Digital Library Initiatives at Higher Education and Research Institutions in India

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Introduction

Most higher education and research institutions in India are funded by the central and state governments. Those institutions have made a significant contribution to the transmission of knowledge and to research in all fields and disciplines. Universities and research institutes have played a leading role in transforming the country into a modern industrialized and technologically-advanced state. The green revolution and tremendous progress in dairy development have made India a major food-producing country. Its development of space technology, the production and launching of indigenous satellites, and the development of peaceful nuclear energy have brought it into the forefront of technologically advanced nations to which a large number of developing countries look for training and guidance. Indian universities and institutes of higher learning support the needs and aspirations of Indian students and scholars. The libraries of those institutions also play a vital role in acquiring and disseminating information for academic and research activities. Digital libraries are a way of making educational and research data and information available to faculty, researchers, students, and others at the institutions and worldwide.

Digital Libraries

Traditional methods of collecting, storing, processing, and accessing information have undergone a massive transformation due to the growth of virtual libraries, digital libraries, online databases, and library and information networks. Digital technology, Internet connectivity, and physical content can now be dovetailed, resulting in a digital library. Digital libraries and the digitisation of print materials can preserve resources in art and culture, education, science and technology, literature and humanities, media and entertainment, and cultural heritage and history. In India, a substantial number of libraries and information centres have initiated digital library projects including databases and e-journals, or by digitizing their own archivally-valuable collections. Hundreds of thousands of ancient books and manuscripts, scores of them still preserved in palm leaves, urgently need digitization to preserve the cultural heritage of India .

Digital Library Projects

Digital Library of India

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIITH), and many other academic, religious, and government organizations in India, a total of more than twenty "Content Creation Centres," have become partners in the Digital Library of India (DLI). The DLI seeks to preserve Indian heritage that is contained in books, manuscripts, art, and music. Each centre brings its own unique collection. This digital library is also a test-bed for Indian language research. The DLI is a leader in worldwide efforts to make knowledge free. A pilot project to scan some 10,000 books was initiated at CMU and then followed up at IISc, IIIT-H, and other organizations. All the processes involved have been perfected. The vision is to preserve all the knowledge of the human race in digital form and make that content searchable, independent of language and location, and to ensure that the cultural heritage of countries like India is not lost during the transition from paper to bits and bytes, as they were lost during a former transition of cultural content from palm leaves to paper.

So far, more than 289,000 books have been scanned, of which nearly 170,000 are in Indian languages. More than 84,000 books (25 million pages) are available on the DLI web site at the Indian Institute of Science, and more than 149,000 books (43 million pages) are available on the DLI web site at the International Institute of Information Technology. The link to other partner sites is also provided through a commonly accessible website.

Funding for the DLI comes from multiple sources. …