South Asia Librarian
Monica Ghosh

Asia Collection
Hamilton Library
2550 McCarthy Mall
Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, Hawaii 96822




South Asia, as an area studies program has had a long history at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM). Collection of materials began in 1935 when the Oriental Institute was established. In 1962, the South Asia collection was administered as part of the East-West Center Library that sought to acquire everything published. The same year, the University of Hawaii was selected to participate in the South Asia Cooperative Acquisitions Program (SACAP) administered by the Library of Congress.

In 1970, the East-West Center Library was absorbed by the University of Hawaii Library, and its role changed from broad repository to a university collection intended to support the research needs of the students and faculty and the teaching curriculum at UHM. The collection continues to support these activities, as well as the programs of the Center for South Asian Studies (CSAS), which was established in 1985.

The South Asia collection supports PhD level work in the disciplines of agriculture and resource economics, anthropology, theatre and drama, economics, English, geography, history, linguistics, philosophy, political science, and second language acquisition. The collection also supports MA level work in the disciplines of art, Asian studies, communication, English as a second language, music, religion, and public health. Students may work toward an MA degree in Asian studies, with a focus on South Asia, or work through a departmental discipline toward either the MA or PhD degree.


For material selected through the SACAP, there are formal and informal selection agreements made with the humanities, social science and science and technology units. Science and Technology receives most of its South Asian material through the program. Program receipts for all other disciplines, which do not relate to Asia are set aside for selection by the relevant subject selector.

Topics which require clarification relate to books published outside South Asia and include: South Asian diaspora to the United States and other countries, Islam, South Asian music, art, and religion.


Materials for the South Asian collection are acquired from various sources. Most of the university press and scholarly trade publications from the United States are acquired on the Blackwell Approval Plan. Conference papers, dissertations and other publications from non-traditional sources, and European publications are individually ordered. The major portion of the South Asia collection is acquired through the SACAP. Current selection policy retains nearly all receipts in the humanities and social sciences deemed to be of use on this campus.

Languages: All significant English language material at the federal and state level is retained. Other languages include: Bengali, Hindi, Pali, Prakrit, Sanskrit, Tamil, Urdu from Pakistan, and European languages. The following languages may be found in the collection but are no longer acquired: Arabic, Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Persian, Punjabi, Sindhi, Telugu, Urdu from India, and Tibetan, from the government in exile, Nepali, the official language of Nepal, and Sinhalese, the official language of Sri Lanka.

Chronological: No limitations, but emphasis is placed on current publications. Retrospective purchases are made on request, as needed.

Geographical: Geographic scope includes: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet (government in exile) and Mongolia. Politically Afghanistan, Tibet, and Mongolia do not fall within the scope of South Asia. There is, however, a large body of material published and distributed through Pakistan on Afghanistan, and through India on Tibet and Mongolia. The collection intensity for Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet (government in exile), and Mongolia is concentrated on current English language collection.

Date of Publication: Emphasis is on current imprints, including acquisition of all significant current English language trade and university press publications and to a lesser extent current imprints in European languages.

Textbooks: Generally, textbooks are not acquired. Language textbooks in South Asian languages are acquired not for classroom use but for comparative language study in linguistics courses at the graduate level.

Type/Format of Materials Collected: All significant English language material at the federal level is acquired such as official gazettes, censuses, reference works, government reports, journals and newspapers. Maps are collected but routed to the Maps Collection. Media, including sound recordings, videos, digitals forms (dvds, cds, etc.), are collected and housed in the Wong AV Center. Appropriate online and electronic media are selected to support the academic programs at UHM. Microforms are collected.

Treatment: Nearly all treatments of subjects in the humanities and social sciences are collected. Constitutions, codes, and gazettes are acquired. How-to books, especially how to play musical instruments, and arts and crafts books are retained. Juvenile treatments of subjects are not acquired. Law textbooks, patents, rules of practice and commentaries are no longer acquired.


Cooperative and Exchange Agreements exist with the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), South Asia Microfilm Project (SAMP), and the South Asia Consortium for the West (SACWEST). CRL has long runs of South Asian newspapers and journals, and acquires local and state government publications, both monographs and serials, from all the South Asian countries. SAMP is a cooperative project to which the library subscribes. It places an emphasis on the preservation of retrospective files and in making available in the United States special South Asia collections from other countries. Microforms acquired or filmed are owned by CRL, but are available for loan to SAMP subscribers. SACWEST is a consortium of five institutions: University of California - Berkeley, University of California - Los Angeles, University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Texas - Austin, and University of Washington. The consortium was formed in 1994 to preserve the integrity and scope of materials of South Asia collections in the West/Pacific area of the U.S.A. The SACWEST consortial agreement is reviewed annually and renewed every five years.

The Blackwell Approval Plans provide material on South Asia that is published or distributed in the United States and United Kingdom. Some duplication of titles occurs since for South Asia, largely India, there is overlap with the SACAP receipts. Duplication is largely the result of co-publication with a major western publisher and is acceptable, since titles accepted for publication abroad are generally of high research value. Currently, all Oxford University Press and Sage Publications published in South Asia that meet the subject profile for UHM are received through the SACAP.

The publishing output of South Asia is extensive. This library has benefited considerably through its participation in the South Asia Cooperative Acquisition Program. An in-depth collection has been achieved and remains current through continued participation in the SACAP, and selection and acquisition of materials on South Asia published in other countries.




Last updated: October 9, 2003
Copyright 2003 All rights reserved.

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Monica Ghosh