The South Asia collection serves the needs of the faculty and students of the Cornell's South Asia Program and interdisciplinary courses offered. These courses vary from beginning undergraduate to postdoctoral research.
South Asia consists of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and Bangladesh together with the Himalayan State of Sikkim. In the spring of 1858, President Andrew D. White went to Europe armed with formidable lists of books and apparatus to be collected. One of the most important of his acquisitions was the library of Franz Bopp (1791-1867), the famous German Sanskritist and philologist. Forty percent of this collection was on South Asia.
When the United States entered World War II, the academic community was suddenly brought face to face with the importance of South Asia. With large-scale federal support, particularly under the National Defense Education Act of1958, the establishment of the South Asia Language and Area Center brought about a program of South Asia area studies. Thus federal funds, plus matching grants (from the Ford Foundation in many cases) have been made available for acquisitions and servicing of the South Asia Collection. Cornell's South Asia Program was founded in 1958. The program holds National Resource Center designation.
In the 2002/2003 academic year, there were 184 courses taught in the South Asia program, 40 of which were languages courses. There were 35 faculty, 112 graduate students and 280 undergraduate students. At the end of that academic year, the degrees conferred were as follows: Doctorates 4, Masters 5, Bachelors 40.
The present collection reflects the history of the program and the interests of its faculty members. Languages and linguistics, anthropology, religion and history are collected in depth.
In 1962 Cornell joined the Library of Congress's PL-480 Program (now the Special Foreign Currency Program), a book acquisitions scheme designed by the federal government to use surplus currencies for comprehensive coverage of current publishing in the South Asia subcontinent. In 1971 the Library refined its coverage to selective languages. As of August 1973 the South Asia collections have achieved comprehensive coverage in English and basic coverage in the other languages selected in 1971. Since 1998 after the PL-480 Program's end, acquisitions through the Library of Congress Cooperative Acquisitions Program and purchases of publications from South Asia, within the scope of the collection policy, an attempt is made to obtain all major monographs and serials published in the rest of the world.
In 2003 the collection consisted of 308,124 volumes, 8,535 serials titles, 1,400 video/DVD titles, 2,124 sound recordings and cassettes and 23 newspapers. Library resources that support South Asia are spread all over the campus. Humanities and social sciences are housed in Kroch Library. Mann Library, ILR library (Ives Hall), Music Library (Lincoln Hall), Fine Arts Library (Sibley Hall), etc. are responsible for acquiring their own material. The South Asia Curator does all selection of South Asia materials housed in the Kroch Library and works with selectors from other campus libraries in the selection and acquisition of their South Asia materials.
Languages that are supported at the South Asia Collection are:
- Bengali (India & Bangladesh)
- Hindi Dialects: Pali, Prakrit, Rajastani, Sanskrit
- Nepali (India & Nepal)
- Urdu (India & Pakistan)
In addition to its participation in regional and national networks, Cornell is a member of the South Asia Microform Project (SAMP) housed at the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). CRL, which receives a full Special Foreign Currency Program set of publications, is considered to be the backup repository of serials for the Research Libraries Group (RLG).
SOUTH ASIA SUBJECT ORGANIZATION
Subject ECS CCI General works 3W 5W Philosophy 3W 4W Religion 4W 4W History 4W 4W Geography 3W 4W Social Sciences 4W 4W Political Science 4W 4W Languages & Literature 4W 4F Bibliography 3W 4W Audio/Visual 1W 2W