South Asia Open Archives Digitizes Historical Material

Image: Mandirera Kathā Three Temples

Monday, September 11, 2017
Neel Agrawal -

Over the past year, a group of nearly 25 research libraries came together to create the new entity called the South Asia Open Archives (SAOA) — affiliated with the South Asia Materials Project (SAMP). The effort will establish a cooperative network among libraries from around the world, dedicated to creating a freely accessible, open-access, and curated collection of historical research materials on South Asia.

Historical research materials in English and other South Asian languages are being digitized and prepared by SAOA for online public access. This material includes, for example:

  • Colonial-era administrative and trade reports
  • Women’s periodicals
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Census materials and gazetteers
  • Important literary and other monographic sources

SAOA has already begun digitizing a selection of early twentieth-century monographs listed in the National Bibliography of Indian Literature, including Bengali titles Mandirera Kathā and Gāna: Sarala Svaralipisambalita. SAOA has also recently collaborated with the Roja Muthiah Research Library (RMRL) in Chennai, India to digitize two Tamil women’s journals from the early 1900s, Mātar Maṉōrañciṉi and Peṇ Kalvi

For more information about this important initiative, visit the How to Become a Member of SAOA webpage. In addition, South Asia scholars may submit suggestions for materials to be digitized by SAOA through SAOA’s online suggestion form.

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