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A Guide for South Asian Studies

A library guide for South Asian studies research and instruction at Washington University in St. Louis

Collection Development Policy

Washington University in St. Louis

Collection Development Policy

Library: Olin

Subject: South Asian Studies

Collection: General

Date Revised: April 14, 2014

Subject Librarian: AJ Robinson

Compiled by: Jaleh Fazelian


1. General purpose:

  • The collection supports the research and teaching needs of its primary audience, faculty and students involved with South Asian studies. Currently, students can obtain a minor in South Asian Languages and Cultures.
  • This collection serves faculty and students in many departments. As there is no South Asian program or department on campus the faculty are in the following departments: Anthropology, History, Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Social Work, and International and Area Studies.


2. Subjects excluded:



3. Overlap with other collections or subjects:

The interdisciplinary nature of a topic like South Asian Studies leads to some overlap in a variety of areas including History, Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Political Science, Religious Studies, and the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities. Librarians covering these areas work diligently to avoid duplication and keep collections up-to-date.



4. Languages included and excluded:

The South Asian collection contains works in Hindi and Urdu. Works in Urdu are housed in the Islamic Studies (NEEA) Collection. Other collection items in Hindi and English are interfiled into the larger Olin Library collection based on call number designation.



5. Geographical limitations:

The areas included in the study of South Asia are India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the South Asian Diaspora. Other geographic areas are acquired selectively.



6. Chronological limits:

All chronological periods are included.

7. Retrospective acquisition:

  • The Libraries acquire primarily currently published materials. As funds and availability allow, the Libraries will acquire older and out-of-print titles to meet new research and teaching needs. Such retrospective acquisitions are usually only considered upon faculty or student request.
  • In evaluating these needs, subject librarians look at potential use and the availability of materials from consortial partners or digital libraries (e.g. HathiTrust).


8. Types of material collected and excluded:

  • The following types of materials are usually excluded from the collection:
    • Textbooks
    • Language-Learning Materials
    • Translations into languages other than English
    • Unrevised Dissertations.


9. Other factors to consider:

  • The Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department is working to offer a major in South Asian Languages and Cultures. The Libraries only began collecting in South Asian Studies actively in about 2007. This newness is an issue for many of the faculty members who teach in this area.


10. Subjects and Collecting Levels:

Basic, Instructional Support, Research, Comprehensive

See the Islamic Studies Collection Development Policy for more on Islam coverage.

Collecting Level



South Asia






Sri Lanka








South Asian Languages and Literatures


South Asian Religions