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South and Southeast Asian Collections

Widener Library's South and Southeast Asia Collections include materials in many languages and formats.

Widener Library's South and Southeast Asia Collections cover subjects in the humanities and social sciences published in: 

  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • the Maldives
  • Brunei
  • Burma
  • Cambodia
  • East Timor
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • the Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

While most materials in the collections are in English, our acquisitions also cover the former colonial languages: Dutch, French, and Portuguese. In addition, Widener has significant collections in Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Urdu dating back to the mid-19th century, as well as holdings in Persian.

Materials in South Asian languages using Perso-Arabic script are under the purview of the Middle Eastern Division in Widener. If published in the Americas or Europe, collections about South and Southeast Asia are under the purview of librarians covering these geographic areas of publication.

Since 2013, Widener has expanded acquisitions to build a core collection of materials in Bengali, Burmese and languages spoken by ethic minorities of Myanmar, Chinese (for Southeast Asia), Hindi, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Malay, Nepali, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, and tribal languages of Northeast India. Widener holds over 1,000 video recordings, in various Indic languages, documenting the cultures and societies of the subcontinent.

Vietnamese-language materials are collected by the Harvard-Yenching Library.

South and Southeast Asian government information, including statistics and datasets, can be accessed through the Government Information unit located in Lamont Library.

Widener's South and Southeast Asian collections are supplemented by holdings in the Fine Arts LibraryLoeb Music LibraryHarvard Map Collection and Harvard Geospatial LibraryFrances Loeb Library (Graduate School of Design), Tozzer Library (anthropology), Andover-Harvard Theological Library, and Harvard Law School LibraryHoughton Library houses an important collection of Indic manuscripts (mostly in Sanskrit) and records of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, as well as pamphlets of missionary presses.

Accessing These Materials

South and Southeast Asian collections can be searched and located using the HOLLIS catalog.