Digital South Asia Library

Welcome to the What's New page of the Digital South Asia Library. Look here for periodic updates about new resources, on-going projects and other news.

Updated March 2010


DSAL has moved to a new server. Please let us know if you experience any problems with DSAL resources as a result of this transition.

DSAL is preparing for a significant revision of our Website, including the implementation of a new content management system. We are seeking input from users about these revisions. If you are interested in testing and commenting upon this process please let us know.

DSAL is pleased to announce that the University of Chicago has received a four-year grant from the US Department of Education for Technical Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access entitled "Audio, Maps and Images from South Asia".

As part of this new project, at least 8,700 early sound recordings on shellac discs from South Asia will be digitized and made available on the DSAL Website. Although not the exclusive focus, the project will place an emphasis upon recordings that hold value for advanced language pedagogy. To this end, the project will provide transcriptions for at least 2,100 select recordings. For an example of this kind of resource please see the DSAL resource: Gramophone Recordings from the Linguistic Survey of India.

Madras and Pondicherry map

Chingleput, North Arcot and South Arcot District and Pondicherry, 1914-15
from the Survey of India

Along with audio recordings, this project will selectively scan and make available via the Internet around 8,000 historical maps from the Survey of India. The method of delivery will enable integration into GIS software. An example of the kinds of maps to be presented can be seen in the thumbnail image of a map seen above. In addition, the project will create and distribute a select set of georeferenced vectors that correspond to historical administrative units. An example of these vectors can be seen in the images below which illustrate the kinds of changes in boundaries that have occured over time.

The vectorization will focus upon units for which data, such as census records, already exist. With digitized maps, historical vectors and statistical data sets scholars can use GIS techniques to show the development of some regions over time despite significant boundary changes. For example, statistics pertaining to the area formerly known as the taluk of Madurantakum in Chingleput district shown below might be compared and represented. The project will also make accessible a database of maps of South Asia held by the British Library.

Madurantakum taluk of Chingleput district in 1877 The same area divided into three taluks of Kanchipuram district in 2001

The project will also digitize and make accessible around 8,000 historical postcards of colonial India from the collection of Mr. Graham Shaw, former Head of Asia, Pacific, and Africa Collections at the British Library.

New Resources

Gramophone Recordings from the Linguistic Survey of India
Gramophone Recordings from the Linguistic Survey of India consists of digitized recordings originally collected in South Asia during a period from 1913 until 1929. Intended as a supplement to Sir George A. Grierson's Linguistic Survey of India published between 1904 and 1927, the recordings of stories, songs and poems were collected by provincial and presidential governments of British-ruled India in cooperation with Grierson and the Gramophone Company, Calcutta. We are in the process of finalizing the final url for this resource and will soon link the resource to the DSAL.

Distribution of Recordings from the Linguistic Survey of India