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South Asian Studies: Persian Collections

A summary of Yale University Library's South Asia Collection, which includes material from and about Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Himalayan region, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Persian Special Collections

This is a small selection of Yale Persian archival collections related to South Asia.  You can also browse the Beinecke Persian collection by doing a "Call number (local)" search for "persian" in Orbis. See some selected photos of the collection.

Arcadia 4: Complete item list

Arcadia 4: Digitization of Persian Titles

April 2013

Persian Titles: Conservation and Digitization

Through the Arcadia grant, the South Asia Collection at Yale University is expanding its digital presence.  Twenty Persian books will be cataloged, digitized, and preserved.  Both the digital images and the online catalog records will be made accessible by the end of summer 2013.

While most Persian works are currently published in Iran, these 20 older Persian philology texts selected for this project either originate from India, are rare European translations, or are reprints.  All of the selected items have fewer than 26 holdings listed in WorldCat, which places them all in the “endangered” category according to current Yale preservation standards. This unusual collection holds important information for any scholar interested in the literary aspects of the Mughal Empire in India or the history of Muslims in India.


[A sampling of the books to be digitized. Photo credit Sarah Calhoun.]

To facilitate the process of cataloging, conserving, digitizing, and providing access, the South Asia Collection is collaborating with several library units including Preservation and Conservation, Cataloging, Yale University Library Information Technology (YUL IT), the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Near East Collection.

Thanks to the efforts in Cataloging, all twenty items have already been cataloged and their MARC records have been uploaded to WorldCat, allowing them to be moved from the older Yale classification system and into the current standard Library of Congress call number system.  As a result, these books can be indexed for use in modern search interfaces.

Prior to digitization, YUL’s Preservation and Conservation units treated the books, and then sent nineteen of the books to a vendor to be digitized.  The twentieth, now held at the Beinecke because of its age, will be digitized in-house.  When the books return from being digitized, the YUL Conservation Lab will perform post-digitization treatment and then return the collection to the shelves for circulation.  Just as the records are currently visible in WorldCat, the digital images will be preserved and made visible in the Hydra repository being constructed by YUL IT for Arcadia-funded projects and other digital collections.  


[Notes from Conservator: "Before conservation treatment" - book was disbound to facilitate image capture; pages, including manuscript leaves were collated; treated to remove previous damaging repairs and reduce staining; textblock will be reconstructed post-imaging and rebound or housed after consultation with the South Asian Studies Librarian.

Handwritten notes read: "Chronogram: Hafiz shed dazzling light upon his learned train / As a pure lamp with heav'nly rays supplied / Thrice fake thou from Mosella's Earth its richest grain / Where sleeps the poet, mark the year he died."]


-- submitted by Sarah Calhoun, Elizabeth Beaudin, April 2013. From Yale Digital Initiatives - News & Events.

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Librarian for South Asian Studies