World Libraries

The Global Resources Network (with a description of the Digital South Asia Library by Gerald Hall)

floral device Abstract

The Global Resources Network is a collaborative initiative of the major North American universities and research libraries to support international studies through the preservation and exchange of knowledge and source materials. This article documents the history and development of the program, and highlights three specific projects based at the Center — Cooperative African Newspaper Project (AFRINUL); German–North American Resources Partnership (GNARP); Latin Americanist Research Resources Project (LARRP); and the Digital South Asia Library (DSAL). Taken as a whole, the Global Resources Network and its projects facilitate unprecedented access to new resources and provide a framework of collaboration that can be modeled for other collection programs.

floral device Overview

Located at the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) since January 2006, the Global Resources Network (GRN) is a collaborative initiative of the major North American universities and research libraries to support international studies through the preservation and exchange of knowledge and source materials. GRN was initially established by the Association of American Universities (AAU) and Association of Research Libraries (ARL) with support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The GRN has two main goals:

  • To expand the depth, quantity, and diversity of information resources from all world regions available to scholars and researchers.
  • To achieve synergy among university and research library efforts to develop inter-related collections of international materials, through coordinated collecting and powerful systems for access, discovery, presentation, and delivery.

To achieve these goals, the GRN pursues several complementary activities. These include supporting activities that create widespread access to resources for international and area studies; preserving cultural, historical, and scientific information and evidence; and, building capabilities for informed stewardship of information resources.

The Global Resources Network (GRN) connects libraries in North America to institutions abroad through strong collaborative partnerships and sustainable programs. Institutions interact with diverse partners and centers of excellence that share an interest in making their material available to researchers worldwide.

floral device History and Rationale

The Global Resources Network evolved through the recommendations and activities of a variety of collaborative efforts of the early 1990s, most notably the Association of Research Libraries’ Foreign Acquisitions Project and the Association of American Universities’ Research Libraries Project.

The ARL Foreign Acquisitions Project was charged with investigating the forces hindering the ability of North American research libraries to build and maintain international collections. Detailed studies confirmed that the collective ability of research institutions to keep pace with publishing from abroad was declining, and that many important works had not found their way into North American collections. Additionally, static or declining budgets compelled area studies librarians to focus acquisitions efforts increasingly on “core” materials, resulting in a greater duplication of collections among institutions and a corresponding decline in “non-core” or unique collections. The findings of the project were published in the significant report “Scholarship, Research Libraries, and Global Publishing.” [1]

The AAU Research Libraries Project began in 1992 in response to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s critical study on the state of research libraries in the United States, “University Libraries and Scholarly Communication.” [2] AAU established a series of task forces, one of which was the Task Force on Acquisition and Distribution of Foreign Language and Area Studies Materials [3].

In its final report issued in 1994, the task force drew upon the Mellon study and outlined the confluence of challenges to the acquisition of global materials: increasing budgetary constraints, the decline of purchasing power of the dollar in the global market, an increase in international publishing, and changes in research patterns that create new demands for foreign language materials. The Task Force concluded that the challenges could not adequately be addressed through intra-institutional solutions, and that the “the key to improving access to and delivery of international research resources is the creation of a network-based, distributed program for coordinated development of foreign acquisitions for U.S. and Canadian research libraries.” [4]

Among the recommendations of the Task Force were:

  • The major North American research universities and libraries should organize a distributed program for access to foreign acquisitions. This program should include the Library of Congress and foreign national and research libraries working together to organize a cooperative program that shares the responsibility for acquiring, organizing, and facilitating access to foreign acquisitions.
  • The major North American research universities and libraries should implement the program through demonstration projects that aggressively test the barriers to distributed access and evaluate their impact on faculty.
  • Universities should plan and fund the electronic infrastructure necessary to support the new avenues of access and delivery crucial to the success of a distributed North American collection.
  • University leaders and their research librarians should articulate incentives to scholars and faculty for moving away from local and toward remote access, so that an individual institution’s library may develop in-depth collections in a few selected areas, but provide remote access to many more in-depth collections.
  • Planning and development of the distributed program should focus special attention on meeting the needs of scholars and researchers and thereby build support among faculty.

