SOAS University of London

Unlocking India’s printed heritage: SOAS Library feeds into British Library digitisation project

13 November 2015

SOAS Library is part of an international partnership that will digitise and give free online access to one of the world’s most important collections of South-Asian language printed books.

A pilot project for the major digitisation initiative – Two Centuries of Indian Print – was announced by the British Library on Thursday, with the support of funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the Newton Fund.

Bengali grammar frontispiece 1778
SOAS is engaged in the project in several ways. SOAS Library holds around 300 rare (pre-1914) Bengali books which will go into the collection. Director of SOAS South Asia Institute Michael Hutt is on the project steering group while Farzana Whitfield, Subject Librarian for South Asia and Development Studies, is a ‘co-investigator’ on the project. SOAS Library will benefit from curation and conservation resources, as well as costs for digitising the rare Bengali books, and access to the whole collection thereafter.     


SOAS is the only UK university that offers degree-level courses in Bengali language, literature and culture.

Pictured: frontispiece of the 1778 edition of A Grammar of the Bengal Language

Read the British Library press release.