South Asian Historical Records and Climate: An Interdisciplinary Workshop *
Background: The British Library (BL)’s digitization initiative was first conceptualized in July 2007. In that year, the British Library Board approved an International Engagement
Strategy that commits the BL to a large-scale digitization of its major collections, and at the same time to partner other collections in danger of being lost. Over the last year, the
BL has proposed the need to devise an India Strategy in order to digitize its South Asia collections. The framework for developing the India Strategy has taken shape over the
last few months, in the form of BL and Higher Education Cell (HEC) collaboration.
British Library: The British Library, London, is one of the world’s greatest research libraries. Its collections contain over 150 million items, and their unique breadth and
diversity makes them a globally unrivalled asset. The India Office Records inherited by the BL constitute the single largest resource for Asian studies anywhere. The material
originating from India includes 500,000 volumes of printed books in all South Asian languages, 70,000 volumes of official Indian publications in the India Office Records,
275,000 volumes of the archives of the East India Company, India Office and Burma
Office, 30,000 manuscripts, 30,000 prints and drawings, 200,000 photographs and
Higher Education Cell: The Higher Education Cell (HEC), housed at the Centre for the
Study of Culture and Society (CSCS), Bangalore, was incubated by the Tata Trusts in
2007. It has since then built a significant national network of higher education institutions
as part of its effort to enable sectoral change. The HEC has been approached by the BL
to anchor its India Strategy because of its strong partner network in the country, which
can bring together: (1) major public and private archives; (2) key University departments
capable of housing the archived material and using it for teaching and research
purposes; and (3) technological partners capable of high-volume digitization.
Arts and Humanities Research Council: Established in April 2005, the Arts and
Humanities Research Council [AHRC] is a Non-Departmental Public body. AHRC
evolved from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, which was founded in 1998.
Their key aims are to: (1) Promote and support the production of world-class research in
the arts and humanities. (2) Support world-class postgraduate training designed to equip
graduates for research or other professional careers. (3) Strengthen the impact of arts
and humanities research by encouraging researchers to disseminate and transfer
knowledge to other contexts where it makes a difference. (4) Raise the profile of arts and
humanities research and to be an effective advocate for its social, cultural and economic
The workshop was co-hosted by Divecha Centre for Climate Change and the
Centre for Contemporary Studies.
Centre for Contemporary Studies: The Centre for Contemporary Studies (CCS),
endeavours to bring to the campus some of the best practitioners of different disciplines