The Task Force report included a proposal for three demonstration projects focusing on Germany, Japan, and Latin America, selected to test the viability of implementing a distributed, networked, coordinated collection management program for foreign research materials. These were implemented by ARL in partnership with AAU, and a broader international program was envisaged in ARL’s “Strategic Plan for Improving Access to Global Information Resources in U.S. and Canadian Research Libraries.” [5]

floral device Expanding Access

As envisioned by the AAU and ARL, the Global Resource Program (GRP) was established to provide the organizational structure and catalyst for the development of several regional projects undertaken by subject to improve access to international research materials through cooperative structures, the use of new technologies, and information sharing. In December 1996, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded US$450,000 to the newly created program at ARL. The award enabled the project to expand the three initial projects and add three initiatives for South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. The six pilot projects original created under the Global Resources Program were:

Originally intended to support three years of activity, the Mellon funding stimulated over five years of work focused on improving access to international research materials through cooperative structures and the use of new technologies. These projects, four of which are described in detail below, have excelled and continue to this date, with many obtaining additional funding and ongoing institutional support to expand their activities.

From 2003-2006, the Global Resources Program entered a transitional phase in which number of important activities occurred. In 2003, the Global Resources Program was reframed as the “Global Resources Network,” with a new Advisory Committee and a new GRN Vision Statement. The new vision statement reinforced the overall goal of “ensuring seamless access to information resources from all parts of the world, through fluid and mutually beneficial exchanges that strengthen international education and scholarship.” To achieve this, the GRN would pursue two complementary approaches in developing a new and more robust model for international information:

  • A series of discrete projects would focus on significantly expanding the depth, breadth, quantity, range of formats, and variety of international information resources available to our students and scholars.
  • A second, broad-based, long term and necessarily evolutionary program would minimize unnecessary duplication among and across library collections.

floral device A Strategic Partnership

The relocation of GRN to CRL was a collaborative decision developed by the boards of both the Center and ARL to bring the strongest resources to bear on the cooperative acquisition of critical international materials for students, faculty, and scholars at participating institutions. It was a natural fit, since the Center had actively coordinated two of the six programs — DSAL and AFRINUL — for several years, and had become the administrative home in 2004 to two other programs — GNARP and LARRP. The objective was to capitalize on the Center’s solid track record for supporting and administering ongoing international projects such as the Area Studies Microform Projects (, the International Coalition on Newspapers Projects (, and the Foreign Newspaper Microfilm Project.

The decision to locate these institutions under one roof has proven beneficial to each project separately and as a group of associated initiatives. The Center has begun to apply its expertise in project development and management to assist with fiscal administration, resources management, rights acquisition, licensing, and other project logistics. It will also seek opportunities to promote synergies, facilitate communications, and exploit efficiencies among and across all of the GRN projects as well as its own, related cooperative ventures.

Four GRN programs based at the Center — Cooperative African Newspaper Project (AFRINUL); German–North American Resources Partnership (GNARP); Latin Americanist Research Resources Project (LARRP); Digital South Asia Library (DSAL) — are profiled in the rest of this paper.

floral device Cooperative African Newspapers Project

The inspiration for the Cooperative African Newspapers Project was born of discussions and strategic planning by members of the African Studies Association’s Africana Librarians Council (ALC). In 1994, the ALC prepared a “Report of the Africa Task Force ... for the Association of Research Libraries Foreign Acquisitions Project,” [6] which recommended expanding cooperative efforts among African Studies libraries. The ALC, a long-standing committee focused on cooperative acquisition of materials published in or relating to Africa, sought a project that would benefit all libraries and researchers that used them.

The idea of focusing on newspaper acquisition, description, and preservation came early in brainstorming sessions. Newspapers published in Africa are consistently the only permanent, continuing publications that record political events in the countries of Africa. Articles, editorials, letters, announcements, cartoons, and advertising in newspapers provide a wealth of material for social, economic, and political research. These materials, which are notoriously difficult to collect, describe, and store, are vital to the historical record of Africa and an important component of all Africana collections in the U.S.

Further impetus was given the project by ongoing ALC efforts to provide accurate and up-to-date information on newspapers collected in U.S. repositories. For many years, Northwestern University’s Africana librarian, Mette Shayne, compiled an annual list of African newspapers currently received by American libraries [7]. This resource greatly benefited scholars and librarians seeking contemporary sources for primary research.

The core of the Cooperative African Newspaper Project is an online database of holdings information for newspapers (all formats and all languages) published in sub-Saharan Africa. The African Newspaper Union List (AFRINUL) has been the primary deliverable of the project and one by which the ongoing effort is commonly referred. Located and administered by the Center for Research Libraries, AFRINUL has been attracting growing interest from bibliographers, scholars, and instructors as a resource for African Studies students and faculty.

