Southeast Asia Libraries between Open Science, heritage collections and ethical standards of custodianship
Part 1Session 8
Fri 09:00-10:30 Room 3.01
Part 2Session 9
Fri 11:00-12:30 Room 3.01
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Bridging the gap: Managing colonial collections, best practices and opportunities at the Asian Library, Leiden University Libraries
Marije Plomp Leiden University
With the transfer of the KIT and KITLV collections related to the former Dutch East Indies/Indonesia to Leiden University Libraries in 2013 and 2014, the library’s Indonesia collection became the second largest on the world. A notable part consists of heritage material that has been collected during the colonial period. The last five year in particular, post-colonial voices from both academia and the broader society have called upon institutions holding colonial collections to critically assess their collections and the manner in which they are managed. Leiden University Libraries reacted with measures directed at bridging the physical distance between heritage collections and the various stakeholders in Indonesia. As a subject librarian for the Southeast Asia collection at the Asian Library, I will discuss in this paper these measures as well as other actions directed more generally at accommodating Indonesian user groups and stakeholders. Besides this, I will look into the best practices of other institutions that could perhaps be implemented at Leiden University Libraries.
From Malay to Malaysiana: Collection between Access and Preservation
Awang Azman Awang Pawi University of Malaya
Haslan Tamjehi University of Malaya
Since the establishment of University of Malaya of Kuala Lumpur’s campus in 1959, UML has been developing a collection of Malaysiana theme publications known as Malaysiana, technically defined as a publications about Malaysia published locally or oversea. The nucleus of the collection itself was inherited from a British colonial who initiated the field of Malay Studies at the University of Malaya in Singapore 1953. UML possesses a unique Malaysiana collection with research potential, however in general the information about it is still superficial. This paper aims to discuss the access of Malaysiana collection in the context of open science and to discuss the preservation of Malaysiana collection in the context of open
Researchers archives online and Open Science diktats
Louise Pichard-Bertaux Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Concerning Open Science, we receive more and more injunctions from our institutions to make data accessible but in reality, it is sometimes quite difficult to accord the necessity of publishing the archives and the interdiction to show personal data. It is particularly trus with the researches archives which are composed of field notes, drawings, photographs and which describe people. This contribution is based on digital archives on ODSAS platform, more specially on Denise Bernot, Lucien Bernot and Jacques Dournes collections. It will try to show how we can manage to conciliate opening injuctions and interdictions limits.
The Irony of Abundance: Open Science, Copious Resources, and yet Low Research Output
Taufiq Hanafi Leiden University
According to Bodo (2018), with relatively low per-capita GDP, underdeveloped electronic text markets, and rapidly growing student population, Indonesia belongs to top users and largest downloaders of shadow libraries. It ranks second in the use of Library Genesis via the B mirror after Russia and becomes a major traffic source for data transactions. In addition, other channels for open science and data dissemination, such as the official mailing list group for Indonesia’s largest scholarship program LPDP and accompanying social media accounts, have a strong archival function and consistently address the lack of access to digital copies. In this regard, despite the seemingly-illegal nature of this mode of sharing, to date, Indonesia does not only have the ability to access knowledge but also collect or even hoard. Nonetheless, Indonesia accounted for only 0.65% of academic publications in the ASEAN region and just over 0.2% of global publications, indicative of narrow engagement in science and weak knowledge sector of the country (Tilley and Pellini 2016). This paper aims NOT at negating the noble aim of libraries in the European setting at reducing inequalities related to access and opening up their collections for everyone but rather questions what can be done to address the issue of insularity in knowledge production.
Digital Collections of Shan Manuscripts: Access, Discovery and Evaluation
Jotika Khur-Yearn School of Oriental and African Studies/University of London
This paper mainly discusses the digital collections of Shan manuscripts that have been made possible for Open Access by digitization projects with the support of generous funding bodies and institutions in the last few years. Through both my participation in some of the digitization projects and my own research interest in the Shan manuscript literature, these digital collections of Shan manuscripts become the treasure houses for me to explore and discover great treasures of information resources on various areas of humanities and social sciences as I will show some examples in this paper. In addition to the digital collections of Shan manuscripts, I was also involved in a few projects on cataloguing Shan manuscripts, and consequently I came across or have been made aware of many more collections of Shan manuscripts that are still awaiting work on digitization.
