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R Prabhakar Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-021

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of Prabhakar’s research on the Nilgiri Biosphere Area as part of his doctoral work at CES (Centre for Ecological Sciences), IISc in Bangalore, India, between mid-1980 to 1995. The papers have been arranged into 4 series - notes and writing, research work related to thesis on Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, cartographic work related to thesis on Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, and research references, reports and datasheets related to Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. The arrangement strives to prioritise documenting Prabhakar's research process, hence the first few series contain his personal notes, primary research data etc. And the later series consists of his published and more publicly accessible material.

The existing collection has been arranged into four series: Series 1: Notes and Writings Sub-Series 1: Notes and drafts for research articles and publication Sub-Series 2: Excerpted notes and Bibliographies Sub-Series 3: Meetings, lectures, address books Sub-Series 4: Published works Series 2: Research work related to thesis on Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Sub-Series 1: Oral History Project at Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Sub-Series 2: Field notes at the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Sub-Series 3: Data collection forms for surveying Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Sub-Series 4: Photographs Sub-Series 5: Correspondence Series 3: Cartographic work related to thesis on Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Sub-Series 1: Maps curated by Prabhakar Sub-Series 2: Notes and Drafts for Map-Making Sub-Series 3: Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve conservation zones marked on Survey of India Toposheets Sub-Series 4: Historical topographical maps of the Survey of India with transparencies Sub-series 5: Unmarked toposheets from Survey of India Sub-Series 6: Miscellaneous referenced maps Series 4: Research References, Reports and Datasheets related to Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Sub-Series: 0

Series 1 is notes and writing. It contains notebooks and loose sheets of handwritten notes and manuscripts and printed papers of drafts and published work. These are Prabhakar’s original work, including the handwritten excerpted notes.

The first sub-series consists of drafts and notes for research articles and publications related to ecology and conservation in the form of 30 notebooks, as well as loose sheets of handwritten notes and transparencies. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically. A set of transparencies has been excluded as the sheets were damaged probably due to exposure to moisture and the data was incomprehensible.

The second sub-series, Excerpted notes and bibliography, consists of excerpted notes related to the Nilgiri area in the form of 11 notebooks and several loose sheets. This includes a bibliography of a list of articles referred to from various libraries and archives across the country noted on a set of 317 index-cards. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically.

The third sub-series, meetings, lectures, and address books, contains minutes of meetings, copy of tour schedule, and presentation drafts primarily documented on loose sheets. Also includes 2 notebooks from lectures attended at Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and 15 address books. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically. The fourth sub-series, published work, contains three published articles, one of them being Prabhakar’s thesis ‘Resource Use Culture and Ecological Change: A case study of the Nilgiri Hills of Southern India’. Also includes 2 maps - A map of Uttarakhand curated in collaboration with Bhupendra Singh Mehta and R Ravindranath, and a vegetation and land use map of the Nilgiri Biosphere Area in collaboration with J P Pascal. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically. One set of copies of published articles have been returned to the donor as these are records that have been published online and are publicly accessible.

Series 2, titled Research work related to the thesis on the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, consists of documentation using oral history, data collection forms and transect data employed by Prabhakar for his study into the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve as part of his thesis.

The first sub-series, oral history project at the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, contains 13 notebooks with transcripts of oral history interviews conducted by Prabhakar in the Nilgiri area. Also includes several loose sheets with printed and handwritten oral history notes and excerpts, and printed drafts of the summaries compiled. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically.

The second sub-series field notes at the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, primarily consists of notebooks with daily entries made during field work and data collected and analysed from transects across multiple sites in the Nilgiris. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically.

The third sub-series data collection forms for surveying Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve contains forms created by Prabhakar to survey forest land, and village and habitation across the Nilgiri area. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically.

The fourth sub-series titled ‘Photographs’, contains slides, negatives, and photographs taken by Prabhakar during field visits at the Nilgiris. They largely capture landscape, wildlife, people, and community practices. The material has been sorted into folders according to order presented in Prabhakar’s catalogue for the slides. These have been catalogued according to Prabhakar’s arrangement. Some of these slides have not been donated to us. The folders in the sub-series have been arranged alphabetically. Two sets of photographs - one containing family photos and the other, a repeated set of photographs of maps has been returned to the donor.