For some time, AFRINUL has included only Center for Research Libraries’ holdings and holdings reported in the most recent paper edition (1999) of African Newspapers Currently Received. Participants of the project have been gathering information on their own collections, but a low-barrier approach to entering information into the collaborative database was slow in developing. A major step forward occurred in the summer of 2004 when the AFRINUL administrative tool was tested with a limited number of titles from Northwestern University’s extensive newspaper holdings of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies. Once the administrative testing was completed, member institutions were invited to submit their holdings.

The administrative tool allows authorized participants to add, edit, and remove bibliographic and holdings information relating to their local collections. Utilizing a simple, Web-based interface, users can input a conglomeration of information (standard bibliographic fields, contextual information, and combined holdings of print, microform, or electronic issues) into an aggregated record. The information is immediately posted to the public search interface of AFRINUL, located at

From the beginning, AFRINUL has been based at the Center for Research Libraries. Limited funding of the project at the outset required participants to rely on voluntary staff time to complete the project, a fact that has caused delay in its final implementation. However, the Title VI National Resource Centers for African Studies have since agreed to provide funding to cooperative projects such as AFRINUL.

Meanwhile, use of AFRINUL is growing and researchers are providing positive feedback on it. Researchers can access AFRINUL from both the CRL Web site at and from links on individual Web pages of a growing number of African studies libraries. AFRINUL participants have reported varying degrees of local publicity on institutional Web sites, in faculty and graduate student orientation programs, in class and bibliographic instruction sessions, etc.

AFRINUL continues to be an integral part of regular meetings of the Africana Librarians Council. The fall meetings of AFRINUL and ALC are held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the African Studies Association, and are publicized in the conference program and open to all ASA members.

floral device The German–North American Resources Partnership

German is the native language of only three countries — Germany, Switzerland, and Austria — representing a small fraction of the world’s population. However, the cultural, literary, industrial, and technical output of German-speaking communities makes it the third most important publishing power — after English and Chinese.

In the years since German reunification in 1990, German language publications and resources experienced robust growth in overall size, diversity, and other measures. In the first decade following reunification, a total of 82,936 new titles were published in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, an increase of 22 percent. A relatively high percentage of this production is valued for its scholarly content. The creation of Internet sources and resources is also booming in German-speaking countries, with new products and publicly supported sites becoming available almost daily. Many of these resources are of great interest to North American scholars.

GNARP Origins

Recognizing this potential and the needs of German scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, the German-North American Resources Partnership (GNARP) was founded with a mission to improve transatlantic access to library and publishing resources — both physical and virtual.

GNARP’s roots go back to the early 1990’s AAU/ARL German Demonstration Project. A series of surveys undertaken by the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Western European Studies Section (WESS) at the invitation of ARL indicated that a significant number of important research publications from Western Europe were not being acquired by any North American libraries. Subsequently an article was published documenting the results of one of these surveys [8]. Since the German Demonstration Project was renamed the German Resources Project under the umbrella of the Global Resources Program in the late 1990s (and subsequently “GNARP” in 2004), the project has made substantial progress in forging closer ties between North American and German libraries in the areas of bibliographic control, collection development, digitization initiatives, and document delivery.

The original purpose of GNARP was to serve as a vehicle for cooperative and collaborative collection development efforts within the United States and Canada, essentially to ensure that North American research libraries had comprehensive, minimally redundant collections of materials for the study of German society and culture available to their researchers and students — in effect trying to recreate the library of materials at the disposal of researchers in Germany. However, the vision has been expanded in recent years to encompass resources in all domains of scholarship, and to focus more on access and cooperation among North American and German libraries rather than outright acquisition.

Comprised of more than 60 institutional members in the United States, Canada, and Germany, the partnership also performs a gateway function for German libraries seeking access to North American library resources. The recent transfer of operational responsibility to the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago has enhanced GNARP’s capacity to fulfill its goals and objectives.

GNARP Projects and Initiatives

The following projects and initiatives exemplify how GNARP services and activities promote and fulfill the goals and objectives of the partnership.

