Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The Hutton Donation to the University of Cambridge Centre of South Asian Studies

Book-plate of John Henry Hutton
In 1980 Patrick Hutton son of John Henry Hutton, 1885-1968, I.C.S. Assistant Magistrate and Collector, East Bengal and Assam 1909 and Census Commissioner, Government of India 1929, gave 13 books to the Centre of South Asian Studies archives, many of which have his father’s bookplate. They range from well-used dictionaries of Hindustani, Bengali, Urdu and Sanskrit, to guides to birds and wildlife, to Notes on walking round Shillong. This small 87 page publication (Archive HUT 4) by W. Allsup, published 1934, records where safe drinking water may be found for hikes which could take up to 8 hours. Another publication (Archive HUT 11) : Hobson-Jobson : a glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive  by Henry Yule and A. C. Burnell was reprinted by Oxford University Press in 2013 as Hobson- Jobson : the definitive glossary of British India.

The South Asian Studies Library holds various publications by John Henry Hutton including volumes of the 1931 Census of India G(54):31, his study of the Angami Nagas : with some notes on neighbouring tribes. Bombay : Indian Branch, Oxford University Press, 1969. (541.1):397, with the 1921 edition held at Archive JE 16 and Archive ST 1, and at Archive JE 17 The Sema Nagas, London : Macmillan, 1921

The St Catharine’s College Society Magazine of 1968 has a lengthy obituary of Professor John Henry Hutton C.I.E., D.SC. who died 23rd May 1968. Excerpts follow : 
John Henry Hutton joined the Indian Civil Service in 1909, at the time of the disturbances which followed the partition of Bengal and of the Morley-Minto reforms. He served until 1936, through a period of intense activity, of fundamental change and of constant unrest; and he was created C.I.E. for his active service in the Kuki Operations.
When he retired he took with him to Radnorshire a knowledge and understanding, and a scholarly status, which was unusual even in the Indian Civil Service at a time when much notable work on the historical and sociological problems of their districts was coming from the gifted men whom India attracted to that service.
Hutton's period of service on the Burmese border had given him an opportunity to study the Naga tribes in depth and to write his two pioneering anthropological studies,
The Angami Nagas and The Serna Nagas.
His subsequent compilation of the Report on the Census of India, in 1933, confirmed his status as an anthropologist of the first quality, who combined an imaginative understanding of the realities of eastern social life with a shrewd scepticism of generalizations and a mastery of the techniques of social survey. He had been awarded the Rivers Memorial Medal and had been elected president of the Royal Anthopological Institute in 1929, and his work had been acknowledged by awards from the Royal Society of Arts, the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and the Anthropologische Gesellschaft of Vienna. He was awarded the Degree of D.Sc. at Oxford (a distinction about which he was always typically and modestly silent in Cambridge) and in 1938 he was appointed to give the Frazer Lectures in that university [and] became a Fellow of St Catharine’s College Cambridge...When the war intervened. Hutton moved into college as a resident Fellow (with his adoring retriever!) and immediately became a mainstay of the wartime college. He secured permission from the University to act as Bursar of the College, and became a devoted and invaluable college officer. Always enthusiastic, well-informed and curious, he shared the duties, the hardships and the amenities of Cambridge with the architects, the medicos and the service men who were drafted into residence, and, lacking pupils, he not only managed his land in Radnorshire with the same care as he gave to his bursarial duties and accepted office as Sheriff of that county, but laid the foundations of two scholarly books which he published when peace brought an end to restrictions :  Caste in India [which] confirmed his mastery of the complexities of his chosen subject [and] Pictures of St Catharine's College. [In] 1950 he retired again to Radnorshire.
Full obituary pages 24-26 of the Society Magazine including a tribute reprinted from the Times

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Funding opportunity for Research Fellow / Cataloguer to work with the John Rylands Persian Collections

Announcement from the John Rylands Research Institute regarding the Soudavar Memorial Foundation Fellowship:

"The John Rylands Research Institute welcomes applications for a fixed-term Research Fellow / Cataloguer to work on the Persian Collections.

The deadline for applications is 5pm (GMT), Friday 23 February 2018.

The John Rylands Research Institute is pleased to welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake a short-term research fellowship, generously funded by the Soudavar Memorial Foundation

One 7-week research fellowship is available to conduct research on and catalogue the Library’s outstanding Persian language manuscripts.

