Panjab Digital Library
Panjab Digital Library (PDL) is a not-for-profit endeavor, providing solutions and services in digital archiving of the heritage. It seeks to save the vast amount of hand written, rare literature & art scattered in and around Panjab. PDL digitally preserves manuscripts, books, records, and important historical documents for individuals and institutions, and makes them available online for long term, long after the original has ceased to exist. This will provides scholars, researchers and public at large with a permanent and easy access to records that are beyond their reach because of geographical distance, time constraints and many other factors. Through it, PDL seeks to accomplish three goals of service, awareness, and preservation through this project.
What do we deliver
Since the motto of PDL is digital preservation and access, we provide an array of services and content in both digitization of heritage material and facilitating access to it.
1. Digitization • Digitization projects • Pilot programs • Data mining (extracting specific and customized information from a source material on user request) • Trainings and workshops • Exhibitions
2. Access • Presentation of personal digital collection through CD/DVD • Web hosting of e-content • Access to heritage material in the PDL office for research we also plan to deliver e-content even offline through the setting up of local e-libraries at different locations in the region. One such example is the library of Kurukshetra University, where the PDL has setup a digital library of the material digitized there.
Why is the project unique?
Preservation The present practice is to enhance the life of the original through preservation methods, which will die away eventually, in any case. Still, this practice is being followed only in big institutions that amount to a very small percentage of the total heritage. The corporate word in an exception where documents are digitized, but they hold little or no value for public or society at large or have short lived utility. In most of such cases digitization is a method to increase access to the documents to increase efficiency and not preservation. In case of manuscripts, books and other sources of heritage and culture, things are dismal in India. They are not cared for, or little is being done to preserve, catalogue or replicate them, so that the subsequent loss of the originals would be a complete loss. Digitization at PDL provides an alternate to the original documents for study. It helps enhances the life of the original by reduced handling of the original for study, besides conventional preservation methods. Digitization also provides a digital representation of the same, which will remain long after the original is lost. Accessibility To access a document one has to personally travel to the place where the manuscript or book is located. But with the digitization of many rare manuscripts, books and other forms of literature, their access has become so easy. Our collection being unique, it is not available with any other institution except the custodian institutions and individuals. Search and Research Conventional cataloguing and indexing require physical search and scrutiny of numerous irrelevant documents before finding relevant material. OCR based search, in electronic index and catalogues with metadata, has phenomenally changed the scenario. Criteria based quick searching and browsing through incredibly large amount of data for relevant information within minutes or possibly seconds, which otherwise is beyond human capacity, thus enhancing the scope of research and education by manifolds. Benefits of searchable data especially in the context of books and newspapers are indisputably enormous and indescribable. With the uniqueness of a digital library, PDL has a capability of becoming a centralized repository on information from possibly all the fields, in the region, in near future.
In today’s world of information age, most of the social and economic development rests on the information, especially digital content. For that matter digital content or any information is useful only if it is available and easily accessible to all without restrictions, in less time, and is relevant to their needs. In addition to the information, there should be relevant tools or pointer provided to help them analyse the information. Based on this, users are in a position to develop better idea of the concerned issue and are in a position to make informed decisions. PDL is trying to achieve just that through free web access to rare heritage material. This leaves enormous space and potential for areas in education, awareness, research. It also opens a plethora of opportunities and possibilities for inter-cultural, racial, ethnic and religious interactions and constructive dialogue. This will bring different cultures and ethnic origins closer to each other by dispelling ignorance, thus further helping in educating the masses and bring more harmony in this world. The model of interlibrary system further gives us a chance to converge our individual information repositories into a great information repository by leveraging this great technology.
Davinder Pal Singh
2516, Sector 65
SAS Nagar, Panjab. India.
URL/Website – www.nanakshahi.org