Contact Partnerships Project

GNARP fosters ongoing collaborative partnerships between German and North American institutions. Utilizing the framework of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Special Subject Collection Areas Plan, GNARP identified a number of subject areas, principally in the social sciences and humanities, for which to develop institutional partnerships. By identifying the appropriate German institutions participating in the DFG National Research Collection System (Sondersammelgebietssystemplan — SSG) and pairing them with U.S. libraries with similar collection strengths, GNARP hopes to develop partnerships to expedite the location of information on collection strengths, facilitate the answering of in-depth reference questions among GNARP partners, and extend collaboration to other projects (e.g., exchange of bibliographic and acquisition information, cooperative digitization efforts). The SSG partnerships was the subject of a symposium to be held October 5-7, 2006, in Frankfurt, Germany.

Consortial Access to Electronic Resources

GNARP has successfully negotiated consortium rates for member access to important scholarly resources published in Germany or in the German language. The following recent examples illustrate the diverse nature of these collections.

Xipolis — A suite of online German-language reference sources, including the 24-volume Brockhaus encyclopedia, 10-volume Duden dictionary, and a number of specialist tools in disciplines such as literature, music, film, and economics.

Digitale Bibliothek deutscher Klassiker — This resource brings together fully searchable digital editions of 133 titles in the Bibliothek deutscher Klassiker of the Deutscher Klassiker Verlag (DKV) series. The works include a broad array of materials ranging from the writings of medieval German mystic Meister Eckhart, to writings on war by Carl von Clausewitz and an online edition of the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.

DigiZeitschriften — Modeled after the JSTOR journal archive project, German academic libraries have launched an online archive of extended runs of German scholarly journals. An archive of over one million pages is planned for preservation, with more than 30 journals already available through the earliest issues.

BDSL-Online — The Bibliographie der deutschen Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft [9] (Bibliography of German Language and Literature Research) was started in 1957 by Hanns W. Eppelsheimer of the University of Frankfurt and continued by Clemens Köttelwesch. It is the largest and most authoritative index of published research on all areas of German philology.

Services and Other Collaborations

Catalog Services — GNARP has converted from the RAK German cataloging standard to AACR2 more than 15,000 MARC records for the large microform set Bibliothek der deutschen Literatur. This collection contains microform reproductions of important German first editions, published by K.G. Saur, in the humanities and social sciences. The collection is held by approximately 35 U.S. and Canadian libraries.

GNARP also was instrumental in the cooperative translation of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) into German. The translation project was completed in 2002 and published by Saur Verlag.

Cultural Expertise — The Bildarchiv der Deutschen Kolonialgesellschaft (Thesaurus of the Pictorial Archive of the German Colonial Society), hosted by the University of Frankfurt Library, is an online, fully searchable archive of 50,000 nineteenth and early twentieth century photographs. In October 2003, GNARP received a request from colleagues in Frankfurt to help make the site searchable in English. Helene Baumann of Duke University, the GNARP contact partner for African Studies, volunteered to lead the effort. With a Coutts Nijhoff grant from the Western European Studies Section (WESS) of ACRL, Baumann assisted in the translation and development of a searchable, online version of the Thesaurus.

All of these projects mobilize the efforts of dozens of librarians at member institutions and CRL with the goal of expanding transatlantic access for the benefit of libraries and library users in both Europe and North America. GNARP strives to achieve reciprocity in relations between the German and North American research library communities, and seeks to involve more German colleagues in its management and leadership in order to better pave the way for meaningful partnerships.

floral device Latin Americanist Research Resources Project

The Latin Americanist Research Resources Project (LARRP) was launched in 1994 when a critical mass of 31 North American universities joined together to explore new ways of building Latin American Studies research collections. The alliance was forged by concern that the diversity of Latin American cultural and scholarly materials available to researchers was declining due to funding reductions and over-reliance on a handful of foreign book dealers. The collective response was to devise new approaches for acquiring Latin American materials and providing greater access to the materials held in U.S. repositories.

With support from the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), LARRP’s concerns and planning were brought to the attention the larger arena of Latin American scholars, including the Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC), the exemplary Latin American area studies program at the University of Texas-Austin. An early LARRP decision to partner with LANIC resulted in collaboration on two important digital projects, summarized below.

Latin American Periodicals Table of Contents (LAPTOC)

One of the primary LARRP objectives was to itemize the vast wealth of content locked up in library stacks. Participants found that the majority of Latin American journals were not indexed in the key scholarly periodical indexes. To address this issue, LARRP created a table of contents database in 1996 and required that all members contribute table of contents information from 11 journals not indexed elsewhere. Utilizing a remote Web-based administrative tool developed by LANIC, each member is able to input journal content information directly from their institution. Results have been impressive: after eight years, the LAPTOC database offers access to more than 230,000 articles from more than 860 Latin American journals. The tables of content are freely available over the Web. Users from LARRP member institutions can request articles directly from their interlibrary loan departments through the database.

