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70,000 books being digitized by state-owned libraries in Gujarat

The Director of Libraries (DoL), Gujarat has decided to digitize more than 70,000 books over the next 2-3 months and make them available online, reports Business Standard. The books will be available to the members of the libraries via an ‘e-Library Reader’ software for desktops, and an Android app for mobile phones.

The converted books will be the ones belonging to two state-owned libraries, the Central Library in Vadodara & the State Central Library in Gandhinagar, and the State Book Repository Centre in Mehsana town.

Currently, the Director of Libraries is looking for a service provider to scan the books and convert them into PDFs, to disable unauthorised copying of texts online. The DoL expects the whole process to take 2-3 months as many of the books are rare and old and will require special attention to clean scanned pages of stains and black spots, which a user might find unappealing.

The selected service provider for this project will also be responsible for developing a specialized ‘e Library Reader’ for both PCs and Android. According to the DoL, the software interface will reflect a library setup where books are kept on shelves and users can select a book by touching the related number or clicking on the menu of the books.

National e-library: Earlier this year, the HRD Ministry had announced that the national e-library portal is expected to become operational in academic year 2015. The Ministry had claimed that this portal will assimilate content from central universities and premier educational institutions and make it available in a digital format. It had also claimed that the e-library will be accessible on any device – laptops, smart phones, and tablets, and that Israel, Norway, UK, and the UNESCO have already offered to work on this project as collaborators. Earlier, BJP had proposed setting up of a national e-library in its 2014 election manifesto.

NROER: Last year in August, the Indian government had launched an open repository for school education called National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER), which offers concept maps, videos, audio clips, audio books, multimedia, learning objects, photographs, diagrams, charts, articles, wikipages and textbooks for all grades in multiple languages. The HRD Ministry recently claimed that the NROER portal had received over 45 lakh hits from 71,447 unique visitors, and that it has 13,773 registered users and contributors of e-content.

Earlier this month, the Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU) also revealed plans of digitizing over 350 curriculum textbooks and making them available online to students.

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