Monday, 23 August 2010


A wiki with which I am already familiar, and promote via the Centre of South Asian Studies website, and via the SAALG blog is the Libraries & Archives in South Asia (LASA) wiki.  It  is a collaborative attempt to produce an up-to-date guide to libraries and archives in South Asia, to help academics and researchers planning to visit South Asian countries to do research. Each wiki entry contains basic information - location and contact information, basic access and collection information and a link to the institution's website when it is available. More detailed information, including maps, photographs, links to online catalogs, etc. are provided when available. So far the wiki covers Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It was produced as part of the Digital South Asia Library project at the University of Chicago, and it is hoped that the researchers using libraries and archives in South Asia will increasingly contribute to LASA, keeping it up-to-date and developing it into a major portal for South Asian research.

The National Archives (TNA) have also introduced a wiki, My Archives, which they have been marketing to archives and special collections outside the National Archives.  It is a useful tool for researchers new to their collections as it includes electronic copies of many of the paper guides held in reading rooms. Researchers are in turn encouraged to contribute articles based on TNA's collections, enhance research guides or add data to the National Register of Archives. TNA warns readers that it does not vouch for the accuracy of data included in My Archives - as it goes without saying that it would be an impossible task to verify the huge number of entries.

I raised the idea of a wiki some time ago with the Cambridge Archivists' Group who manage the Janus portal, as I am constantly receiving emails from researchers/members of the public who have additional data about collections we hold.  Most would, I am certain, be happy to post their knowledge on a wiki similar to My Archives.  However, TNA employs paid staff to manage the wiki - a luxury we can not currently afford in Cambridge.

I was very interested to link to the TeachMeet Cambridge wiki and see what is planned at St. John's College from 5-7pm on 27th September 2010.  All being well, I intend to lurk enthusiastically (category 4.iv involvement)!

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