Presidential Messages

The importance of official publications to scholars and the fact that they were not bound by copyright issues led the project to digitize Presidential Messages from Argentina (1810-1993) and Mexico (1821-1989). The LANIC provided Internet access to these indexed images through its Web site. The value of these messages among scholars is significant, as indicated by the 300,000 hits the site received last year.

Additional LARRP Projects

The initial LARRP projects were funded through the AAU and ARL by an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant. Follow-up funding through two Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access (TICFIA) grants from the U.S. Department of Education enabled LARRP to redesign and upgrade the LAPTOC database to meet current database standards, including the following:

  • A query module with robust searching capability
  • Advanced searching features with e-mail export capacity
  • Links to available full-text journal articles
  • Enhanced bibliographic data on each journal
  • A capacity for simultaneous updating of articles

The initial TICFIA grant (1999-2002), provided to LARRP through the University of Texas at Austin, also enabled LARRP to expand its membership into Latin America and to create an Internet portal for full-text resources. The membership expansion effort resulted in the addition of seven Latin American members and contributions to the LAPTOC database from more than 150 Latin American journals. The Internet portal led to the development of the open archives initiative described below.

Distributed Resources

Following the initial digital projects, the participating institutions broadened their collecting activities to acquire secondary materials through the Distributed Resources project. To fund the effort, participating members were asked to voluntarily allocate seven percent of their annual Latin American Studies funds to acquire materials in a specific country or subject area. By the late 1990s, more than US$300,000 a year was raised by 30 LARRP institutions for these materials. The project also energized bibliographers at participating institutions. CRL coordinates the dissemination of information about the project and its successes.

Open Archives Initiative

Latin American specialists have long recognized that Latin American scholarly institutions produce important research that is seldom seen by interested scholars in other regions. The second TICFIA grant (2002-2005), funded this time through the University of California, Los Angeles, enabled LARRP partners to establish the Latin American Open Archives Project (LAOAP) (see, which provides the scholarly community with access to a wide variety of Latin American reports, statistics, and surveys. The project utilizes the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting — an emerging standard for providing access and enhance searching capabilities to digital resources — and enables desktop delivery worldwide of “grey literature” to social science scholars.

The LARRP efforts could not have been completed without the countless hours of labor contributed by scholars at member institutions. Further, the LARRP vision to improve access and acquisitions would not have happened without generous support from the AAU, ARL, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Department of Education. Taken together — the outside funding and the dedicated labor of so many — have moved Latin American Studies bibliography solidly into the digital realm and accorded the project legitimacy among libraries and scholars.

floral device Digital South Asia Library (by Gerald Hall)

Beginning in the early 1990s, American research libraries were confronted with a pressing problem. The decreasing value of the U.S. dollar and the increasing cost of all library acquisitions threatened the quantity and quality of acquisitions for area studies. As a result, a task force of the Association of American Universities Research Libraries Project proposed “the creation of a network-based, distributed program for coordinated development of foreign acquisitions for U.S. and Canadian research libraries.” [10] The Digital South Asia Library (DSAL), became one of six programs participating in the Global Resources Program — originally developed by the Association of American Universities (AAU) together with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and initially supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation — intended to address this problem. With subsequent funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access (TICFIA) program, DSAL has become widely recognized as an essential resource for the study of South Asia.

Since DSAL’s launch as a two-year pilot project in 1997, collaboration has been an important hallmark of its success in improving access to significant research resources concerning South Asia for a broad audience encompassing scholars, policy makers, and the public at large. Led by the Center for Research Libraries and the University of Chicago, DSAL maintains strong ties with institutions located in the U.S., South Asia, and Europe. Among DSAL’s diverse partners are: the Library of Congress, the British Library, the Roja Muthiah Research Library in Chennai, Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in Hyderabad, Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya in Nepal, the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Columbia University, the South Asia Microform Project, the American Institute of Indian Studies, and the Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation. These institutions have contributed both resources and expertise to the construction of a significant digital library freely available to a broad audience via the Internet.

