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About the Guide to the Indexing of South Asian Studies Periodicals

About the Guide to the Indexing of South Asian Studies Periodicals The periodical literature from and about South Asia is immense, yet unfortunately only a small proportion of it has been indexed, either in print or electronic format. Even in cases where a title has been indexed, more often than not, the indexing sources and services have not remained current, nor have they grappled with the unique questions presented by the languages and scripts of South Asia. Without such indexing, the majority of South Asian scholarly material remains hidden from the researcher. This lacuna is only further complicated by problems of limited shelving space and the impending realities of non-browseable remote storage.

In an attempt to rectify this problem, we have created the Guide to the Indexing of South Asian Studies Periodicals. In the project at hand, our aims are twofold:

  1. to identify and list South Asian periodical titles and
  2. to identify if a particular title has been indexed and if so, to what extent.

Identifying South Asian periodical titles:

We have begun the identification and listing of South Asian periodicals based on the University of Wisconsin's collection and on titles listed through the Library of Congress' Cooperative Acquisitions Programs in New Delhi and Islamabad. When we have exhausted those collections and lists, we will expand to include other lists such as those we can identify from Ulrich's Guide to Periodical Literature, Shaw and Quraishi's Bibliography of South Asian Periodicals, and the like. For more information about the serials that have been included in this Guide, please see Serials Included in the guide.

Where possible, the database represents titles in their original script and uses diacritics in transliteration. To view these scripts properly, one should have a Unicode-enabled browser. At this point in time, scripts and diacritics appear most properly if one uses Firefox. In searching, diacritics should be ignored and original scripts can be searched either by cutting and pasting from other sources or by using alternate keyboards. All transliterated titles have followed the ALA-LC Romanization tables. For the proper display of Tibetan characters, the Tibetan Machine Uni font may have to be installed on your computer (available on the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library site) Sinhala fonts sometimes also have difficulty displaying, depending on individual computer settings; if Sinhala is not displaying properly, please download a Sinhala Unicode font from the South Asia Language Resource Center.

We have tried to have only one listing per periodical title, even if that title has changed over the years. The "main title" will represent the most recent title while previous titles will be listed as "other titles;" dates of publication will span the earliest year recorded through the most recent. Other notes relevant to the title (changes in publishers, etc.) may be found in "description."

Anticipating future developments for cross-resource searching and wanting to build upon existing standards, we have used Library of Congress subject headings for subject description. These subject headings were taken directly from records in OCLC/Worldcat or in UW's online catalog, Madcat.

Identifying and listing indexing sources:

Because indexing sources vary greatly from each other, in compiling this Guide, we have devised the following rationales for inclusion of sources:

  • We have only included indexing sources that have approached their indexing in a systematic manner (for example, by listing the periodical titles consulted).
  • When apparent, we have noted the dates of indexing coverage for a particular title and ascertained if all issues were indexed or not. If the dates or absolute coverage were unclear, we have added the term "selected."
  • For periodical titles that are not exclusively South Asian in content, particularly those indexed in electronic indexing sources, we decided to include a periodical title if searching the subject term "India" brought up at least three "significant" citations (i.e., in reference to substantive articles and not in reference to book reviews, etc.). Our rationale was to err on the side of inclusiveness.

The conflicting demands of our desire to include as much data as possible about an indexing source and the standards and conventions of database design have precluded us from being able to internally sort all periodical titles by their indexing source. Realizing, however, that this is important both intellectually and bibliographically, we suggest directly searching indexing source titles as a means of sorting the data. For example, a guided search of "Bibliography of Asian Studies" as a phrase in the "indexed in" field would sort all periodical titles indexed in that source.

We have included a list of the indexing sources consulted in the compilation of the Guide to the Indexing of South Asian Periodical Literature.

Titles can be sorted based on indexing type: print, electronic or print and electronic. These restrictions can be made from the "Sub-collection" pull-down menu in the "guided search."

Acknowledgements:

The Guide was made possible by a generous "Innovation and Development" grant from University of Wisconsin's International Institute, and further supplemented by funds from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Digital South Asia Library, the General Library System, and with the help of the Center for South Asia.

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