PUNE: There is a good news for all. Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) is very likely to give access to their e-library by December this year as their project of digitisation of the rare books and manuscripts has been completed by around 50 per cent. The massive project began last year, as a part of the projects that were launched on the occasion of the centenary year celebration of the institute. The process would be completed by December 2019.
The books and manuscripts are being digitised for preservation as well as starting an e-library which will be accessible to the public free of cost. While the books will not be available to download, anyone will be able to read them online. The e-library will also be linked to the National Virtual Library of India (NVLI).
“The institute is completing the metadata of the 6,000 books that have already been digitised. Once it is done, we are hoping to open the access of the e-library with these books by December this year. As and how the project goes ahead, the library will be updated accordingly, and the process will finally be completed by December 2019,” said Bhoopal Patwardhan, an official.
“Today, a demonstration of the e-library at BORI have been arranged. It has been organised on the occasion of a lecture series that is being held in memory of late Dr MR Yardi, former chairperson of the executive committee of Bhandarkar Institute, by his son Anant Yardi who has provided financial assistance of Rs 1 core 3 lakh for the project,” he said.
Patwardhan further added, “After the books at the library of BORI are digitised, we will open our lab to other institutes like Bharat Itihas Sanshodhan Mandal, Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, etc., to help them digitise their books at a nominal cost.”
So far, around 6,000 rare books and 14,000 manuscripts have been digitised.
“We have around 1,40,000 books at our library, out of which we have estimated that around 20,000 would fall into the category of rare books, that we have decided to digitise. Out of these, around 6,000 books, that is, approximately, one crore pages have already been digitised. Also, out of the 28,000 manuscripts, the digitisation process of around half of them is complete,” Patwardhan said.
CHALLENGES OF DIGITISATION
- “Many of the books that we were dealing with were so old, and their pages so delicate, we had to be extra careful while scanning them. Sometimes while putting them in the scanner, there were risks that the pages would get torn or damaged. Then, we brought in special type of scanner called ‘V-Craddle Scanners’ that would facilitate the process of scanning the pages,” Patwardhan said.
- Another challenge was the amount of time that it took to scan each page, and it required experts and a lot of patience on their part to get the work done.
- Patwardhan added, “Another challenge that we are facing these days is creating metadata for the books that have been scanned. The books are so old, it’s difficult to find the information on those, and compile it to post in the e-library to make the books easy to be found and read. We need experts for the job, and though we have many specialised in the area at the institute, it is indeed a tedious job.”