Monday, March 31, 2014

Persian Manuscripts at the British Library

This post is meant to update the information I posted a few years ago about Persian manuscripts in the British Library. Since I completed my dissertation, the BL has embraced a Persian manuscript digitization project. For an overview of the project and a list of the digitized manuscripts, go to http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/persian.html.

The British Library is currently engaged in a program to enable digital access to the Persian collections and has now reached the end of the second year of a planned three-year partnership project with the Iran Heritage Foundation and other supporters. The project involves creating catalogue records for manuscripts which are uncatalogued, standardizing the existing print records and creating digital files to make them available online. At the same time we aim to digitise 50 of the most significant manuscripts within the three year period. By the end of the initial three-year partnership, records of nearly all acquisitions made after 1903 will be available online. Currently, details of over 2,500 works are searchable on Fihrist, a union catalogue of some of the major Arabic script manuscript collections in the UK, and will also be available within the Library's own manuscripts' catalogue. - See more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/persian.html#sthash.seXivBPV.dpuf

The British Library is currently engaged in a program to enable digital access to the Persian collections and has now reached the end of the second year of a planned three-year partnership project with the Iran Heritage Foundation and other supporters. The project involves creating catalogue records for manuscripts which are uncatalogued, standardizing the existing print records and creating digital files to make them available online. At the same time we aim to digitise 50 of the most significant manuscripts within the three year period. By the end of the initial three-year partnership, records of nearly all acquisitions made after 1903 will be available online. Currently, details of over 2,500 works are searchable on Fihrist, a union catalogue of some of the major Arabic script manuscript collections in the UK, and will also be available within the Library's own manuscripts' catalogue - See more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/persian.html#sthash.seXivBPV.dpuf
The British Library is currently engaged in a program to enable digital access to the Persian collections and has now reached the end of the second year of a planned three-year partnership project with the Iran Heritage Foundation and other supporters. The project involves creating catalogue records for manuscripts which are uncatalogued, standardizing the existing print records and creating digital files to make them available online. At the same time we aim to digitise 50 of the most significant manuscripts within the three year period. By the end of the initial three-year partnership, records of nearly all acquisitions made after 1903 will be available online. Currently, details of over 2,500 works are searchable on Fihrist, a union catalogue of some of the major Arabic script manuscript collections in the UK, and will also be available within the Library's own manuscripts' catalogue. - See more at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/persian.html#sthash.seXivBPV.dpuf

Resource: Mewar Ramayana Online

Thanks to the sponsorship of the Jamsetji Tata Trust, the World Collections Programme, and the Friends of the British Library, you can now read an eighteenth-century version of the Ramayana online. The so-called Mewar Ramayana was commissioned by Maharana Jagat Singh II (r. 1734 - 1754) of Udaipur. Pieces of the manuscript arrived in Europe via James Tod, while other pieces remained in India and circulated through private collections.The manuscript has now been reunified through a massive digitization project.

The file is quite large and takes some time to load (it took more than twenty minutes to load and process it on my office computer). But it is so awesome. The British Library's "Turning the Pages" feature lets you flip the pages upward (rather than left-to-right, right-to-left), so you can experience it as it was meant to be read. 

The digital manuscript is accompanied by with a pop-up box of English-language guidance. 

Click on the image below to see the manuscript.

http://www.bl.uk/ramayana

Thursday, November 7, 2013

18th Century Route Map

I'm not sure how I missed Ursula Sims-Williams' post last March on the route from Delhi to Qandahar. The road book she describes is so much more elaborate (and beautiful) than the 4 versions of the Chahar Gulshan with which I've been working these past few years.* There must be some way to use all that rectilinearity in the representation of the route between Patiala and Ludhiana in my studies of imperial gardens...
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*Side note: I'm grateful to Ursula Sims-Williams for her help in procuring additional documentation about the Chahar Gulshan when I was at the British Library in 2008!

Friday, October 11, 2013

South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)

Kuhldip Singh on the George Gobel Show, 1956. 
Photo courtesy: Time, Inc.

I found this photo of Kuhldip Singh via SAADA (South Asian American Digital Archive). SAADA "is an independent national non-profit organization working to create a more inclusive society by giving voice to South Asian Americans through documenting, preserving, and sharing stories that represent their unique and diverse experiences."

SAADA portal.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Endangered Archives Programme

The deadline for the latest round of funding from the Endangered Archives Programme is approaching quickly (November 1).

2013 projects in India included:
  • EAP643: Shantipur and its neighbourhood: Text and images of early modern Bengal in public and private collections 
  • EAP687: Digitisation of manuscripts held by the Tibetan Yungdrung Bön Library of Menri Monastery, Dolanji, India 
  • EAP689: Constituting a digital archive of Tamil agrarian history (1650-1950) - phase II
2013 projects in Bangladesh included:
  • EAP619: Pilot project to locate and digitise endangered single-copy pencil drawn Thakbast/mouza maps in selected Bangladeshi districts 
  • EAP683: Rāmamālā Library manuscript project 
HOW TO APPLY.

Endangered Archives Programme portal.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Balochistan Archives

I was very pleased to see the e-mail from my former colleague at Rutgers, Sumit Guha, sent to draw attention to the online portal to the Balochistan Archives. So many of us would love to go to Pakistan for research work, and so many of us will not be able to that any time soon. The availability of online records and files is still limited, but I hope the digital holdings grow quickly and soon.What is online already is fantastic--I just spent a large chunk of time reading about the 1935 Quetta Earthquake.

Balochistan Archives Entry Page
Balochistan Archives Facebook Page

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Historical Documents of Rajasthan

Mathias Metzger has made available a nice resource for scholars in Rajasthani studies. I stumbled across it while trying to track down a Vakil report. I've never been able to purchase personal copies of the A Descriptive List of the Vakil Reports Addressed to the Rulers of Jaipur books, and I've lost track of how many times I've checked the series out at my home library. Metzger's catalogue isn't complete, but it's a great start.

Historical Documents of Rajasthan