indian society, it eventually supplanted Persian as a widely-used medium of government administration during the British Raj. Urdu is the official language of Pakistan and widely used in several states of India. The language is spoken by 95 million people worldwide.

[3]A minimum of forty journals, from prioritized lists provided by the project's Advisory Board, will be indexed under this pilot project.

[4]These are standard English-language sources for research on the British Raj in India. Most were published during the period 1857-1947.

[5]This program was initiated in 1996 by the South Asia Library Project of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) with reproduction of nineteen early catalogs of the British Museum. Based on the success of that first effort, the CIC South Asia Library Project will be taking up another set of volumes for reproduction in the summer of 1997. The next titles to be reproduced will likely include the nineteenth-century catalogs of the India Office Library. BookLab, Inc., the project's vendor for reproduction copies, has been able to provide reasonable prices for the volumes because of the multiple copies ordered.

[6]The web interface for access to this statistical database and display capabilities will resemble those available at the Penn World Tables site. The URL is: http://datacentre.epas.utoronto.ca:5680/pwt/.

[7]Many scholars have developed a mythology about comprehensives of holdings of the London collections previously known as the India Office Library and the British Museum Oriental Collection, now merged to form the Oriental and India Office Collections. Holdings of serials are limited, almost exclusively, to titles in European languages, with only sample issues of most regional language journals and newspapers from the colonial period. The British Library has already expressed its support for this project, because it will make resources more easily accessible to British scholars.

[8]The URL for this site is: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/libraries/indiv/area/sarai/

[9]While the standards for content will be those of the BAS, the data structure of the records will be the same as that used for the Hispanic American Periodicals Index.

[10]The powerful search-engine developed by Mark Olsen at the University of Chicago will be used for retrieving information from the database of journal index entries. The web interface for scholars will resemble the one created for Microfilming of Indian Publications Project at: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/
. Another interface compliant with ISO standard Z39.50 will be available from the Chicago site.

[11]Expanded participation by colleagues in South Asia when setting priorities for the next phase may lead to inclusion of scholarly resources beyond those needed for area studies research in the subcontinent. For example, electronic publications in the sciences may be delivered from the U.S. to select partners in India.

[12]Tamil and Urdu provide an important test-bed for work on regional language scripts under the Digital South Asia Library project. Tamil, based on the Brahmi script, is written from left to right. In contrast, Urdu, based on the Persian script, is written from right to left. This project will build upon the results of current investigations by Suzanne McMahon, South Asia Librarian at the University of California, Berkeley, into evolving standards for display of South Asian scripts on web browsers. She is directing a project titled "Beyond Transliteration: Digitizing Non-Roman Text Using Unicode Conformant Fonts." More information is available at: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/SSEAL/SouthAsia/Unicode.html

[13]Preliminary discussions are already underway with libraries in Pakistan and Nepal. In expanding the alliances, we will explore models for making the Digital South Asia Library program economically self-sustaining. Statistical data from the pilot project will be analyzed to determine if the services can continue to be offered without fee, or if fees are assessed during phase two, how this should be done.

[14]MOZHI, a research and documentation center, is a public trust dedicated to developing resources in languages and culture. MOZHI's facilities in Madras are the site for dictionary compilation, studies in linguistics and grammar, and textual analysis. The trust is associated with a 1992 Tamil-Tamil-English dictionary of contemporary Tamil and a 1997 dictionary of Tamil idioms and phrases. It is also engaged in related projects on modern Tamil language such as creation of a corpus of machine-readable texts and Tamil word-processing utilities including a spelling checker and a hyphenation dictionary for use on computers. MOZHI has received support for its projects from such international organizations as the Ford Foundation and UNESCO.

[15]The breadth and depth of subjects covered, large number of early imprints, including many early and rare newspapers, as well as the acceptable physical condition of the holdings make it a pivotal collection. The types of materials included are: books (ca. 55,000 volumes), journals and newspapers (ca. 1,600 titles), drafts of journal abstracts (for more than 20,000 articles) and indexes (for 9,150 articles), oleolithographs from the workshop of the famous nineteenth-century poster artist Ravi Varma, clippings (ca. 500,000), cinema and play posters, and palm leaf manuscripts (less than 100).

[16]Mr. Samad Khan's library is widely considered one of the world's finest for early Urdu periodicals and printed books. As a collector of great acumen, Mr. Samad Khan built the library with care and erudition over most of his adult life. Holdings are well rounded across all areas of Urdu publishing. Approximately 2,600 periodical titles (many in complete runs) and at least 26,500 monographs comprise the collection. Most imprints date from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and are unavailable at any U.S. library.

[17]Sundarayya Vignana Kendram (SVK) is a non-governmental organization dedicated to support educational and cultural activities in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The trust, formed in 1985, was named in memory of a renowned Indian fighter for liberation from British rule. Last year SVK was selected as the Indian institutional partner for the Urdu Research Library Consortium.