February 2008

Digital Library in India

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Digital library project in India is one of the ambitious projects that calls for the digitisation of over a million number of books and  scholarly manuscripts.

Digital Library in India is an all-encompassing e-Library and open publishing project initiated under the exclusive supervision of Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore. It is an extension of the    Carnegie Melon University's initiative to digitise a large number of books. Under the aegis of this project, a comprehensive portal that supports free access to literary resources, would be developed.

Objectives

The primary objectives of Digital Library project are:

  • to ensure operational success of 'Million Book Project'
  • to expedite e-Learning processes and research programmes
  • to foster open publication and access
  • to recondition and restore old books and manuscripts
  • to enhance the use of ICT's and ICT enabled tools and services
  • to ensure scholarly search optimisation
  • to make electronic publications available in all major Indian languages
  • to conscientiously devise an e-Indexing and information mining procedure

Project Partners

In this venture, IISc is supported by International Institute of  Information Technology (IIFT), Hyderabad; Carnegie Mellon University, USA; Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Arab Republic of Egypt; The Science Foundation, Virginia, USA; and the Indian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The project is also supported by the Chinese Government and various other research institutes and Universities of China.

The other institutions (statewise) involved in the project are: Andhra Pradesh: Osmania University, Hyderabad; Salarjung Museum, Hyderabad; Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, Tirupati; University Of Hyderabad, Hyderabad;, Delhi:  Rashtrapathi Bhavan, New Delhi;, Goa:  Goa University, Goa;, Karnataka:  Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore;  Poornapragna Vidyapeetha, Bangalore; Sringeri Mutt, Sringeri; Academy of Sanskrit Research, Melkote, Karnataka;, Maharashtra: Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), Mumbai; University of Pune, Pune;, Punjab:  Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar;, Tamil Nadu: Anna University, Chennai; Arulmigu Kalasligam College of Engineering (AKCE), Srivilliputur, Madurai; Kanchi University, Kanchi; Shanmugha Art, Science, Technology & Research Academy, Tanjavur;, Uttar Pradesh:  CDAC- Noida;  Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad.

What Digital Library is all about

Scores of literary and academic data are lost or damaged because of improper conservation of scholarly manuscripts. The archives, libraries and data repositories do struggle hard to preserve tattered and frazzled pages and maintain memoirs, letters and important  documents. The project, a path-breaking project for researchers and educationists, is mainly about maintenance, preservation and archiving of literary and academic data in a digitized form.

From an instrumental point of view, Digital library provides for a platform that supports informal education, open access to rare materials, sharing of library data and inter networking of library materials. Digital Library buttresses electronic indexing of formal data. The project entails conversion of conventional repository to electronic repository by restoring old documents mainly with the aid of e-typing and scanning. While scanning, the project ensures to procure publishers permission to scan copies. In a nutshell, Digital library project is embarking on reviving (electronically) the heritage and legacy of old data by introducing a language-independent digital library covering diverse subjects and accessible to over a billion of people across the globe.

Use of ICT's

With the inception of digital age, there has been a steep increase in the number of e-Users across the globe and e-Users have been looking forward towards integrated information systems in the field of education and corporate governance. Subsequent to this,  integrated communication technologies have been initiated to  expedite the process of e-Learning and interaction as well as to provide education for all. Digital library project, likewise, has been using integrated technologies and tools for the upkeep, maintenance and access of digital data.

Million Book Project

The main goal of Digital library project is the electronic publication of one million e-Books. The initiative is undertaken to produce  approximately 250 million pages or 500 billion characters of information. The image files of the collection will consume around 50 petabytes. The project, centrally maintained and shared across interwoven networks will create a mirror presence in virtually all the countries and will make Indian publications (in different languages) readily accessible to all e-Users all over the world. The Million Book Project will also ensure optimised search solutions based on Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, the project is all about providing free-to-read access to the books and other electronic documents posted on the library site. According to the former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam, Digital library is where the past meets the present and creates the future.  
 

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