Applicants are required to propose a research and cataloguing project focussing on a subset of the collection relevant to their experience and expertise. We particularly welcome proposals which focus on Persian tales and fables, science and medicine, or Persian poetry.

Fellows will receive an allowance of up to £2,500 per month for a maximum of 7 weeks; a dedicated workspace in the John Rylands Library, and access to curatorial and grant-writing support."

Application guide and form can be found here:

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Center for Research Libraries (CRL) 2017 Annual Report

Please find the below link to the recently published Center for Research Libraries (CRL) 2017 Annual Report. We would like to draw your attention to pages 8, 9 and 26 that relate to South Asia Open Archives:

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Job Alert: Assistant Librarian (South Asian and Development Studies) at SOAS

SOAS Library are currently recruiting for a South Asian Studies Librarian (maternity cover). Please see the following link:

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Metadata Specialist job opening with South Asia language expertise

University of Virginia Library - Metadata Specialist
The University of Virginia Library seeks a Metadata Specialist for its Metadata Creation & Organization unit. We are looking for creative individuals who are excited by the prospect of working at a forward-looking organization during times of great change. Known for the strength and variety of its collections and leadership in digital initiatives, the Library embraces respect, integrity, inclusion, innovation and collaboration in our work within the University, with peer institutions, and with the worldwide community. A staff of 220 manage 7 libraries that serve a vibrant and diverse scholarly community of 15,000 undergraduates, 6,000 graduate students, and 2,000 teaching and research faculty, and visitors from the public and other institutions.
Within Collections Access & Discovery, Metadata Creation & Organization facilitates access to library-owned content that is undescribed or under described, participates in partnerships to share expertise and provide innovation in data management, and engages fully in the mission of the University of Virginia. Reporting to the Manager of Metadata Creation & Organization, the Metadata Specialist supports that mission by collaborating with colleagues within and outside of the department and Library to ensure appropriate and timely access to published materials in all formats and languages.
This position performs original and complex cataloging for materials in a variety of formats and languages, and across all subject areas. Particular language needs at this time are Tibetan, Arabic, Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, and Urdu, among others. Creates, enhances, and maintains bibliographic records, providing accurate physical description, determining appropriate access points, and assigning Library of Congress subject headings and classification numbers, or accession numbers as appropriate. Creates and edits records in local databases as well as OCLC database in accordance with cooperative cataloging principles. Makes decisions regarding choice of records for inclusion in our local database, appropriate access points, level of cataloging required, etc., working with the user and database quality in mind. Works with a high degree of independence in prioritizing and organizing work and in decision-making.
Required: Bachelor's degree. 4-7 years' demonstrated experience with creation of metadata in a library setting. Demonstrated experience with MARC, RDA, and other library standards. Willingness to describe and classify materials in a variety of foreign languages, with or without reading knowledge. Demonstrated ability to create metadata according to established rules and standards. Demonstrated ability to work independently and collaboratively across groups to achieve objectives, and to communicate effectively orally and in writing. Excellent interpersonal skills.
Preferred: MLS or equivalent degree. Reading knowledge of at least one language in addition to English. Particular language needs at this time are Tibetan, Arabic, Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, and Urdu, among others.
To Apply: Complete a Candidate Profile, attach a cover letter, CV, and contact information for three professional references through Jobs@UVA (Posting #0622304). For assistance with this process contact Jennifer S. Harmon, Director, Library Human Resources at (434) 924-4695.
The University of Virginia is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer committed to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.
Jean L. Cooper
Metadata Creation and Organization / Content Access and Discovery
University of Virginia Library /

Friday, 15 December 2017

Duplicate copies of Census reports

Dear all,

Jan Usher at the National Library of Scotland has duplicates that she would like to offer and have rehoused - list is below.

If you are at all interested then please email Jan on:

Thank you.

Duplicate Census volumes

Travancore 1975 Census report

Mysore General Census report 1871

Mysore General Census report 1871 supplement

Native Cochin 1875

Ceylon 1901 Vols II and IV

Ceylon 1911 Occupation statistics

Ceylon 1911 Town & village stats. (2 vols.)

Ceylon 1911 Tables (2 vols.)

