Need U. Delhi Research Help
November 1, 2010 8:52 PM   Subscribe

I need help finding a student at the University of Delhi to do library research for me at the college.

I'm a graduate student who needs to research some social science topics that demand literature only available in University libraries in India. This is problematic because a) I live in the United States, b) Indian Universities are hard to contact (many don't have email contact addresses, and I have not had luck getting these colleges to reply or care when I contact them otherwise), and c) many do not allow non-students/faculty into their libraries. So I need long-distance research assistance, and I need it in two dozen Indian cities, but I'll only bother you with one city right now: New Delhi.

... I need help recruiting a student at the University of Delhi to do library research for me at the college. I'd like to hear your advice on how I can find potential candidates.

posted by Christian Khan to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Try posting an ad on Craigslist?
posted by special-k at 8:59 PM on November 1, 2010

Have you asked your university for help? Particularly your university library? Depending on the size of your school, they might already have contacts, and if not, would probably be the best first step in determining how to contact an out-of-country university library.
posted by phunniemee at 8:59 PM on November 1, 2010

Can you clarify what the topics are?
posted by unknowncommand at 8:59 PM on November 1, 2010

First of all, try contacting the authors themselves. I did this when I was in a sticky ILL situation last year and was rewarded with awesome extra goodies in the form of working papers. Second, try CALLING the libraries. Much more effective.

If that doesn't work, post a job on or a similar site. It's for freelance jobs, typically computer-based, but there are a lot of Indian providers and I bet it wouldn't cost much per hour (or you can pay a flat rate). A lot of these providers are business-savvy and competent enough that perhaps THEY could arrange everything for you in all the cities (finding students by themselves).

Or you can try to locate American exchange students at those universities. I bet if you emailed a list of students you'd find a couple generous people willing to help you for free or for care package, particularly if they're in your area of study. You can find this on facebook too, I'd imagine!

Alternately I'd suggest contacting professors in a corresponding department, and asking them to suggest students who may want a bit of extra cash. I bet you'll pay a lot more with this option though.

Finally, once you've made contact with a student, remember that India has interlibrary loan, too, so there's no need to waste time looking for students at EVERY university.
posted by acidic at 9:54 PM on November 1, 2010

Try Orkut or Facebook. Delhi University is not a monolithic place but has numerous colleges under its umbrella - some clustered together in the area best known as DU (Miranda House, St Stephens, Hindu, Kirori Mal, SRCC ) and the rest spread out around Delhi (Lady Sri Ram, Gargi, oh memory fails me). Some major departments and schools are also near the main cluster like the Delhi School of Economics and Delhi College of Engineering. You may have to start with the list of publications and figure out if they're available on some main library or in a college library or literally seek to hire a local research assistant to do this running around for you. Systems tend to be bureaucratic and old but this may have changed in the decades past.

Try starting with St Stephens
they seem to have an information officer listed on their website.

ps. I have no idea why this organization structure is so but am trying to remember from the 6 months I was in Miranda House 27 years ago
posted by The Lady is a designer at 12:35 AM on November 2, 2010

Not to second guess your long distance researching, but have you checked if the publications are held by someplace like The British Library? They have a hell of a lot of materials, many not in English, and they can provide copies of articles for a fee.

You could also try a document delivery service. There are plenty of these, but you might try something like Infotrieve which does on-request research and article finding. They might have international resources that could help you.
posted by marginaliana at 6:10 AM on November 2, 2010

In addition to some excellent advice above, you could also get in touch with the Indian student group/their president at your current US university and explain this to them. They will surely know students in different parts of the country who may be able to directly help or find someone at the Indian universities to help you out. Maybe this is too much of a bother but thought it might be worth a shot.

Alternatively, your US university may be able to procure the documents directly from the India University or the British Council Library in India. I mean, if they can't, maybe they should start something of the sort?
posted by xm at 3:28 PM on November 2, 2010

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