Arranged among eight broad categories, DSAL currently is the home of more than one hundred separate resources with more than a dozen other resources in various stages of development. A more detailed description of a few of these resources will illustrate the essential research tools being made available through DSAL. Among those tools is the Imperial Gazetteer of India (, consisting of 26 volumes that comprise more than 25,000 pages of text along with scores of detailed maps. Compiled during the course of six decades and published in several editions from 1881 until 1931, the Gazetteer is acknowledged as “one of the largest and most influential exercises in imperial information gathering undertaken in the nineteenth century.” [11] The Gazetteer provides critical descriptions of cultural, geographical and administrative districts of South Asia under British rule.

As with many of the resources on DSAL, there is an effort to provide users of the Imperial Gazetteer with formats that appear familiar but also allow for the increased functionality that a digital format permits. Users are presented with images of pages that look and function in a manner that resembles the original volumes but at the same time can undertake full-text searches. In other resources, full-text searching is accompanied by the possibility of complex proximity searching. Furthermore, in the production of digital resources, DSAL has attempted to plan for the future and the implementation of new capacities. Provisions have been made for the integration of geographical information systems to better link the historical and statistical data contained there with cartographic representations of the subcontinent such as those found in A Historical Atlas of South Asia, edited by Joseph E. Schwartzberg, currently in the latter stages of development for DSAL.

Another important DSAL resource that exemplifies the benefits of close collaboration is the digital version of the National Bibliography of Indian Literature (NBIL) ( The NBIL is a select bibliography of literary texts in 22 languages compiled by a group of distinguished language specialists under the direction of B.S. Kesavan, a former director of the National Library of India. The NBIL implementation of DSAL provides not only the bibliographic details for more than 55,000 titles included in the original print edition but also additional information on those titles that were included in the Microfilming of Indian Publications Projects (MIPP) undertaken by the Library of Congress with the National Library of India that have been acquired by the South Asian Microform Project (SAMP) and housed at CRL.

The linking of bibliographic information with holdings information is an essential tool for scholars, and DSAL — with support from the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Endowment for the Humanities — is expanding this concept beyond the select corpus represented by the NBIL in order to develop a South Asian Union Catalogue (SAUC) ( The SAUC intends to gather existing bibliographic records from partners such as the Library of Congress and the British Library and combine them with new cataloging to create an historical bibliography of books and periodicals published in South Asia since 1556. The SAUC will also be a union catalogue in which libraries from around the world will be able to register their holdings and fill an important lacuna for research on South Asia.

These essential resources for the study of South Asian literature in numerous languages are augmented by the Digital Dictionaries of South Asia (DDSA) ( hosted by DSAL. A project of the South Asia Language and Area Center of the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and the Triangle South Asia Consortium in North Carolina, DDSA currently provides 27 digital dictionaries for the study of South Asian languages. In addition to textual entries, these dictionaries include sound files with pronunciations by native speakers. The ongoing development of linguistic materials continues with funding to the CRL from the U.S. Department of Education for the digital conversion and delivery of audio recordings from the Linguistic Survey of India. Compiled by Sir George Abraham Grierson during three decades from 1898 until 1928, the survey comprised 19 folio volumes amounting to almost 8,000 pages and described 179 languages and 544 dialects spoken in the subcontinent. The entry for each language and dialect included a version of the parable of the prodigal son, an oral narrative or statement, and an established vocabulary of words and phrases. These entries were then set within their social, historical, and scholarly contexts [12]. The audio recordings that accompanied the survey are a rare and fragile treasure that DSAL and its collaborators will help to preserve and make available to a wider audience.

Another of the lesser known jewels for the study of South Asia already available at DSAL is the American Institute of Indian Studies Center for Art and Archaeology Photo Archive. Founded in 1961, the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) is a consortium of U.S. universities and colleges engaged in research in South Asia. Among its numerous activities in support of scholarship, the AIIS maintains research centers and facilities in South Asia and is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). At the Center for Art and Archaeology in Gurgaon, India the AIIS houses an archive of more than 120,000 photographs and color slides documenting South Asian art and archaeology. The renowned collection forms the basis of the monumental multivolume Encyclopaedia of Indian Temple Architecture [13].

The collection of a large database of art from Indian monuments will, it is hoped, not only inform existing scholarship but also foster new approaches to understanding art and architecture. By presenting scholars with a large corpus to consider and compare, it is hoped that the wider contexts of production and meaning will be analyzed and explained.

