New: GLOBALISE – digitised Dutch East India Company archives for 17th & 18th centuries

Researchers interested in colonial history and Dutch history will be delighted to know that over 5 million scans of the Dutch East India Company are now freely and fully searchable at GLOBALISE.

 GLOBALISE Unlocking the history of early globalisation and colonialism for researchers and the general public. Image of Hougly complex in Bengalen Consisting of approximately twenty-five million pages, the UNESCO Memory of the World-listed archives of the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC) offer a unique view on interactions between European and non-European actors in Asia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 5 million scans of the ‘Overgekomen Brieven en Papieren’ (1610-1796) of the VOC are now fully searchable. From early October 2023, a prototype of the GLOBALISE transcriptions viewer is online at: https://transcriptions.globalise.huygens.knaw.nl/.

These archives not only provide insights into the VOC’s operations but also offer rare glimpses into early modern societies in Asia, Africa, and Australia. For these regions, where few archival sources exist, the VOC archives hold unique and invaluable information, illuminating their multifaceted interactions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This resource is useful for those interested in early modern global and colonial history.

While you are here, check out…

New eresources: more South Asian newspapers databases

[posting on behalf of Emma Mathieson, Subject Librarian for South Asian studies]

We are very pleased to let historians know that Oxford now has access to two new South Asian newspaper databases.

The first is Readex’s South Asian newspapers : historical newspapers from South Asia.

Landing page of the database 'South Asian Newspapers: historical newspapers from South Asia', showing a asearch boxThis gives access to 10 publications, including Amrita Bazar Patrika, the Ceylon Observer, and the Madras Mail. The database provides scans of original pages and the contents can be searched by keyword or browsed by date. Unfortunately, keyword searching does not seem to be possible for the titles in South Asian languages. These are Amrita Bazar Patrika, Bankura Darpan and Kayasare Hinda and although full-text search is not available, browsing by date of publication is straightforward and readers can easily scroll through individual issues. I am following up the question of keyword searching for these particular titles with the supplier.

The dates of coverage are not the same for each title. The earliest issue available is the 30th November 1864 issue of the Ceylon Observer’s predecessor, the Colombo Overland Observer. The latest date covered is 31st December 1922, for which copies of four separate titles are available. Readers can see a full listing with dates. As with all these databases, some gaps are inevitable.


The other database is the near identically-named South Asian newspapers (to distinguish them on SOLO and Databases A-Z look out for the subtitle/lack of a subtitle).

The landing page of South Asian Newspapers (by Centre for Research Libraries) showing a search box and three photos, including a black & white photo of Ghandi and Nehru in discussion.

This is a new open access resource, hosted by East View in collaboration with the Center for Research Libraries, and it is part of East View’s Global Press Archive database. This collection complements nicely the Readex database, comprising a further dozen titles, including the Ceylon Daily News, the Malabar Herald and the Pakistan Observer. There are also three titles in South Asian languages, the Dainika Basumati (Bengali), Dnyanaprakasa (Marathi) and Samaja (Nepali).

The coverage of titles in this collection is wide-ranging and generally later than the titles in the Readex database. There are a couple of titles from the 19th century, but the majority are 20th century, and in fact most are post-1945. You can see a full list by going to the home page and selecting the “title navigation” link.

While you are here…

Trial until 20 March: South Asian Newspapers : Historical newspapers from South Asia

Colleagues have arranged trial access to Readex’s South Asian Newspapers : Historical newspapers from South Asia.

This resource provides online access to a select group of South Asian newspapers from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The majority of the newspapers are from India with one from Pakistan and one from Sri Lanka. The titles include:

  • Amrita Bazar Patrika (Calcutta) 1895-1922
  • Bankura Darpana (Bankura, India) 1903-1908
  • Madras Mail (Madras) 1868-1889
  • Kayasare Hinda (Bombay) 1882-1922
  • Pioneer (Allahabad, India)1865-1903
  • Tribune (Lahore, Pakistan) 1881-1922
  • Ceylon Observer (Sri Lanka) 1864-1922

This resource can be accessed via SOLO and Databases A-Z.

Please send feedback to emma.mathieson@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Trial until 1 Dec: Foreign Office files on India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, 1947-1980

I am pleased to announce that Oxford is running a trial of Foreign Office files on India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, 1947-1980. Access is via SOLO or OxLIP+.

These three collections consist of the British Government’s files on the countries of South Asia from shortly before Indian partition and independence up to 1980.

Nature of the material

  • Reports
  • Diplomatic dispatches
  • Correspondence
  • Newspaper cuttings
  • Maps
  • Photographs
  • Minutes of meetings
  • Political, economic and military analyses
  • Statistical tables

Scope of the collection

This collection covers the years from 1947 to 1980, encompassing files on all the countries of South Asia: principally India and Pakistan, but also Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ceylon/Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and the Maldives.

The collection is split into three, chronologically based parts:

  • Section I: Independence, Partition and the Nehru Era, 1947-64
  • Section II: South Asian Conflicts and Independence for Bangladesh, 1965-71
  • Section III: Afghanistan and the Cold War, Emergency Rule in India, and the Resumption of Civilian Rule in Pakistan, 1972-80

(See http://www.archivesdirect.amdigital.co.uk/FO_India/Introduction)

The trial ends on 1 December. Please send feedback to emma.mathieson@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.