The South Asia Archive is vast and contains material in quantity and depth that is of relevant to almost anyone working on South Asia in the humanities and social sciences. With millions of pages of digitized archival material covering the period from the late eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century, it is a collection with potential to enrich South Asian scholarship across the world.
Type of Materials
The broad categories of materials are: journals, rare books, reports, acts, film ephemera, calendars, catalogues, proceedings, and manuals.
The categories of materials listed above are divided among broad subject heads which are as follows:
- Agriculture and Environment
- Anthropology and archaeology
- Cinema and media studies
- Civilizational Studies
- Commerce and Industry
- Government, politics and public policy
- Humanities, General
- Language and Linguistics
- Literature (and fiction)
- Religion and Philosophy
- Science, technology and medicine
- Sport, leisure and tourism
- The arts and art history
- Urban studies
For any researcher getting into the collection, the first step should be to search with the subject heads. In most cases the researcher will find materials from all or most of the categories mentioned above.
For more clarity, keywords are included in the reports, acts, books and other non-serial documents to help the researcher navigate the archive. For example, if the user is working on the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 a search of the collection with the word ‘sepoy’ (soldier) will lead into all the materials keyworded ‘sepoy’ as well catching all textual references.
A few of the important reports present include census reports, gazettes and gazetteers, along with legislation, acts, regulations and case documents. Other series include the reports of the Muslim chamber of commerce, those relating to the Madras fisheries and a near complete set of the reports of the enquiry into the Calcutta Disturbances of 1947.
Like keywords for reports/acts etc, for journals, each serial is accompanied by a commentary, which should give the end-user an idea of its orientation, the kind of articles published in that particular journal, details of editorship, place of publication, and its relevance.
The collection has runs of approximately 200 journals published from India or South Asia. These include titles such as Indian Review, Indian Education, Friends of India, and the journals of the Bihar (and Orissa) Research Society, the Andhra Historical Society, the Indian Medical Association, and the Indian Chemical Society. There are Bengali journals such as Banga Laxmi, Pantha, Parichay, Sachitra Bharat, Sachitra Sishir, Khrishtiya Bandhab, Jagajjyoti, and Birbhumi.
Children’s Journals and College Magazines
A large set of children’s journals is included in the collection, as well as youth and college magazines from inception onwards. These journals are wide ranging with important material on gender and popular culture including sport and leisure.
There are two ways to approach a journal: directly by search term in a target journal, or by browsing the commentaries.