Searching for ‘the real’ Doctor William Bosch in the Dutch colonial collections
Rupalee Verma Delhi University
As a researcher from India working on Dutch Colonial education, my first encounter with the name Doctor William Bosch happened when I started my research on Dutch colonial education for training vaccinators in Java. Researching this topic with some understanding of how the British colonisers had understood and treated the issue of communicable diseases and created the binary of “us” (the colonisers) versus “ them”( the colonised). Their solution to the problem was to create a system of medical education for “them”(Indians), which carried forward these binary by simply limiting the scope of medical knowledge required to be a trained vaccinators : what Homi Bhabha refers to as not quite and not white! Approaching the training and medical education of vaccinators in 19th century Jawa from this perspective, I perceived doctor Willem Bosch as just another representative of the colonial state dealing with a medical issue with a coloniser’s mindset. My initial research led me to find many primary and secondary sources which confirmed my initial impression. Fortunately, as I continued my search for the “ real” doctor William Bosch, I began reading his writings from the time of his return to the Netherlands from Dutch-Indies. There I met his new avatar as the critique of the colonial enterprise. For me as a researcher, the lines began to blur! Was William Bosch just a representative of the colonial state or does his role in attacking the colonial enterprise was obscured by colonial records overemphasising his role as founder of first medical school for Indonesians. Indeed while there was a great deal of material( official and unofficial) available about his role as the creator of doctor Java (dokter Djawa) school, not enough material could be found to recapture his role as critique of Dutch colonial policies in Indonesia. In keeping with the theme of this panel, I would like to discuss the problems I faced in my research on doctor Willem Bosch in terms of material available in the libraries in the Netherlands and how I dealt with the issue of “missing information” by remembering the most important lesson I learnt from my Dutch teacher : the fine art of reading between the lines. What is missing in the colonial collections becomes as significant as what is actually available in the libraries and archives. Ultimately, as a teacher and a researcher, I try to figure out that fine balance between the two.
The Thai tradition of manuscript copying and related curatorial challenges
Jana Igunma British Library
Until the introduction of printing technology in Thailand (then Siam) in the 1830s, the tradition and art of manuscript copying was one of the two main methods to preserve texts, the other being oral transmission by way of memorising texts. While some scribes and artists aimed to perfect their copying skills to produce luxurious manuscripts for the royal family, others explored ways to integrate their individual creativity and innovation with the process of copying, and yet others worked mainly for patrons who ordered custom-made manuscript copies for Buddhist ceremonies, rites of passage or personal use.
Whose Manuscripts are These? (The Problems of Authorized Custodianships of the Exiled Clerics Manuscripts in the Nineteenth Century of Colonial Java)
Wahyu Widodo Leiden University/Universitas Brawijaya
In February 1886, accused of raising a rebellion against the Dutch colonial government, Mas Malangjoeda, a charismatic religious leader of the Banyumas-based Akmaliyyah Sufi order in Central Java, together with seventy-two of his loyal followers, was apprehended and sent to imprisonment in Buitenzorg, West Java. Shortly afterwards, he was tried in colonial court under the colony’s criminal law and exiled to Buru Island. To add insult to injury, the manuscripts on Islamic mystical teachings that he had authored all twelve, were seized and brought to Batavia (Drewes, 1925:33; Kumar, 1985:46). With interference from Snouck Hurgronje, these manuscripts are now kept in Leiden University Library, coded as “notes of Malangjoeda” with Cod. Or. 7577-7588. This paper aims to investigate the detailed processes of the manuscripts’ acquisition. Whose sinful hands were used to expropriate these manuscripts from their rightful owner? This aim is further problematized by the fact that the European library has treated these colonial loots with high regard, which suggest legitimate custodianship. Should these manuscripts find their way home through restitution, would they be treated with equally high regard and used to contribute to the knowledge production in the postcolonial country?
This panel wishes to further explore these and other practices that can be taken up by libraries aimed at reducing inequalities related to access to heritage collections and knowledge production, next to other topics related to ethical custodianship. Examples include supporting Open Science and Open Access; opening up the collections for everyone, not just academia; providing free access to primary and secondary sources, independently from language/script, place of publication, peer-review, and format of publication; improving discoverability of material in non-European languages; critical re-evaluation of the language, scripts and standards used for cataloguing; heritage collection crowd sourcing projects; (re)discovery of collections; provenance research and acquisition transparency in the context of data protection and privacy legislation; optimization of the digitization process and projects; ethical issues arising from digitization; opportunities of IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework); and digital and/or physical re-unification of archives and heritage collections that were split up historically. Papers can discuss theory, practices, cases or policy making.