Digital libraries initiatives in India

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  • The International Information & Library Review (2006) 38, 161169

    The InternationalInformation & Library Review


    EncbIndira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi, India

    & 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    and the library schools are re-designing their

    additional technology, education and training are

    resources. The paper intends to propose variousaspects of evaluation of DLs initiatives in India.The advantage of having a DL is now well under-stood by librarians, technologists, management and


    Corresponding author.E-mail addresses: (P.K. Jain), parveen-users.

    1057-2317/$ - see front matter & 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.iilr.2006.06.003 (P. Babbar).The role of the librarian and the information officeris changing in the digital library (DL) situation.With the changing scenario each is required toacquire new skills for developing and managingthe DLs. The departments of Library Sciences

    required.In India there are a number of university and

    institute libraries, which are in the process ofconversion into DLs. Library and informationcentres in the present time are digitizing theircurricula in the changing environment. For DLs,Summary Digital libraries (DLs) have evolved, and developments in informationtechnology have changed the concept of the library from one of print and papermedia to digital media. The success of a DL depends upon the computers,communication skills, and knowledge of library professionals in connection withmodern technology. In the present scenario, we stand at a transition from thetraditional library to a global DL. The technology-based idea is to provide universalaccess to digital content available only in a DL environment.

    Today the emergence of digital technology and computer networks has provided ameans whereby information can be stored, retrieved, disseminated and duplicatedin a fast and efficient manner. On a global level, DLs have made considerableadvances both in technology and its application. India still has far to go if the nationis to benefit from this movement. Only sporadic and partial attempts have beenmade towards DL initiatives in India.

    The basic objective of DL initiatives in India has been to preserve the art, cultureand heritage of this country. All projects aimed at creating DLs concentrate only onspecialized collections. The DL initiative in India is still at a nascent or embryonicstage. But with the initiative like DL policy, it can also be said that the nation isserious about DL implementation.Digital libraries initiative

    P.K. Jaina,, Parveen Babbarb

    aInstitute of Economic Growth, University of Delhiin India

    lave, Delhi 110007, India

  • Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Indian

    also partner with other country specific DL initia-


    P.K. Jain, P. Babbar162Institutes of Science (IIScs), research institutesand some special libraries. Some governmentagencies, as well as public-sector institutions, arealso engaged in digitization of libraries. But theinitiatives taken by the Government of India in thisdirection indicate that the potential of ICTs fordeveloping DLs has not been fully realized. Whileone government agency is providing support for oneparticular aspect, the other is focusing elsewhere,without any coordinated effort by a nodal agency.The concept of DLs in the developed countries

    started during the 1970s, but in India it began in themid-1990s with the advent of ITon a large scale andthe support extended by the central government.The advent of the Internet acted as a catalyst forDL initiatives. The basic objective of DL initiativesin India has been to preserve the art, culture andheritage of this country. All projects aimed atcreating DLs concentrate only on specializedcollections. The DL initiative in India is still at anascent or embryonic stage.The concept was recognized in India during the

    Fifteenth Annual Convention and Conference onDigital Libraries, organized by the Society ofInformation Science at Bangalore from 18 to 20January 1996. A few libraries had made attempts inthis direction earlier.Only sporadic and partial attempts have been

    made towards DL initiatives. Simplistic approacheshave been taken in the libraries, such as getting afew databases on CD-ROM, subscribing to a fewe-journals, scanning a few documents, or creatingAdobe Acrobat files and installing these on anintranet. But this scenario is changing at a snailspace, and it has to gain momentum to survive in thecompetitive world.DL initiatives in India were started basically for

    preservation of the art, culture and heritage of thecountry. The categorization of DL initiatives in Indiamay be listed as follows.

