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Digitization in India: Developing and Implementing a National Policy Prof. Harsha Parekh (Retd. ) SNDT Women’s University Mumbai 400 020
Digitization Efforts in India • Individual Library Collection The National Library (Kolkata) • Publications of Research Organisations Indian National Science Academy • Archival Materials Archives of Indian Labour • Reformatting National Institute of Technology, Calicut
Digitization Efforts in India • Governance Land records, legal judgements, policy documents, parliamentary discussions • • Collaborative Projects Digital Library of India Open Archives Vidyanidhi
Questions Raised n What is the objective? n How & why are materials selected? n What benchmarks have been specified? n Do we have a national repository? n Who will preserve the digital copy? n What access mechanism do we use?
Questions Raised n n n How do we handle the original after it has been digitized? How are institutional initiatives coordinated? Are the other “memory” institutions, such as museums and archives, digitizing? What is it costing the nation to take up this activity? How will the activity be sustained?
Insights Gained • Activity is Fragmented • • Danger of obsolescence Holistic View necessary Two Driving Forces: access & preservation Reflected in digitization of - Cultural heritage - Education & research - Citizen participation/governance
Insights Gained Goals often overlap But Critical issues involved are different For access metadata, portals, bandwidth For preservation standards, conservation issues
Global Initiatives Nations, Regions and States have developed policies, strategies and structures for example Canada Task Force on Digitization involving National Library, National Archives, other national museums/galleries, National Film Board and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation New Zealand National Digital Forum
Global Initiatives Denmark Digitization Board & Secretariat Australia – National Library Strategies & Action Plan: Electronic resources European Union European Cultural Area planning Colorado State (USA) Colorado Digitization Program
Coverage • Goals • Selection Criteria • Copyright Issues • Technical Benchmarking • Coordination of Activities • Preservation • Financial Resources
National Digital Network: Rationale A national level policy making & monitoring Body that is participatory • Many stakeholders • Different Perspectives • Distributed Activity • Technical Issues • Investments levels high • National/Global significance
National Digital Network: Objectives • Set goals • Establish priorities • Promulgate Standards • Provide Procedural guidelines • Coordinate Activities • Act as a Clearing House • Obtain Funding • Identify R&D areas
National Digital Network: Structure • Board – Digitization Policy & Decision making; consisting of different stakeholders • Secretariat – Policy Execution; full-time staff • Advisory Panels - cultural heritage - academic and research materials - governance
Cultural Heritage Involves Cultural (Memory) Institutions public libraries, museums, archaeological sites, national libraries, science museums, galleries, etc Cultural industries film and video archives, image collections, music, broadcasting, media and design centres, publishing, etc
Cultural Heritage Main objective is preservation but also offers opportunities of replicating & disseminating the heritage to a larger population. Increase understanding of the past, strengthen national pride and identity and inform both the far-flung diaspora and the generations to come.
Cultural Heritage In the Indian context, our national heritage artefacts are plentiful and widely scattered. Include cultural heritage (such as manuscripts, early printed books, paintings, music), political heritage (such as documents related to the freedom struggle, letters and diaries of statesmen) community memory
Cultural Heritage Need is urgent; materials are fast deteriorating Prioritizing is required based on age, fragility, deterioration rate, significance, use, value E. g. Journals published in the 1890 s, between 1829 -1849; Paintings on paper in many extreme cases the first action must be the right one; sometimes the original is irreparably damaged; only the new digital copy remains.
Education & Research Higher Education Early Indian imprints (books and serials) in different disciplines, theses, back issues of national & regional newspapers, writings of Indian scholars, archives and documents Primary/Secondary Education support from some cultural heritage material made available in repackaged form Lifelong learning / non-formal education
Governance Digitization of • government policy documents • records • laws • • judgements information announcements forms Will contribute to increased awareness and access to government information leading to greater participation of the citizens in the democratic process, improve transparency and lead to better governance.
National Concerns Establishing selection criteria Ensuring access Technical concerns Managerial matters legal financial Human resource development
Selection Criteria • Considerations of intellectual significance of the content (based on importance, authority, uniqueness, timeliness & demand) • Physical nature of the source materials the intellectual rights status of the material • Number and location of current and potential use and users
Access Requirements Access to individual items and to collections (sets of items) Metadata – types Indian language metadata Ontologies Gateways and Repositories
Technical Concerns Standards and benchmarks to be used depend on the goal qualities to be achieved such as • Fidelity to the original • Utility (level and type of access to provide) • Longevity • Security • Portability
Technical Concerns Storage Formats; for text - image or text Indian language requirements Preservation – medium and content
Legal Issues • intellectual property & moral rights piracy • Distortion, plagiarism • Identifying ownership of intellectual property • Tracking copyright owners • Securing clearance • Establishing copyright of new digital document
Financial Issues Estimation of costs of digitization; depend on • Nature of the original document • Format, characteristics, size of digital file • Post-digitization processing required; Assessment of financial viability of project Deciding of subsidies for projects Mobilizing resources
Human Resource Development of skilled personnel Coordinating with educational and professional bodies Data Capture and Creation Data Access and Delivery Managing the Digital Collection
Conclusions Using the technology to a national advantage, without wasting resources requires A national vision and plan which is • holistic and long-ranging in perspective • evolved in a participatory manner • implemented with commitment Accessing and preserving our past for the future depends on the decisions taken today