Ceylon 1911 Estate population

Ceylon 1921 report Vol. I (2 vols.)

Ceylon 1963 – Population (4 vols.)

Ceylon – the review of the results of the Census of 1911 (3 vols.)

Census of India 1971, part 1, chapters I and II (with additional title: Indian census through a hundred years by D. Natarajan] (Census centenary monograph no 2).

Census of India 1971 – Economic and socio-cultural dimensions of regionalisation – An Indo-USSR collaborative study (Census centenary monograph no 7).

Census of India 1971 – extracts from the All India census reports on literacy (Census centenary monograph no 9).

Census of India 1971 - Age and marital status (Census centenary monograph no 8).

Census of India 1971 – India Census in perspective (Census centenary monograph no 1) (2 vols.)

Census of India 1971 – India Census in perspective – (Census centenary monograph no 1) - 3rd edition

Census of India 1971 Civil registration system in India - a perspective (Census centenary monograph no 4).

Census of India 1971 – Bibliography of census publications in India (Census centenary monograph no 5)

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Update from South Asia Open Archives (SAOA)

Dear Colleagues,

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
  • Women’s periodicals
  • 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 brief article 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.

Neel Agrawal
South Asia Digital Librarian, South Asia Open Archives (SAOA), Center for Research Libraries(CRL)

Friday, 15 September 2017

Symposium: Rethinking the Dutch East India Company?

Dear all,
The National Archives of the Netherlands finished the digitisation of its VOC collection earlier this year. To mark this special occasion, the National Archives and the Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University are pleased to invite you to our symposium on the VOC archives on 23-24 November 2017 titled Rethinking the Dutch East India Company? Old genres new trends in research and analysis. Asides from this, an exhibition on the VOC is hosted by the National Archives this year, which is attracting much attention.
Content and subjects
The symposium will address a diverse number of subjects related to the VOC archives, with the following question as the central theme:
To what extent has research in the VOC archives changed compared to a few decades ago and where will it go – or does it need to go – in the future?
Special attention will be given to the possibilities digitisation offers to non-western researchers and the study of Asian/African history and to the study of the negative sides of colonialism as well as to questions concerning the decolonisation of archive management and research. The preliminary programme is attached to this message.
Registration and enquiries.
The symposium will be held at the National Archives in The Hague and admission is free. The language of the symposium is English. Participants can choose to attend one or two days of the symposium. Registration can be done by filling out the form at More information and updates can also be found on this page. We advise you to register in time since availability of places is limited and we are expecting these to fill up fast.
We would greatly appreciate it if you would share this message in your professional network. Questions on the symposium can be sent to the project secretary at We hope to welcome you in November.
In behalf of the National Archives and Leiden University,
Kind regards,
Thomas Dresscher
Project Secretary VOC symposium
Nationaal Archief/National Archives of the Netherlands

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Naval Kishore Press - digital

The Naval Kishore Press was founded in Lakhnau in 1858 by Munshi Naval Kishore (1836-1895) and grew in the following decades to one of India's most important publishing houses.
The Library of the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University holds with its ca. 2,000 titles - 742 on microfilm -  issued by the Naval Kishore Press a representative cross section of the Press' publications.

Naval Kishore Press - Thematic portal on CrossAsia
On our thematic portal Naval Kishore Press you now have access not only to the Naval Kishore Press Bibliography, but also to digitised Sanskrit and Hindi works from the collection.

Among the 44 digitised works 22 titles have already been OCRed and converted to searchable and editable digital texts in Devanāgarī script and Latin transliteration. They can be accessed on Naval Kishore Press – digital.
The presentation platform offers a full text search in both scripts. A word or phrase found by searching the full text will be highlighted in the facsimile. Furthermore users can download a high quality OCR-PDF of the facsimile, where the text is fully searchable either in Devanāgarī script or in Latin transliteration.