    Initiatives at the government level

    Both the Union Government and the state govern-ments of India have taken considerable initiativestowards the development of DLs. Support ofGovernment of India towards DL initiatives-policyDL initiatives in India

    The situation in India regarding DLs is very peculiar.Generally, the use of Information Technology (IT)and Information and Communication Technology(ICT) in libraries in India is concentrated inuniversities, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs),tives as part of the Universal Library Project( spearheaded by Prof. Raj Reddyand Carnegie Mellon University.The current status of scanning centres of DLI

    shows that approx 24.521 million pages have beenscanned at various centres in India. It shows thatapproximately 80,240 books have been scanned(Table 1).issues: The Long-Term National IT Policy (NationalTask Force on IT and Software Development, 2003)shows us the commitment of the Government ofIndia to provide information to users in digitalform. The responsibility of envisioning, developing,and sustaining functional hybrid and virtual libraryand information systems and services rests on thelibrary and information profession.

    DL of IndiaThere is a mission to create a portal for the digitallibrary of India (DLI) piloted by the Office of thePrincipal Scientific Advisor to the Government ofIndia, Ministry of Communication and InformationTechnology (MCIT) with IISc and Carnegie MellonUniversity, USA, as partners.The mission is to create a portal for the DLI which

    will foster creativity and free access to all humanknowledge. As a first step in realizing this mission,it is proposed to create the DL with a free-to-read,searchable collection of one million books, pre-dominantly in Indian languages, available to every-one over the Internet. This portal will also becomean aggregator of all the knowledge and digitalcontents created by other DL initiatives in India.This portal would provide a gateway to Indian DLs inscience, arts, culture, music, movies, traditionalmedicine, palm leaves and many more. The resultwill be a unique resource accessible to anyone inthe world 24 7, without regard to socioeconomicbackground or nationality.One of the goals of the DLI is to provide support

    for full text indexing and searching based on opticalcharacter recognition (OCR) technologies, whereavailable. The availability of online search allowsusers to locate relevant information quickly andreliably thus enhancing students success in theirresearch endeavours. This 24 7 resource wouldalso provide an excellent test bed for languageprocessing research in areas such as machinetranslation, OCR, summarization, speech and hand-writing recognition, intelligent indexing, and in-formation retrieval in Indian languages.It is expected that the DLI will be mirrored at

    several locations worldwide so as to protect theintegrity and availability of the data. The DLI will


    Digital libraries initiatives in India 163Language No of books No. of pages

    English 49,674 17,456,701Telugu 14,063 2,804,200Hindi 6318 1,458,386Urdu 2977 719,523Tamil 1550 396,021Sanskrit 1485 510,340Persian 1000 245,727Multi 699 198,158Others 704 220,350Arabic 617 198,552Kannada 586 140,585Marathi 363 90,947German 121 46,803French 63 24,770Oriya 5 6978Bengali 4 713Spanish 4 17Italian 3 1172Greek 1 539Gujarati 1 52Irish 1 538Russian 1 73VidVidwiforGoanstrIndalsna

    Saththa DdotoforwistathInd

    Figures by languageTable 1 Number of books and pages scanned, bylanguage.yanidhiyanidhi began as a pilot project in the year 2000th support from the National Information System

    Science and Technology (NISSAT) and thevernment of Indias Department of Scientificd Industrial Research (DSIR). Vidyanidhi demon-ated the feasibility of e-theses programmes inia. With support from the Ford Foundation ando from Microsoft India, Vidyanidhi is evolving as ational initiative.Vidyanidhi (meaning Treasure of Knowledge innskrit) is Indias premier DL initiative to facilitatee creation, archiving and accessing of doctoraleses. Vidyanidhi is an information infrastructure,L, a portal of resources, tools and facilities forctoral research in India. Vidyanidhi is envisionedevolve as a national repository and a consortiume-theses through participation and partnership

    th universities, academic institutions and otherke holders. Vidyanidhi enhances access to Indianeses and enlarges the reach and audience forian doctoral research works.The mission of Vidyanidhi project is to

    develop a repository for Indian doctoral theses,digitize, archive and improve access to doctoraltheses in India,




    flebgroups against one group in International Patentssification (IPC), e.g. AK61K35/78 related todicinal plants. Present status of TKDL is re-cted in Table 2.andsuvative structured classification system for therpose of systematic arrangement, disseminationretrieval has been evolved for abo