Dr. David Magier, Director of Area Studies at Columbia University Libraries, Co-chairs Center for South Asia Libraries (CSAL) Strategic Planning Meeting in India

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, March 19, 2002 - Dr. David Magier, President of the Center for South Asia Libraries, and Director of Area Studies at Columbia University Libraries will co-chair an international strategic planning meeting in New Delhi at the Indian International Centre in mid-March. The meeting for librarians, archivists, and scholars will lead to a consensus on the information needs in the field of South Asian Studies worldwide, and to map out the specific activities and priorities of the newly established Center for South Asia Libraries (CSAL).

"This is a historic event," says Magier. "South Asian Studies is a robust field in many parts of the world, but it has been relatively difficult to get at the most significant information resources to support that field. Now, with CSAL establishing itself in the subcontinent as an infrastructure for international collaboration with the most unique and important libraries and archives, a whole range of creative new access and preservation projects become possible. And these efforts will now be able to respond much more closely to the precise information needs of scholars in the west and in the countries of South Asia."

The Mellon Foundation awarded a $11,000 grant to fund this meeting to the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago, the administrative home of the Center for South Asia Libraries.

The grant funds the attendance at the conference for five high level librarians and scholars from the US (representing participating libraries and US scholars of Indian Studies and Pakistan Studies), one from the British Library, one from a cooperating archive in Nepal, one from the National Library of Bangladesh, one from Library of Congress New Delhi, three from Hyderabad, one from Calcutta, and one from Madras.

In early April, Dr. Magier will present a summary of the discussions and outcomes from the conference at a brownbag talk. Additional information will be available in late March and posted on the LibraryWeb news and events page http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/news/.

Dr. Magier, is President of CSAL, Bernard Reilly, President of the Center for Research Libraries, is CSAL's Vice President; and James Nye, Bibliographer for Southern Asia and Director of the South Asia Language and Area Center at the University of Chicago, is Secretary-Treasurer. CSAL's web site is at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/csal/.

CSAL grew out of initiatives begun collaboratively over ten years ago by Columbia University Libraries, the University of Chicago, and the Center for Research Libraries, a consortium consisting of universities and research organizations in North America.

Some of these projects are the Association of Research Library's Global Resources Program titled Digital South Asia Library Project http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/su/southasia/dsal.html, the Department of Education-funded Digital South Asia Library http://dsal.uchicago.edu/, the Digital Dictionaries of South Asia project http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/, the University of Chicago's Roja Muthiah Research Library http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/su/southasia/rmrl.html, and Columbia University Libraries' SARAI (South Asia Resource Access on the Internet) http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/southasia/cuvl/.

Tying all these and other initiatives together under one umbrella, CSAL is an American overseas research center designed to facilitate scholarly research and teaching on South Asia in all academic disciplines. It aims to preserve and improve access to the heritage of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, as embodied in their intellectual and artistic output in all forms. Additional information may be found on the Web at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/csal/.

Area Studies is a Division of Columbia University Libraries responsible for reference and research support, and for collection development in all subjects and languages on the following world areas: Africa; Latin America; Middle East; Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe; and South and Southeast Asia http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/area/.

For more information:

Dr. David Maiger
Director, Area Studies
Columbia University Libraries
(212) 854-8046