The fifth sub-series titled ‘Correspondence’, contains letters exchanged between Prabhakar and collaborators on field, experts, forest officials, and institutions while conducting research. It also includes a copy of an email from the GIS company IDRISI introducing their service. This sub-series has been arranged chronologically.

Series 3 is cartographic work related to the thesis. This series is largely assembled based on form. It contains Prabhakar’s cartographic studies, curations, and references. One set of maps has been returned to the donor according to his request.

The first sub-series, maps curated by Prabhakar, contains maps of the Nilgiri area which have been traced and annotated by Prabhakar. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically.

The second sub-series, notes and drafts for map-making, contains 3 notebooks and several loose sheets filled with handwritten notes for acquiring copies of maps surveying the Nilgiri area and preparation for the publication of a map alongside thesis work. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically.

The third sub-series is Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve Conservation zones marked on the Survey of India toposheets. It contains copies of toposheets of the Nilgiri Biosphere Area published by Survey of India between 1971 to 1988 with conservation zones marked by Prabhakar. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically.

The fourth sub-series is Historical topographical maps of the Survey of India with transparency. It contains transparencies with annotations by Prabhakar traced on top of copies of toposheets of the Nilgiri Biosphere Area published by Survey of India between 1922 to 1981. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically.

The fifth sub-series, Toposheets from Survey of India, contains copies of toposheets published by the Survey of India between 1972 to 1988 marking parts of the Nilgiris. These have been treated as reference material aiding his research by Prabhakar. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically.

The sixth sub-series, Miscellaneous maps, contains copies of excerpts and maps capturing vegetation, settlements, forests, and rivers in the Nilgiri area, collected from various libraries and archives. This sub-series has been arranged alphabetically.

Series 4 is titled ‘Research References, Reports, and Datasheets related to Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. It contains copies of essays, articles, reports, data, and research material related to Indian ecology and conservation produced by others in the field and used by Prabhakar as reference. This series has been arranged alphabetically and has no sub-series.

Dates

  • Creation: 1922 - 1994

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for access unless mentioned in specific folders of the finding aid.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital material from the Archives at NCBS are made available online for non-commercial research purposes. Permission for reproduction or distribution must be obtained in writing from the Archives at NCBS (archives@ncbs.res.in). The Archives at NCBS makes no representation that it is the copyright owner in all of its collections. The user must obtain all necessary rights and clearances before use of the material.

Biographical / Historical

Prabhakar Rajagopal is an ecologist working extensively in computational infrastructure. After completing his masters in Biomedical Engineering at IIT Madras in 1978, he travelled to Bangalore to pursue a PhD at Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) located at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). Working closely with experts in the field such as Madhav Gadgil and RJ Ranjit Daniels, he prepared for his thesis on cultural and ecological changes in the Nilgiri Hills in Southern India. His primary references for this project have been through travelling to the Nilgiris and collecting transect data as well as conducting oral history interviews with members of various tribal communities and estate owners. Prabhakar is also known for collecting, analysing, annotating and curating maps to aid his research. J P Pascal has been a notable collaborator on some of his work, particularly his land use and vegetation map of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

In 2002, he completed a short-term course in Bioinformatics and has since been working as a director at Strand Life Sciences in Bangalore. He founded the Biodiversity Informatics team at Strand in 2008, and has since led several projects that have enabled open source, free, and participative platforms for curation and circulation of biodiversity information within India such as the India Biodiversity Portal, Bhutan Biodiversity Portal, and WIKITROP.

Extent

10 Linear Feet (18 Hollinger-style boxes + 1 oversize cabinet)

Language of Materials

English

Arrangement

The intellectual arrangement strives to preserve provenance and original order of the papers. Where an original order could not be found, the Archives has applied an order, and folders within sub-series are arranged usually in chronological or alphabetical order. See Scope and Content section for details.

Physical Location

Archives at NCBS

Title
R Prabhakar Papers
Author
Dhatri S
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Archives at NCBS Repository

Contact:
National Centre for Biological Sciences - Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Bangalore Karnataka 560065 India
+9180 6717 6010
+9180 6717 6011