We’re excited to share updates about the South Asia Open Archives (SAOA) (formerly SAMP Open Archives Initiative). This collective of nearly 25 libraries from the US and across the Subcontinent is dedicated to creating a freely accessible, curated collection of historical research materials on South Asia. We hope this brief update provides details into some of SAOA’s activities as we’ve taken significant steps toward building our foundation, with a goal of launching a digital archive in 2018.
SAOA is developing carefully curated thematic research collections in various South Asian languages (including English) by digitizing key print and microfilm holdings supplied by our cooperative network of Member Institutions. This content will include:
- Colonial-era administrative and trade reports - Newspapers and magazines - Census materials and gazetteers - Important literary and other monographic sources
For example, SAOA has already begun digitizing a selection of early twentieth-century monographs listed in the National Bibliography of Indian Literature, including the Bengali titles Mandirera Kathā and Gāna: Sarala Svaralipisambalita. SAOA has also recently collaborated with Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL) in Chennai, India to digitize Tamil Women’s Journals from the early 1900s such as Mātar Manōrañcini and Pen Kalvi. We highly encourage the research community to suggest additional titles to be considered, through SAOA's online suggestion form.
Beyond creating free and open access to the range of content outlined above, we are also working to launch a modern, sophisticated, full-featured platform for discovery, hosting, and presentation of SAOA’s content that meets the needs of researchers, scholars, students, and the general public for material on South Asia. In the meantime, please have a look at a briefarticle on SAOA posted by Center for Research Libraries as well as a presentation from CRL’s Global Resources Collections Research Forum. Hopefully this update inspires you to help us expand the SAOA network by referring your colleagues to our How to Become a Member of SAOA webpage.
We will share more progress with you over the coming months. Please feel free to contact me or members of our Executive Board if you would like to discuss any aspects of SAOA.
South Asia Digital Librarian, South Asia Open Archives (SAOA), Center for Research Libraries (CRL)