Among the more fascinating recent uses of the AIIS photo archive is a project, spearhead by a team of scientists at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zurich) to restore a pair of the colossal fifth century Buddha statues in Afghanistan that were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. The ETH Zurich team used photographs from the AIIS Center for Art and Archaeology Photo Archive to help create a computer reconstruction of the Great Buddha that can serve as an exact model for the eventual restoration of the monument [14]. In this way, the AIIS collection on DSAL has contributed to the stewardship of the cultural heritage of South Asia.

In the spring of 2005, CRL was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access (TICFIA) program to continue the work of DSAL in improving access to vital resources on South Asia. This project, funded at US$788,000 for the four years of its duration, builds upon the foundation and experience of DSAL through its three previous grant phases. In addition to efforts such as the South Asia Union Catalogue and the Linguistic Survey mentioned above, the grant project will pursue preservation and indexing of highly select periodicals published in South Asia, and will begin to construct a framework to support international electronic article delivery on demand from the South Asian subcontinent to readers in the U.S.

Through these activities, DSAL will continue to foster and coordinate the collaboration of a variety of partners in order to provide new and innovative resources for scholarship.

floral device Conclusion

GRN fosters, supports, and coordinates discrete projects among North American and overseas participants to build cooperative collections and access mechanisms. The GRN also provides a framework for leadership and strategies to maximize the diversity of acquired resources and support enhanced access to existing collections.

The projects described above are examples of partnerships that can serve as models for activity in other subjects, regions, or languages. The “Network” aspect of the GRN means that the projects are committed to working together to share expertise, technology, and best practices. Within the GRN projects, several types of common activities exist where sharing of expertise and resources might yield savings and other benefits. Those common activities include (but are not limited to):

Identification/Discovery of Resources

  • Projects engaging in the construction and delivery of union lists. These include AFRINUL, DSAL, the SEA Indexing Project, and the Japan Project’s Union List of Japanese Serials and Newspapers. Related non-GRN projects that feature this activity include the International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON), the South Asia Union Catalog initiative (funded by the Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Department of Education), and Middle East Research Journals (MERJ) project of the Digital Library for International Research (DLIR).
  • Projects enhancing access through the creation of electronic indexes and tables of contents, such as LARRP, DSAL, and the SEA Indexing Project. MERJ also aims to deliver such content.
  • Projects exposing and aggregating research resources via technologies such as the Open Archives Initiative. This activity is included in current grant-funded phases of DSAL, the SEA Indexing Project, and LARRP.
  • Projects improving access to and interoperability of discovery tools through instructional techniques, professional training, or assistance with bibliographic control. This includes GNARP’s translation of AACR2 rules and subsequent training. Related projects include the North American Coordinating Council (NCC) on Japanese Library Resource’s training initiatives and the South Asia Union Catalog training conferences in India.

Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery

  • Projects facilitating arrangements among participating libraries for the delivery of returnable and non-returnable items. These include the Japan Project, GNARP, and LARRP. Conceivably, AFRINUL and the SEA Indexing Project could extend into this activity.

Cooperative Collection Development and Distribution

  • Projects engaging in coordinated, purposeful direction of collecting responsibilities among partners. Such examples include the distributed collection component of LARRP, the partnership agreements of GNARP, and the related NCC Multi–Volume Sets project. The CRL–administered Area Studies Microform Projects are another form of cooperative collection and access to be considered as models of activity.

Development of Digital Collections and Electronic Resources

  • Projects actively engaging in digitization of resources for display or delivery over the Web. These include DSAL and LARRP. Related projects include CRL’s Brazilian Government Document Digitization Project, DLIR, and increasing activity by the AMPs.
  • Projects acquiring or licensing digital content for participants’ use. These include GNARP, current efforts being explored by LARRP, and efforts by and the related NCC Digital Resources Committee.

Sharing of expertise and resources among such projects would do much to extend the scope and scale of GRN activities. Already, a few of the projects are moving beyond area-specific projects to become more interconnected programs sharing diverse resources. GNARP extends far beyond access to “German studies” resources, focusing broadly on bi-national cooperation among German and North American libraries to share materials across multiple subject areas. Similarly, the Japan Project’s Global ILL Framework seeks to expand its audience to include other institutions and individuals beyond those seeking Japanese resources. DSAL, GNARP, and LARRP are focusing on extending the number of participants in the projects both from North America and from the regions of interest. Participation may conceivably extend into other world regions as well, as in the case of the British Library and University of Sydney with DSAL.

