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The Southeast Asia Materials Project (SEAM) provides subscribing institutions with better coverage of research materials related to the study of Southeast Asia. SEAM will film or acquire films of such research materials and make them readily available to subscribers to the project.

From an initial focus on cost-effective sharing of resources in microformat, SEAM has become, with cooperating institutions and foundations, a major sponsor of efforts to preserve and provide access to rare or unique resources from Southeast Asia. Following deliberations at an international conference in Indonesia in 1969, SEAM was established in 1970 through the collaboration of the Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia (CORMOSEA), a component committee of the Southeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies, and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) and is administered by CRL. The member libraries fund SEAM projects and acquisitions through an annual membership fee; representatives of member institutions meet annually to discuss projects and to elect a chair and executive committee (consisting of representatives from three participating institutions and a faculty member chosen by CORMOSEA). Projects and purchases are approved by a mail ballot of the membership.

SEAM’s rich holdings include historic newspaper sets and manuscript collections filmed in Southeast Asia. In recent years, these strengths have been enhanced by donations from member libraries that received funding in the late 1980s from the Henry Luce Foundation for the preservation of scarce or endangered materials in the recipient collections. SEAM has cooperated with the Ford Foundation in sponsoring several significant manuscript projects in Indonesia, including the manuscript collections in the Palace and the Sonobuduyo Museum in Yogyakarta, the Faculty of Letter of the University of Indonesia, and the National Library of Indonesia as well as projects to film scattered manuscript collections in West Java (Sunda) and in South Sulawesi. For most of these projects, print catalogs have been prepared and distributed to SEAM member institutions and CRL. Other collaborators in these projects include the École Française d'Extrême Orient (EFEO) and the National Library and National Archives of Indonesia. In these projects, SEAM receives a use copy of film and the master negative is deposited with the National Library or the National Archives of Indonesia.

As the collaborative projects with the Ford Foundation in Indonesia come to completion, CRL, on behalf of SEAM, has received a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation for an initiative in Vietnam, which has established a preservation microfilming facility at the National Library in Ha Noi. The project will result in the filming of early twentieth-century vernacular sources in the romanized script, and archival sources in Vietnamese and Chinese scripts.

SEAM holdings include more than 300 historic newspapers from every country in the region, in national, minority, and English or other colonial languages, similar numbers of historic journals and government serials and thousands of historic manuscripts. The materials are available for loan to member libraries without restriction; nonmember libraries may have limited access to SEAM materials.

Some SEAM microfilm is available for purchase. For more information, see Microform Sales.

For questions or information about SEAM, contact simon [at] crl [dot] edu (James Simon).

SEAM’s workspace for members is at

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