ISI-IDP-Pritam - Library(ISI Kolkata)

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Digital Preservation of Indian Manuscripts:
a case study on International Dunhuang
Project, London
Pritam Gurey
Librarian
Vidyasagar College for Women
Kolkata
E-mail: [email protected]
Ph.: (+91) 9804224507
Avijit Chakrabarti
Librarian
Barasat College
Barasat
E-mail: [email protected]
Ph.: (+91) 8013437767
Introduction

Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and
intangible attributes of a group or society.

The Indian literary heritage is one of the oldest in the
world.

It encompasses a large body of poetry, drama are
treatise on various arts and sciences found in
manuscripts.

The manuscripts are important to the study of human
society because they provide a concrete basis for ideas
and can validate them.
Objective of the study

To know the importance of preservation of
manuscripts

To provide a view on the International
Dunhuang Project (IDP), London

To point out the challenges IDP are facing at the
time of digitization

To provide a view on digital preservation
method from LIFE project
Importance of the study
 Information
 Historical
Importance
 Significance
in Human Progress
 Artistic Value
 Psychological Aspect
 Social Aspect
International Dunhuang Project (IDP)

International Dunhuang Project (IDP) is the largest and
most successful project of its kind.
(paintings, artifacts, manuscripts, historical photographs & maps)

All the data and images are freely accessible to all.

IDP was awarded the 2010 Casa Asia prize
‘for its enormous task in the recovery, preservation and exhibition of
information and images of the manuscripts, paintings and textiles found in the
Chinese city of Dunhuang and of the Silk Route’
All Collaborating Members of IDP
The British Library, London
State Library, Berlin
The British Museum, London
Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences
and Humanities, Berlin
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris
The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin
Musée Guimet, Paris
The National Library of China, Beijing
The National Museum of Ethnography,
Stockholm
The Dunhuang Academy, Dunhuang
The Sven Hedin Foundation, Stockholm
Academia Sinica, Taipei
The Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian
Institute, Washington DC
The Institute of Oriental Studies, St.
Petersburg
University of California at Los Angeles
The National Museum of India, New Delhi
Princeton University, (Gest Library and Art
Museum), Princeton
Ryukoku University, Kyoto
The Morgan Library, New York
Research Institute of Korean Studies, Seoul
Old Tibetan Documents Online (OTDO),
Japan
Procedure
IDP:The British Library, London

Formed in 1994 at the British Library with external
funds from Dunhuang and archaeological sites of the
Eastern Silk Road.

Over 100,000 images representing over 20,000 items
from the British Library were available online.

It is planned that 80% of the material will be available
by 2013 subject to funding.
Collection of Indian Manuscripts
Language(s) /
Script(s)
No. of manuscripts /
blockprints
Number
Digitized
Brahmi
7,575
7,280
Gandhari
351
351
Gupta
9
5
Kharosthi
370
370
Sanskrit
6,040
5,924
Digitization Projects of IDP

IDP UK opened a dedicated digitisation studio at the
British Library in 2000 with a grant from the Mellon
Foundation.
- More than 120,000 images of British Library Central Asian
collection items being freely accessible to all online.

A substantial proportion of the 6000 manuscript
fragments, although stable and requiring only minor
conservation for preservation purposes needed
specialist work before they could be digitised.
Challenges

Ever rising costs

Funding

Physical condition of objects

Difficult accessibility

Digital obsolescence

Legal and regulatory legitimacy
LIFE Project

LIFE (Lifecycle Information For E-Literature)
- to calculate the long-term costs & future requirements of the preservations of
digital assets
Generic LIFE Preservation Model:
(provides a solid foundation for the costing of preservation activity)

Preservation =
t * TEW + (t / ULE + PON) * (CRS + UME + PPA + QAA)
where:
TEW - Technology Watch = 1 metadata officer week @ £30k annual salary = £625
ULE – Unaided Life Expectancy of a Format
PON – Proportion of normalization
CRS – Cost of new rendering solution
UME – Update Metadata = 2 metadata officer weeks @ £30k annual salary = £1250
PPA – Performing preservation action
QAA – Quality Assurance
Conclusion

Collection of manuscripts are spread all over the country - in
different libraries, academic institutions, museums, etc. and in
public collections.

Sufficient information on manuscripts is not available. Today most
of them face survival threats.

We strongly advocates for the national and international cooperation
–
◦ to save those manuscripts from deteriorations
◦ to run projects for digitization of those manuscripts
◦ to raise funds for digitization projects
◦ to set quality and technical standards
◦ to make all content information available on the Internet
◦ to encourage the use for educational and research purpose
THANK YOU ALL
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