The South Asia Materials Project (SAMP) at CRL recently launched the SAMP Open Archives initiative, to create and maintain a collection of open access materials for the study of South Asia. This major collaborative initiative is aimed at addressing the current scarcity of digital resources pertinent to South Asian studies and at making collections more widely accessible both to North American scholars and to researchers elsewhere in the world.
The Open Archives initiative will address needs in all academic disciplines, from the humanities through the sciences. Several criteria will be used to select and prioritize resources for digitization, including:
- Value to research;
- Utility for a broad population of users;
- Uniqueness (not available through other credible, sustainable sources);
- At risk – due to condition, environmental or sociopolitical factors, or other threats;
- Complementarity to other resources.
Preliminary recommendations for digitization during the first five-years include such diverse collections as official publications from colonial British India, nineteenth- and twentieth-century serials and newspapers, monographs, manuscript collections and archival collections. Selection will be guided by the Open Archives Committee, which will operate as a standing committee of SAMP but maintain its own decision-making structure and Executive Board to organize and lead the activities of institutions federated for the mission.
Resources created under the SAMP Open Archives initiative will be freely available via noncommercial open access. Support for digitization and other costs will be provided by membership fees, in-kind contributions (digital files or contributed work), and active grantseeking. CRL will serve as the legal, administrative, and fiscal home for the initiative.
To date, nearly 20 institutions have committed to participation in the Open Archives initiative, including libraries in North America, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The combined cash and in-kind contributions have brought in more than $500,000 to support program activities. The SAMP Open Archives Plan describes the initiative in more detail. For information on participation, contact Judy Alspach at CRL.