The Heritage Collection of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) Amsterdam moved to Leiden

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KIT Belder

When the library of the Royal Tropical Institute was forced to close its doors for good last year, it seemed for a moment that its splendid collection would be horribly fragmented or even literally be  lost altogether (to huge old paper recycle bins!). Despite serious efforts from various sides, it was, unfortunately, not possible to keep the collection as a whole in the Netherlands. The majority of the KIT library — almost 400,000 books and 20,000 journals — will be reallocated at the Library of Alexandria. The Heritage Collection, however, will remain in the Netherlands! On 12 December 2013 a memorandum was signed to make this unique collection officially part of the Leiden University Library holdings.

1,5 km paper and almost 25.000 publications have been moved to the Witte Singel where they have immediately been catalogued. Soon there will also be two websites with digitized material from that collection, among other things, a large number of maps. The newly obtained material is relevant to both students and researchers with an interest in the history and cultures of the Dutch East Indies, in colonial agriculture, economy and administration. The impressive collection of prints and manuscripts on and from Southeast Asia, Indonesia in particular, enriches the UB Special Collection splendidly.


Rare Malay newspaper in the Wellcome Library

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The Wellcome Library in London is one of the world’s major resources for the study of medical history. They offer a growing collection of material relating to contemporary medicine and biomedical science in society.

The Wellcome Library is currently developing a world-class online resource for the history of medicine by digitising a substantial proportion of its holdings and making the content freely available on the web.

The Library’s digitisation programme includes:

  • cover-to-cover books
  • video and audio
  • entire archive collections and manuscripts
  • paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, ephemera and more.

The Library was founded on the collections of Sir Henry Wellcome (1853-1936) and is best known for its medical materials. However, the Library also holds important Asian collections especially pertaining to medicine, religious practices, divination and magic, including Malay, Batak and Javanese manuscripts (described in Ricklefs & Voorhoeve 1982).

Wellcome Images, another digitisation initiative of the Wellcome Library, makes available a wealth of images, including images from Malay manuscripts on magic, photographs of Sarawak and Penang, watercolour drawings of Singapore and Johor, and a very rare a copy of an early Malay newspaper published in Singapore in 1877, of which no other copies are known to survive anywhere else in the world: Peridaran al-Shams wa-al-Qamar, ‘The revolution of the sun and the moon’.  

Annabel Teh Gallop had a closer look at this rare item and published an article on the Rare Malay newspaper at the Wellcome Library on the Asian & African Studies Blog of the British Library, explaining the historical context of this newspaper and providing the details of publications for further reading on that topic.

CDNLAO Newsletter

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The Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania has published its latest CDNLAO Newsletter, No. 78, November 2013.

A list of contents of the online newsletter, which include articles on rare book collections at the National Library of Myanmar, manuscript collections at the National Library of Thailand, and an exhibition on family histories and collections at the National Library of Singapore is available from the CDNLAO homepage.

The Conference of Directors of National Libraries in Asia and Oceania (CDNLAO) meets every year to discuss library issues of common interest and to promote resource and information sharing within the Asia Pacific region. The first meeting was held in 1979 and the Directors of National Libraries agreed at this meeting that the main aims of CDNLAO would be to exchange information and promote cooperation for the development of libraries in Asia and Oceania, to assist libraries in less developed countries through cooperation, and to understand the state of the art of library development among libraries in Asia and Oceania.


Documenting a frontier: spectacular hand-painted fabric maps of Burma

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Cambridge University Library welcomes you to ‘Documenting a frontier’ – an opporturtunity to view some spectacular manuscript maps of Burma dating from the 1860s, alongside rare early photographs of the region from the Royal Commonwealth Society’s collection.

The event forms part of the University of Cambridge’s Festival of Ideas (event 66) and takes place on Saturday afternoon, 26th October 2013 in the Map Room, Cambridge University Library. Ticketed entry is at three times: 1:30pm – 2:15pm, 2:30pm – 3:15pm and 3:30pm – 4:15pm.

Please book your place online at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/festival-of-ideas or by phoning: 01223 766766 (lines open Monday-Friday , 10am – 4.30pm)

Event URL: http://www.cam.ac.uk/festival-of-ideas/events-and-booking/documenting-a-frontier
For more information about the event, please email: rcs@lib.cam.ac.uk or phone: 01223 333146

Map of Maingnyaung region (Cambridge University Library, MS.Plans.R.C.1, courtesy of Rachel Rowe)

Map of Maingnyaung region (Cambridge University Library, MS.Plans.R.C.1, photograph courtesy of Rachel Rowe)

South Asian Arts and Crafts – 89th SAALG Conference

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The South Asia Archive and Library Group (SAALG) is pleased to announce that its next conference will take place in Norwich on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th July at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and the SADACC Trust.

The conference will explore South Asian arts and crafts and will include talks on:

Early British Observations: The Madras and Environs Album 1804-1808’ by Diana Grattan (Collection Curator, The SADACC Trust)

Indian anthropology and it’s archive’ by Dr Dan Rycroft (Lecturer in the Arts and Cultures of Asia at the School of World Art Studies, UEA)

Networked Artist-led Initiatives in South Asia‘ by Emily Crane (PhD Candidate, Sainsbury Institute for Art, University of East Anglia).

There will also be presentations by Taylor and Francis of their new ‘South Asia Archive’ and Adam Matthew Digital of the digital archive of ‘Foreign Office Files for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, 1947-1980‘.

For more detailed information and registration, please visit the SAALG Blog.

New library at the EFEO Centre in Chiang Mai

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In 2009-2010, the Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) built a new library on the grounds of its Chiang Mai Centre.  In July 2011, the library was officially opened to the general public by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

The collection, some 45,000 monographs and 40,000 issues of periodicals in Thai as well as western languages, constitutes a major resource for research in Buddhism and the history, anthropology, and art of Southeast Asia.

The reading room, with its windows looking into a tropical garden, provides researchers with a quiet, open workspace well equipped with reference works and electronic resources. WiFi access is free. The reading room also provides space for seminars and colloquia. Office space is being made available for resident scholars and students. Opportunities for scholarly funded residence are provided by the European Consortium of Asian Field Study (ECAF).

The library forms part of the EFEO’s rich documentary network including collections in Paris as well as the EFEO Centres in Siem Reap (archaeology), Hanoi (Han-Nom culture, contemporary history, ethnic relations), and Vientiane (regional history and anthropology).

Starting in 2012, the library will make rare documents available in digitized format. An additional mission of the library is the acquisition of Thai works for the collections of the EFEO library in Paris.

Opening times, contact details and updates on library projects can be found at http://www.efeo.fr/base.php?code=262 .

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