Punjabi Sahitya Akademi Digitizing Old Manuscripts For Online Archival


Punjabi Sahitya Akademi Reference Lab has been digitizing 150 years old manuscripts since May 2012 and has scanned and saved around 1,000 manuscripts, stone-printed scripts, poetry books on computer hard discs, reports Times of India, adding that the digitized editions will be available across the globe through the internet.

Speaking to the publication, P.S.Bajaj, Director of Punjabi Sahitya Akademi Reference Lab said that the Akademi has undertaken the digitization process to preserve these manuscripts, some of which date back to 1889, in a bid to spread awareness about calligraphy to future generations.

The Akademi claims to have personal book collections of literary artists who are Akademi members and non-members as well.  Among the list of books being digitized include The Attic Theatre by A S Haigh, Spiritual Ramayana, Sidh Gost, Bhagavad Gita, Hanuman Natak, and personal works of renowned Punjabi intellectuals.

However, it is not clear when this process is likely to be completed or what is the kind of model that will be followed to provide online access of these works to the public world over. Will they be sold as e-books? Or will the users be charged a subscription fee to access these works.

Other Initiatives To Archive Indian History

In January 2013, we had reported that Palagummi Sainath, the Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu is planning to launch an online platform called ‘People’s Archive of Rural India’ to archive various aspects of rural life in India. The platform is expected to go live in June this year, on an experimental basis with audio, video, print and still photos from various rural regions in the country. Apart from including content from Sainath’s media archive, the platform will also allow users to submit content to the online archive, provided the content complies with their guidelines.

In December 2011, music director Shantanu Moitra in association with INK, showcased a prototype of Folksome, which allows users to submit folk music to an online repository, which maps it to a region. The music submissions were being accepted along with name and coordinates through voice calls, via +91-888-000-9939, by placing the phone near the source of music. Videos could be submitted through the web. Nikhil Velpanur, Director, Fellows Program and INKTalks.com had told MediaNama that they geotag the music and place it on the map. However, the current state of this project is unknown.

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