CONF. ANNOUNCEMENT: Information Access, Information Process: Research on South Asia

David Magier magier at COLUMBIA.EDU
Tue Apr 10 20:11:04 UTC 2001

The following conference announcement is being forwarded to your
mailing list or listserv from the EVENTS CALENDAR section of SARAI.
Please contact event organizers for any further detail.
David Magier




You are invited to attend a conference which focuses on the relationship
between information repositories (libraries, archives, digital databases,
etc.) and the kinds and methods of research that they support and generate.

WHEN: May 4, 2001

WHERE: Michigan Room, Michigan League, University of Michigan

Academic research is comprised of, limited to, and determined by the data
and raw material available to the researcher.  Those whose work demands
creation of resources, such as anthropologists or oral historians are all
too familiar with the complexities of information, how it is acquired and
how one might evaluate its relevance and importance.  However, those
working with physical troves of information (printed books, manuscripts,
and the like), particularly those that are found in institutional
frameworks, often neglect to question how those materials came to be
available or how their work might be different under different
institutional or informational circumstances.   Fluctuating influences such
as government funding, library initiatives, and donor generosity have a
dramatic impact on what resources might be available to the researcher.
Bureaucratic details and structures, classification schemes and notions of
organizational propriety can further sway the direction and nature of
scholarly investigation.   It is these relationships that will be explored
in this conference.

The goal of this conference is both theoretical and practical.  We want to
ask both how and why we organize academic inquiry in the way we do.  The
theoretical question focuses on the influence of our current informational
structures on the products of our research.  The practical question is how
we can overcome the constraints of these institutional boundaries in the
pursuit of long-lasting mutual benefits for both individuals and
institutions within and outside of South Asia.

8:30     Breakfast
9:00     Introductory Remarks
9:15     Theodore Baskaran, Roja Muthiah Research Library, "Roja Muthiah
Research Library, Chennai: A Centre for South Indian Studies"
9:45     C.S. Lakshmi, Sound and Picture Archives for Research on Women,
"Catching Women, Words and Images: SPARROW's Journey into Archiving"
10:15     Break
10:30     Pradeep Jeganathan, University of Minnesota, "'Sri Lanka Studies'
and Postcolonial Scholarship"
11:00     Rama Mantena, University of Michigan, "Amnesia and the Colonial
11:30     Will Glover, University of Michigan, Response
11:45     Discussion

12:30     Lunch Break

2:00     David Magier, Columbia University, "Local Needs - Global Benefits:
The Evolution of the WWW-Virtual Library for South Asia (SARAI)"
2:30     James Nye, University of Chicago, "Khyber: The Digital South Asia
Library as a Data "Fort" and a Pass Through the Digital Divide"
3:00     Break
3:15     Gene Smith, Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, "The Public Law 480
Program and New Approaches to the Access and Use of Materials in Lesser
Known Languages: The Case of Tibetan"
3:45     Graham Shaw, Oriental and India Office Collections, British
Library, "A pedigree mongrel: the Oriental and India Office Collections at
the British Library, London"
4:15     Michael Fisher, Oberlin College, Response
4:30     Discussion

University Library, Center for South Asian Studies, International
Institute, Institute for the Humanities, Office of the Vice President for
Research, Rackham Graduate School, Department of Asian Languages and
Cultures, Institute for Research on Women and Gender

Please send questions or comments to: Mary Rader (mrader at

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