As a follow-up to the last month’s launch of an online portal featuring the works of Mahatma Gandhi by Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust (first reported by NextBigWhat), the National Innovation Council had conducted a Twitter conference on Gandhi Jayanti.
While the conference was meant to discuss the life and messages of Mahatma Gandhi, the website hosts the works of Gandhi, writings on Gandhi by other authors including books, tributes, journals and other media such as videos, photos, among others in 28 different languages from across the globe. According to the publication, Gandhi’s autobiography is available in English (100 volumes), Hindi (97 volumes) and Gujarati (82 volumes) on the website along with more than 5 lakh pages on Gandhi, 21 films, 72 audio speeches of Gandhiji and over a 1000 photographs of his.
Unlike many other government websites, this website seems to have a good user interfaced, navigation and design. It appears that all the literature is available for free to all on the website and can also be printed directly from the website. The scanned copy of the books are available on the website only as images that can be viewed using an embedded PDF reader, essentially making it difficult for users to search through the documents. It is not sufficient to just digitize information. The digitized data should also be accessible in such a way that data scientists can also utilize it for extracting specific information.
Other digitization initiatives
Tata Communications Media Services had announced its plan to digitize documents of historical and cultural significance such as films and documentaries from the archives of Doordarshan and Films Division of India which go back to 1947 including speeches of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders.
Earlier this month, a collection of photographs depicting the Indian Army in the First World War called Girwood Collection that was held by the British Library in London has now been digitized and made available on Wikimedia Commons.
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 and the digitized editions will be available across the globe through the internet.
In January 2013, Palagummi Sainath, the Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu had announced his plan to launch an online platform called ‘People’s Archive of Rural India’ to archive various aspects of rural life in India.
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.