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Asian Reading Room: Library of Congress

Research Guide to the South Asian Collection at the Library of Congress

Compiled by Nuzhat Khatoon and Jonathan Loar

This research guide describes the Asian Division’s South Asian Collection, which contains materials in South Asian languages from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

To make the most of your time in the Asian Reading Room, it is helpful to practice using the Library's online catalog. In addition to the quick search bar, you can search by keyword or browse by authors, titles, subjects, and more.

Searching for materials in South Asian languages requires Romanizing keywords, including names and book titles. For help with transliteration, see the ALA-LC Romanization tables for languages such as Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, Urdu, and many others. For further reference, see this guide’s examples of South Asian names and Romanization.

A good resource to begin research is the Country Study Series published by the Library’s Federal Research Division. Each book covers a country’s history, society, economy, government and politics, and national security, and each is available online:

Bangladesh India Pakistan
Nepal and Bhutan The Maldives Sri Lanka

Questions about the collection?

Use the Asian Division’s Ask-a-Librarian form to contact South Asian reference staff and inquire about the collection.

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