What is a resource?

resource is a material which meets a need. In the case of research, resources are information or tools which help a researcher to conduct their research. 

There are many different types of resources for research in South Asian Studies, in a wide variety of forms and media. 

primary source is information created as a utilitarian or creative part of life and is a first-hand account of life. Primary sources include literary texts, archive records, manuscripts, newspapers, autobiographies, audiovisual recordings, photographs, performances, and artworks, as well as research articles, raw data, reports, and studies.

A secondary source is information written about primary materials. They describe, analyze, interpret, and discuss raw data or information. Commentaries, analyses, criticisms, and reference materials are all secondary sources. 

In a sense, primary sources are the information created in the course of living, and secondary sources are the analysis and interpretation of that information. The distinction is important in understanding the perspective of a piece of information; whether it is direct or indirect.

reference material is an information source which provides basic or background information on something and, often, provides information about how to find further information sources. Types of reference materials are almanacs, atlases, bibliographies, biographies, chronologies, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, handbooks, and indexes.

Can a source be trusted?

Resources have different types of authority and can be reliable for different types of information.

Primary materials have the authority of being direct and original sources of information.

scholarly publication is information written by someone who is considered knowledgeable in a certain field or on a specific subject or question, and who is considered to both possess integrity and to be a reliable source of information. Scholarly publications are usually written for experts in a field and are monitored and critiqued by other experts in the field, and have the authority of recognized expertise.

There are many sources of information which are written for the general public. These may draw upon research and expert knowledge, but information is presented in a condensed and simplified way so as to be more widely understandable. These materials can be reliable sources of information. Moreover, they can reliable sources of information about specific voices and opinions. 

Any piece of information can be used in research as long as it is understood and analyzed in the context of its creation and purpose. 

South Asian Collections at Harvard Library

South and Southeast Asian Collections at Harvard's Widener Library

Widener Library's South Asia Collections cover subjects in the humanities and social sciences published in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet.

Houghton Compass: South Asian Studies

Houghton Library is Harvard's primary rare books and manuscripts library. This guide suggests interesting and engaging collection materials relevant to most of Harvard’s undergraduate concentrations, including South Asian Studies.

Sources of South Asian Materials Beyond Harvard

Beyond Harvard, one of the best collections in the United States for South Asian materials is the University of Chicago, which collects broadly across the full geographical extent of South Asia, in all languages of the subcontinent and all material types, including ink-print, visual, audio, and cartographic. The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) and the Library of Congress collect many South Asian materials, as well. Harvard Library has a relationship with CRL that allows Harvard Library borrowers to access CRL materials. Abroad, the British Library holds many resources relevant to the study of South Asia. Some materials are accessible in archives and personal collections throughout South Asia. These collections have many different types of materials, including books, journals, reference materials, archives, maps, photographs, art, film, documentaries, sound recordings, manuscripts, and artifacts. In addition, the websites of South Asian Studies departments and intellectual associations often have information on what resources exist or where to look for them. Increasingly, there are efforts to digitize and make South Asian archives available through open access initiatives, such as the South Asia Open Archives (SAOA).