Thursday, February 1, 2018

Abhilekh Patal

Guess what? The NAI really did implement a "digitize on-demand" function.

This is just a little update on my National Archives of India post. Judging from e-mails I receive from researchers working in Delhi, a lot of my advice re: accessing NAI collections in person is still true. But the prep stage for research at the NAI has changed a lot in the past few years, as the NAI's digital game has really improved. I added a link to the NAI's online interface to my original post awhile back. Since then, I've discovered the Abhilekh Patal portal, the newest entry point into NAI collections.

The first place to start with the Abhilekh Patal portal is the "5 Step User Guide," as it tells you how to sign up for access and structure searches (you need an account to see the digitized material). Once you're signed up, click the tab for "Digitized Collections".

As you can see, they started with the big guns — Gandi, Kassturbhai Lalbhai, S. C. Dixit. The Cartographic Records section is growing. Delhi maps outnumber maps of other cities/regions, but there are a lot of Punjab and Tinnevelly maps as well. Lucknow, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Hoshiarpur ...

The biggest digitized collection falls under the heading Public Records. Some data entry errors make it seem like they date back to 1551 AD, but those records are really from either 1851 or 1951, depending on the document. We're mostly talking late 19th-century into the 20th (i.e., colonial era) material here.

The tab for "Online Reference Media" seems to be an catalogue for all digitized material.

Anyway, this should give you a good idea of some of the holdings of the NAI — useful for writing your research proposal/grant application.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

AIIS Center for Art & Archaeology

If you're in the Delhi region (Gurgaon, specifically), one good place to start your architectural research is the AIIS Center for Art and Archaeology (CAA). But you needn't be in India to start this research — you can start at the Virtual Museum of Images and Sounds. This vibrant site is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, and provides access both to CAA resources and the Archives and Research Center for Ethnomusicology (ARCE). There are 1,000s of architectural drawings in the CAA archives. The photography collection is also extensive; some photos have been categorized by subject into Special Collections.

Take a look at the online Info Desk for advice on registering to use the collection, rights and permissions, and ordering images. To talk to CAA directly, see below.

Contact Information:
The Center for Art & Archaeology
22, Sector-32, Institutional Area
Gurgaon-122 001 Haryana
Telephone: 91-124-2381424 or 91-124-2381536
Fax: 91-124-2380843
e-mail: caa.archives@aiis.org.in
Contact: Dr. Vandana Sinha, Director

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Delhi Archives

If you're working on the NCR, the material you need may not be in the National Archives of India, it may be held in the Delhi Archives near JNU. I don't have any experience with this archive, but I wish I did, because the description of its holdings makes it sound great:

"This Department is in possession of rich and unique collections of original records, maps and microfilms relating to events took place in 1785 onwards. However, regular records series starts from 1857. These records are in English, Arabic, Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit, Urdu etc., Apart from records on paper, we also have records on palm leaf, birch bark, parchment etc. The records are broadly of three categories: Public Records, Manuscripts and Private Papers.These records throw light on the activities of the later Mughals, first war of Indian Independence, administration of Delhi before and after transfer of capital, role of Delhi in freedom struggle. They also shed valuable light on our social, political, economic and cultural life. In addition, there is a rich collection of Private Papers and microfilm rolls of records acquired from different archival institutions."

Contact Information:
Govt. of NCT of Delhi
Department of Delhi Archives
18-A, SatsangVihar Marg, Spl. Institutional Area (Near Eastern Gate of JNU)
New Delhi-110067
Email: ddarchives@nic.in
Phone-26512594, 26962800, 26535611
Fax: 26515993

Monday, September 4, 2017

Indian Memory Project

What an intriguing project. I first posted about the Indian Memory Project in 2011. It was small (maybe a few dozen photos), but looked as if it had potential. It's since grown in scope and content through the contributions of others. The images and text combine for a powerful digital history project. Really great work. Check out the list of recommended books as well.