More digitized educational content appears to be making its way to the Internet: the Delhi University has, with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), digitized 3000 out of copyright books, and uploaded them to CDACs website, reports the Times of India; around 1000 more books will be digitized for the Central Research Library (CRL). The university has also spent Rs. 2.2 crores on subscription to online resources – to 30 databases and around 3000 journals.

Now here’s where the problem begins – I tried to access the databases via Central Research Library, and initially, the server kept timing out. When I was finally able to access the site, I was unable to locate the digitized texts; couldn’t find them at the CDAC site either. What’s the point of digitizing texts if you’re either not enabling access to them, or virtually making them inaccessible by not providing search or even a sub-site with links to the documents?

Moving on to the databases that they have subscribed to – at the resources page – there is no information on how a student can access the databases, and the CRL has linked to sessions at EBSCO and Proquest that have already timed out. What a waste of Rs. 2.2 crores.

The best thing that the government can do, is to allow access to the content they have digitized, for the public at large to use, and license it to private institutions. Making presentations around digitization isn’t the end of the process.