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India & France to digitise manuscripts, artworks & archives


The Indian and French governments have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which will assist in technical knowledge sharing, competency, skill building and cultural exchange between the two countries, as per a PIB release. The MoU will assist a program on digitisation of old manuscripts and documents, which began in France 7 years ago.

The Ministry of Culture will benefit from this and build a national virtual library in India, which will store and share manuscripts, archives and artworks. This library will also link and share all knowledge resources from various Indian and French government institutes and organisations.

The French government is also keen on sorting and deciphering its collection of thousands of Indian documents in Sanskrit, Tamil and other Indian languages with the help of the Indian government, which also incidentally includes correspondence between Rabindranath Tagore and French scholar Sylvan Levin.

NMM digitised over 30 lakh manuscripts last year
In March, we reported that the 12 year old government body National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM) had digitised over thirty lakh manuscripts and 18,588,390 pages in all as of 31 December 2014. Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister of State for Culture, Tourism & Civil Aviation said that the National Archives of India (NAI) was set to digitise another 1,100,000 historic records.

Previous digitisation initiatives:

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– In November 2014, around 55 books written by the Indian author and activist Niranjana in Kannada would be digitized and made available on Kannada Wikisource, allowing Kannada speakers to access these books easily.

– In October 2014, the Ministry of Culture launched a national portal for museums. Collections in all museums under its control and those under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will be digitized and presented on this portal.

– In July 2014, the Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology released the draft of Open Access Policy under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

– In September 2013, Goa University entered into a 3 year MoU with the Centre for Internet and Society for building the Konkani Wikipedia.

– In June 2013, Tata Communications Media Services planned 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.

– In May 2013, Punjabi Sahitya Akademi Reference Lab scanned and saved around 1,000 manuscripts, stone-printed scripts, poetry books on computer hard discs, adding that the digitized editions will be available across the globe through the internet.

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Check out our digitisation and government coverage.

Written By

I'm a MediaNama alumna from 2015-16 (remember TinyOwl?) now back to cover e-services like food and grocery delivery, app based transport and policies, platforms and media in India.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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