SEALG Annual Meeting 2002, Leiden

The 2002 Annual Meeting and Conference took place at the Konkinklijk Instituut
voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, Leiden on August 30-31. Nine members
attended, from Britain, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Russia and Sweden.

The first day was spent visiting Amsterdam. The morning visit was to the library of
the Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen, where the librarian, Piet Wijn, gave the group
an introduction to the Institute and a tour of its library. KIT was founded in 1910 as
the Vereeniging Koloniaal Instituut and moved in 1926 to its present building,
designed by J.J.van Nieukerken and lavishly decorated with sculptures depicting
various aspects of the work of the Institute. It was renamed when it expanded its
coverage to the whole of the tropics in 1950, following Indonesian independence.
KIT has recently been awarded funding of 5.5 million euros, spread over four years,
under a Cultural Heritage Preservation Project, to conserve its museum and library
collections and make them available worldwide. The group was shown a new unit
where old and rare materials are to be stored under optimum conditions after
recataloguing, microfilming and conservation. The afternoon visit was to the
Nederlands Scheepvaart Museum, to see the full-size replica of the East Indiaman
Amsterdam and an exhibition on the VOC, the Dutch East India Company.

The following day the Conference met at KITLV. Dr. R.S. Karni, formerly of
KITLV, spoke on the abstracting publication Excerpta Indonesica, which he founded
in 1969. A 30 year cumulation appeared on CD-ROM in 1999, and it was originally
agreed that future printed issues would be added to it, but this now appears doubtful.
Dr. Karni is concerned that KITLV is planning to cease publication of the printed
version and produce a probably concise version on the Internet, thus making it
difficult to browse. Jana Raendchen of Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin then spoke on her
visit to Thailand and Laos earlier this year to buy books and look at libraries and
archives and described the Lao-German Manuscripts Preservation Project. Roger Tol,
Librarian at KITLV, spoke on his plans for developing the Institute’s Jakarta office
during his five-year secondment there. He aims to increase efficiency, co-operate
more closely with the Library of Congress and Australian offices and raise the
visibility of KITLV in Indonesia, and hopes in time to transform the office into a
scholarly institute and open a reference library able to make KITLV resources
available to Indonesians. Sergei Kukushkin, Deputy Head of the Russian State
Library Oriental Centre, spoke on the Library which, with 40 million items, is
officially the second largest in the world, and its oriental collections, numbering about
800,000 items all in indigenous languages, the largest collection being Japanese. The
collections should be moving to a new building in 2003. In the final paper, Nicholas
Martland spoke on developments at SOAS.

In the Annual General Meeting which followed, the following were elected: Nicholas
Martland, SOAS, Chairman, Margaret Nicholson, University of Hull,
Secretary/Treasurer, Rosemary Robson, KITLV, Corresponding Secretary, Lieu Cao
Thi, IRSEA-CRNS, Marseille, Henry Ginsburg, British Library OIOC, Christine
Grune, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Sergei Kukushkin, Russian State Library and
Annie Troedsson, Lund University, Committee members. Next year’s conference is
to take place at Lund University, probably in June or August.