OCRed Devanagari text from "Samasa cakra", highlighting "Visnu"

Facsimile page from "Samasa cakra", highlighting "Visnu"

 Some of the already OCRed texts are:
  • Tulasīdāsa: Rāmāyaasaīka. Lakhanaū, 1894.
  •        Kanhaiyālāla: Samāsa cakra. Lakhanaū, 1883.
  •        Dūdhadāsa: Rāmāśvamedha bhāā. Lakhanaū, 1900.
  •        Jacobi, Hermann: Jaina aura baudha ka bheda: Jain and baudhs taken from the introduction to the Bhadrabahu's Kalpasutra. Lakhanaū, 1897.
  •        J̱ālimasiha: Brahmadarpaa: upanyāsa. Lakhnaū, 1917.
  •        Jayadeva; Rāyacanda Nāgara: Gītagovindādarśa: arthāt Rāyacanda Nāgara-kta Gītagovinda saskta kā bhāā-pratibiba. Lakhnaū, 1926.
  •        Jānakī Prasāda Ātma Pyārelāla: Rāgavinoda: jisame bhajana, humrī, dādarā, pūrvī, bihāga, khammāca, kajarī, addhā, g̱aj̱ala, lāvanī va dohe ādi anekarāga varita haiṃ. Lakhnaū, 1914.
More texts are in preparation. We are looking forward to your feedback!

For questions and suggestions please contact:
Nicole Merkel-Hilf
Subject librarian, Digital Collections

Friday, 18 August 2017

Rediscovered: Persian poets and poetry

James White writes

Over the past weeks, I have been cataloguing some of the Persian literary manuscripts in the University of Manchester Library, on a John Rylands Research Institute project sponsored by the Soudavar Foundation.

Sketch of a man in Qajar dress
(found in Persian MS 918)
The Library houses around a thousand Persian manuscripts that came to Manchester after circulating in Iran and India. Some of these are rare works, such as the only substantially complete copy known of ʿAwfī’s Lubāb al-albāb (Persian MS 308), the earliest extant biographical compendium of poets in Persian. Then there is the first volume of ʿAlī Ibrāhīm Khān’s Khulāṣat al-kalām (Persian MS 318), an autograph copy of an anthology of narrative poetry, selected and compiled by a judge who lived in Varanasi in the late eighteenth century. Other manuscripts are significant because they date from the life of the compiler, or just after, like the copies of Tuḥfa-yi Sāmī (Persian MS 317) and Taẕkira-yi Naṣrābādī (Persian MS 315).

I have made some discoveries. Some of the manuscripts had not been identified previously, or had been misidentified. Persian MS 328 (below) turns out to be an anthology compiled by the poet Bāsiṭī (fl.c. 1160/1747). Although anthologies often arrange poems by author, this one is more of a handbook of images. Each chapter takes a different idea, such as ‘On Expectation’, or ‘On Remembering and Forgetting’, and selects lines that engage with the overarching theme. Curiously, Bāsiṭī still refers to this work as a taẕkira (biography) in his preface, a habit that he continued in his other collections of poetry that are not biographical in their genre.

Beginning of Bāsiṭī’s anthology
(Persian MS 308, folio 10b)

Another previously misidentified work in the collection is Persian MS 648, entitled ʿĀshiq ū maʿshūq: Hamīsha Bahār. It was previously thought that this was a copy of the anthology compiled by Ikhlāṣ Chand, but the text is a narrative that follows the adventures of a prince, as he travels through Kashmir in search of the meaning of love. The final line of the work gives the name of the author as Fānī, and the text is dated elsewhere in the manuscript as having been written in 1051/1641-2. On the basis of the name, the date, and the thematic link to Kashmir, the work can be ascribed to the poet Fānī Kashmīrī (d.1081/1671-2). A third previously misidentified work is Persian MS 457, which turns out to be an encyclopaedia compiled for the Quṭb Shāh Abū l-Manṣūr Abū l-Naṣr al-Muẓaffar Sultān ʿAbdallāh.

Sketch of a woman in youth and age
(found in Persian MS 918)
Apart from the texts themselves, the manuscripts have been full of intriguing surprises that provide a glimpse into the lives of their former owners. For example, loose in the pages of Persian MS 918, a copy of Luṭf ʿAlī Bayg’s Ātashkada, is a small leaf with two portraits sketched on it in pencil. One side depicts a man in Qajar dress (see top of page), while the other consists of a drawing that represents a young woman when held from one end, and an elderly woman when held from the other (left).

Descriptions for the twenty-four manuscripts included in the project have been uploaded to Fihrist, alongside briefer records for the whole collection which were created with support from the British Institute for Persian Studies and the Iran Heritage Foundation. Images of selected Persian manuscripts are available via our online Image Collections.