The Center for Research Libraries is committed to fostering the cross-regional applicability of activities and models. Because an increasing amount of advanced research spans multiple regions, CRL will favor activities that can be applied to preserving materials from multiple regions and that support interdisciplinary and cross-cultural research. CRL’s role is to facilitate sharing of expertise, equipment, technologies, and other resources for the preservation of critical source materials among region-based and discipline-based projects.

floral device Appendix: Guide to acronyms of relevant library organizations and projects

AAUAssociation of American Universities
ACRLAssociation of College and Research Libraries
AFRINULCooperative African Newspaper Project
ALCAfricana Librarians Council
AMPsArea Studies Microform Projects
ARLAssociation of Research Libraries
CRLCenter for Research Libraries
DLIRDigital Library for International Research
DSALDigital South Asia Library
GNARPGerman–North American Resources Partnership
GRNGlobal Resources Network
ICONInternational Coalition on Newspapers
LANICLatin American Network Information Center
LARRPLatin Americanist Research Resources Project
MERJMiddle East Research Journals project
NCCNorth American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
SEA IndexingSoutheast Asia Indexing Project
TICFIATechnological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access
WESSWestern European Studies Section

floral device Acknowledgements

This article was compiled from contributions from Judy Eckoff (Project Coordinator, GRN, Center for Research Libraries); David Easterbrook (Curator, Africana Library at Northwestern University); Gerald Hall, Project Manager, DSAL, Center for Research Libraries); James Nye (Bibliographer for Southern Asia at the University of Chicago); Jeffrey Garrett (Assistant University Librarian for Collection Management at Northwestern University Library); and, Scott Van Jacob (Iberian and Latin American Studies Subject Librarian at University of Notre Dame).

floral device Notes

[1] Reed-Scott, Jutta. 1996. Scholarship, research libraries, and global publishing: The result of a study funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Washington, D.C.: Association of Research Libraries.

[2] Cummings, Anthony M. 1992. University libraries and scholarly communication: A study prepared for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. [Washington, D.C.]: Published by the Association of Research Libraries for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

[3] AAU Task Force on Acquisition and Distribution of Foreign Language and Area Studies Materials. Charge. At (accessed November 2, 2006).

[4] AAU Task Force on Acquisition and Distribution of Foreign Language and Area Studies Materials. 1994. “Report of the AAU Task Force on Acquisition and Distribution of Foreign Language and Area Studies Materials.” At (accessed November 2, 2006).

[5] Association of Research Libraries. 1995. “Strategic Plan for Improving Access to Global Information Resources in U.S. and Canadian Research Libraries.” At (Accessed November 2, 2006).

[6] Association of Research Libraries Foreign Acquisitions Project. Africa Task Force. 1994. “Report of the Africa Task Force of the African Studies Association’s Africana Librarians Council for the Association of Research Libraries Foreign Acquisitions Project.” At (Accessed November 2, 2006).

[7] Shayne, Mette and Britz, Daniel A. 1999. African newspapers currently received by American libraries. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Library.

[8] Walden, Barbara, and Fineman, Charles. 1994. “Western European political science: An acquisition study,” College & Research Libraries News; 55(4): 286-295.

[9] Bibliographie der deutschen Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft. 1969- . Frankfurt am Main : V. Klostermann.

[10] Association of American Universities/Association of Research Libraries’ Global Resources Program, “Report of the AAU Task Force on Acquisition and Distribution of Foreign Language and Area Studies Materials,” (Washington, D.C.: AAU Presidents Steering Committee, 1994), at (accessed August 31, 2006).

[11] J.S. Cotton, “Hunter, Sir William Wilson (1840-1900),” rev. S. Gopal, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), at (accessed May 3, 2005).

[12] R.L. Turner, “Grierson, Sir George Abraham (1851-1941),” rev. John D. Haigh, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), at (accessed August 30, 2005).

[13] Michael W. Meister, ed., Encyclopaedia of Indian Temple Architecture, (New Delhi: American Institute of Indian Studies; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983).

[14] Armin Grun, Fabio Remondino, and Li Zhang, “Photogrammetric Reconstruction of the Great Buddha of Bamiyan, Afghanistan,” Photogrammetric Record, 19 (107) September 2004, 177-199.

About the Authors

James Simon is Director of International Resources at the Center for Research Libraries.
E–mail: simon [at] crl [dot] edu

Gerald Hall is Project Manager for the Digital South Asia Library at the Center for Research Libraries.
E–mail: hall [at] crl [dot] edu

© 2007 James Simon.

© 2007 Gerald Hall.

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