University of Chicago Library links

Mahabrahata

Envisioning South Asia

Texts  Scholarship  Legacies

Exhibition on view from January 11, 2016 to March 18, 2016
Special Collections Research Center Gallery

Digital Dimensions

 

For more than fifteen years, the Digital South Asia Library (DSAL) program, a collaboration of the University of Chicago and other partners, has digitized invaluable materials for both specialist and general audiences around the world. These exceptional materials include the Digital Dictionaries of South Asia (DDSA), the 1911 Census of India, gramophone recordings from the Linguistic Survey of India, and India Place Finder (a GIS tool for locating geographic information on Indian toponyms). DSAL has also digitized fascinating images and print products, such as the postcards, maps, periodicals, and cinema songbooks featured in the exhibition.

Recent digitization efforts include the addition of monolingual dictionaries for the DDSA, the 1931 Census of India, and a Tamil-English dictionary application for mobile devices. Among the languages that will be represented in the expansion of monolingual dictionaries are Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Panjabi, Prakrit, Sindhi, Sinhala, and Telugu. The addition of the 1931 Census of India is also of critical import as one of the most extensive accounts of South Asia prior to Independence. The inclusion of a Tamil-English dictionary as an application for mobile devices is a path-breaking innovation in language study via global media in that it allows users to input words with a stylus or fingertip either in Tamil script or in transliteration. The DSAL program has pioneered the digitization of rare, important, and high-quality resources for the study of South Asia, enhancing and extending the possibilities of scholarly inquiry in the future.

 

Historical Postcards

The Regenstein Library has digitized nearly 12,000 postcards of colonial India from the private collection of Graham Shaw, former Head of Asia, Pacific, and Africa Collections at the British Library, London. Most of the postcards date from the 1880s to the 1930s. They depict a variety of scenes from everyday life in colonial South Asia, in addition to topics that would have been of interest to tourists and British residents alike. The collection is a unique visual record of colonial culture. As material objects, the postcards with their stamps and traces of correspondence offer fascinating glimpses of life in British India.

 

Maps

The Digital South Asia Library (DSAL) contains an important collection of digitized maps. The atlases of the Imperial Gazetteer of India (1909 and 1931 editions) capture multifaceted information on the geographical, historical, ethnic, linguistic, economic, and administrative aspects of British India. Joseph Schwartzberg's pioneering Historical Atlas of South Asia (1978) covers geographic, historical, and topical changes in South Asia from prehistoric times to the twentieth century. These exceptional resources document South Asia from a variety of cartographic perspectives.

 

Cinema Songbooks

The Regenstein Library is currently digitizing a superb collection of cinema songbooks from South Asia as part of a special collecting initiative aimed at preserving the sound culture of South Asia. The collection contains lyric books of Hindi and Tamil films from the 1930s to 1960s, some of which have been transliterated into other scripts such as Urdu, Gujarati, and Sindhi. The songbooks are a rich record of the immensely popular and innovative musical traditions of South Asian cinema.

 

Gujarati Periodicals

The digitization of two rare Gujarati women's journals, Stribodh (1857-1944) and Sundari Subodh (1904-1921), is part of the South Asia Materials Project (SAMP), a collaboration between the Library, the Center for Research Libraries, and the B.J. Institute in Ahmedabad. The journals contain articles and stories about and by women. They are particularly important for their documentation of social reform and nationalist politics, in addition to giving a public voice to the concerns of Gujarati women and female writers.

 

Urdu Periodicals

The exceptional private collections of Pakistani intellectuals Niaz Fatehpuri and Farman Fatehpuri contain literary journals, college magazines, conference proceedings, travelogues, and a variety of political documents from several cities in Pakistan. The remarkable materials capture the social, cultural, and political life of Pakistan in the first part of the twentieth century. The collections have been digitized by the Library in collaboration with the British Library's Endangered Archives Programme and with the Mushfiq Khwaja Library and Research Center in Karachi, Pakistan.

Postcard: View from Clock Tower. Bombay

"View from Clock Tower"

Digital South Asia Library
Postcard: "Office Peon"

"Office Peon"

Digital South Asia Library

Postcard: East Indian Railway

"East Indian Railway"

Digital South Asia Library

Map:  Language Families and Branches, Languages and Dialects

Schwartzberg
Modern Language Families

Digital South Asia Library

 

Map: Mughal - European-South Asian Commercial Contacts

Schwartzberg
Mughal - European-South Asian Commercial Contacts

Digital South Asia Library

Cinema Songbook: Matras to Panticceri

Matras to Panticceri (Madras to Pondicherry!)

Digital South Asia Library

Cinema Songbook
Language: Tamil

 

Cinema Songbook: Kajal

Kajal

Digital South Asia Library

Cinema Songbook
Language: Urdu

 

Urdu Periodical: Saqi

Saqi. April, 1933

Digital South Asia Library

Urdu Periodical

 

Urdu Periodical: Adab-i Latif

Adab-i Latif. February, 1942

Digital South Asia Library

Urdu Periodical

 Gujarati Periodical: Sundari Subodh. 1923

Sundari Subodh. 1923 

Digital South Asia Library

Gujarati Periodical

 Gujarati Periodical: Stri bodh. 1886

Stri bodh. 1886

Digital South Asia Library

Gujarati Periodical