The Orissa Archive at the South Asia Institute consists of a collection of books and manuscripts in various Indian languages - mainly Sanskrit Oriya and Telugu - and translations into English respectively.
The Archive was founded after the research project on Orissa –funded as a Sonderforschungsbereich of the German Research Council (DFG) – was completed in 1976. It was carried out in cooperation with scholars of the universities of Heidelberg and Freiburg. The aim of this research project, which had been going on from 1971 till 1976, was a thorough investigation into the culture and history of Orissa. While the project proceeded the scholars involved decided to guarantee the public an open access to the complete material. Therefore, it was agreed upon to keep it under the guardianship of the South Asia Institute as soon as the project had been completed.
Whereas the books and printed materials were fairly quickly included into the stock of the library of the South Asia Institute the copied manuscripts were kept in a separate room. Yet, for reasons of language as well as for difficulties in shaping the data according to cataloguing rules the project to incorporate them too in the catalogue of the Institute’s library was postponed for many years.
Only recently funding within the budget of the Institute - and even more important - qualified human resources were made available to make this valuable material accessible for a wide range of interested scholars. It is now part of a special collection in compact storage and easily obtainable during the library hours. Moreover the data have been incliuded in the online union catalogue of the SWB (South West Germany Library Consortium) as well as the local union catalogue of Heidelberg called HEIDI.
For many reasons - among them the availability of local data such as shelf mark or subject headings - it is preferable to choose the search in HEIDI. If, e.g., one is looking for a complete index of all the manuscripts one just has to carry out a search with the shelf mark [Signatur] „265 mss*“. It is absolutely crucial to put in the truncation mark (*) because otherwise the search will end in no results, whereas the successful search will produce 405 hits.
Since 1999 an additional research project focussing on Orissa (Various Identities: Socio-Cultural Profiles of Orissa in Historical and Regional Perspectives) has been going on, again in cooperation with scholars of various universities. For further information please consult additional web sites (selective list):
by Sonja Stark-Wild