National Committee for Information Resources on Asia

Conference and Annual General Meeting

The 2015 NACIRA Conference and AGM will be held on Tuesday December 1st, 10.30-16.30 at the Centre for Applied Buddhism at the Institute of Oriental Philosophy UK, Taplow Court, Taplow, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 0ER. [Map]

The theme for this year's conference is Bespoke Libraries

  • The Lisa Sainsbury Library
    • Akira Hirano, Librarian, Lisa Sainsbury Library, Sainsbury Institute for Japanese Arts & Cultures [link]
  • A Land of Beauties and Terrors: The Salvation Army in East Asia
    • Steven Spencer, Archivist & Deputy Director, Salvation Army International Heritage Centre [link]
  • The Valmadonna Trust Library
    • Pauline Malkiel, Librarian Valmadonna Trust Library [link]
  • 2015 Annual General Meeting of NACIRA
  • Tour of the house, garden and the library
If you would like to attend, please complete this registration form [PDF] and return it with your payment to: Hamish Todd, Treasurer of NACIRA by 14th November 2015.

Please contact Joshua Seufert if you need further details.

Previous Conferences


  • Prof Rana Mitter, (University of Oxford China Centre) Welcome address
  • Dr. César Merchan-Hamann, ( Bodleian Library) on:The Leopold Muller Memorial Library : an introduction to the collections. [Link]
  • Marina Chellini, (British Library) on:Digitally reunifying the Mewar Ramayana: an Indo-UK collaborative project. [Link]
  • Prof Donna Kurtz, (Oxford e-Research Centre) onCLAROS – The World of Art on the Semantic Web [Link]


the conference theme was  Redefining the audience for Asian collections


The conference theme was Applied Materials: making oriental collections visible

  • Ursula Sims-Williams, Curator of Iranian Languages and Malini Roy, Visual Arts Curator, (British Library) on curating the British Library’s Mughal Exhibition
  • Daniele Cuneo and Camillo Formigatti, Research Associates, (Cambridge UL) on the Sanskrit manuscript project at the University of Cambridge
  • Tim Clark, Head of the Japanese Section, Dept. of Asia (British Museum) on the British Museum’s Shunga Exhibition
  • Ben Outhwaite, Head of the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, (Cambridge UL) on the Genizah digitization project
  • Viewing of manuscripts and images from the collections of Cambridge University Library


The conference theme was Revealing hidden gems: Asian collections in the 21st century

  • Gillian Evison and Andrew Skilton of the Bodleian Library on the union catalogue of Buddhist Shan manuscripts project.
  • Annabel Gallop of the British Library on the work of the South East Asian section of the British Library, with a visit to the collections
  • Chris Dillon of University College London on the future scenario for non-Roman script domain names
  • Peter Kornicki of Cambridge University on the growth of Tangut studies


The conference theme was The medium is the message: new digital resources for Asian and Middle Eastern studies. 

  • Ishida Takeshi, Director of the Japan Foundation, London and our host. Opening remarks.
  • Rachel Rowe, Smuts Librarian in South Asian and Commonwealth Studies, Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge.Progress in the digitisation of the Centre’s film and oral history collection
  • Malcolm Raggett, Technical Advisor to the project at SOAS. The Fürer-Haimendorf Archive Digitisation Project at SOAS: creating an online resource for the historical study of tribal cultures in South Asia and the Himalayas
  • Jane Lewisohn, Research Associate at SOAS and Principal Researcher for the project. Preserving the Intangible Heritage of Iran: 20th Century Classical Persian Music: The Golha project sponsored by the Endangered Archives project and the Iran Heritage
  • Sam van Schaik, Senior Researcher for Dunhuang project Developments in the International Dunhuang Project at the British Library


The conference theme was Expect the unexpected : hidden resources in the UK. 

  • Nicholas Martland as Chairman of NACIRA (British Library: Curator, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific collections): Opening remarks
  • Dr John McAleer, Curator of 18th-Century Imperial and Maritime History at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich: on the archives and collections, with particular reference to the new Indian Ocean/ Asian Seas Gallery  and the maritime history of the East India Company
  • Caroline Lloyd, Head of Library & Archives at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: The diverse range of subjects covered in the printed and archival collections and how they provide a rich resource for historians and social scientists.
  • Steven Cable, Principal Records Specialist, Maps, Plans & Photos, the National Archives : Revealing maps and photographs relating to Asia in the National Archives
  • Beth McKillop, Director of Collections and Keeper of Asia at the Victoria and Albert Museum: The Victoria and Albert Museum Collections of Asian Works on Paper, and the new 'Search the Collections' feature of the V&A website


The Theme of the conference was Expanding the boundaries of information resources on Asia in the UK marking the establishment of NACIRA, the emphasis was on reaching the widening range of customers for our resources.

  • Opening Address on the future role for NACIRA and UKIRA {formerly the Mapping Asia} - Nicholas Martland (Faculty Librarian for Arts and Humanities/South and South East Asia and Pacific at SOAS
  • RIN and its aim to improve communication and access to information resources for researchers. - Ms Sally Curry (Library Collaboration Programme Manager, Research Information Network)
  • Project to create the Dictionary of the Wa Language with Burmese (Myanmar), Chinese, and English Glosses and the Internet Database for Minority Languages of Burma (Myanmar). Dr Justin Watkins (Senior Lecturer in Burmese, SOAS)
  • Dr. Alison Ohta (Curator, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland)

The Theme of the conference was Asian and North African Studies – 40 Years On, marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the NCOLR, emphasising the future needs for library resources and the role of librarians within the wider context of academic developments relating to the regions covered by our members.
  •  The future of Oriental studies research and the role of libraries in supporting it. - Prof. Peter Robb (Pro-Director, SOAS)
  • The study of Sanskrit in India’s ‘early modern’ moment. - Prof. Christopher Minkowski (Boden Professor of Sanskrit, University of Oxford)
  •  Starting from scratch: Developing Chinese studies library resources at Nottingham. Dr. Jackie Sheehan (School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Nottingham)
  • John McIllwaine presented a personal view of 40 years of NCOLR and its future.
  • Update on the Mapping Asia Project - David Pearson (SOAS Library)
  • Piet van der Loon's collection of Chinese books at the Bodleian Library - David      Helliwell (Bodleian Library)
  • South Asia Oral History Digitisation Project - Kevin Greenbank and Ivan Coleby    (Centre of South Asian Studies, Cambridge)
  • An introduction to ARTstor - Gillian Evison (Bodleian Library, Oxford)
  • Manuscripts : beyond the texts - Nikolai Serikoff (Wellcome Institute)
  • Graham Shaw (British Library): The Endangered Archives Programme: an Introduction
  • Gillian Evison (Bodleian Library): An Introduction to MODS and METS: the Metadata Object Schema and the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard 

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