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Educational News Today
Friday, February 03, 2012
University mulls major digitisation drive

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala University Library is mulling digitising its vast collection of newspapers and rare books in its ‘closed reference' section.

The library is currently safeguarding thousands of daily newspapers from the year 1960 onwards. Its ‘closed reference' section is home to books which the library deems too precious - or too damaged - to be circulated.
Proposals for the same are ready and will be submitted to the university as part of the 12th Plan projects, sources in the library told The Hindu here on Wednesday.

“Lots of people come looking for back-volumes of the newspapers. For one, lifting these heavy ‘bound' and dust-laden volumes is physically taxing. Moreover, repeated use may result in some permanent damage to these newspapers,” a senior library official explained. The same holds true for the books in the wing.

Doctoral theses
Meantime, the library is awaiting university clearance for its proposal to digitise the doctoral theses on its shelves. The library now has 3,845 printed doctoral theses; the maximum number - 3,289 - are those relating to English Language and Literature. The total number of pages that are to be scanned and digitised is 11,53,500.

“The digitisation requires high-end scanners and other specialised digital technology such as image editing and indexing software.

The theses collection consists of English, Arabic, Hindi, Tamil, and Malayalam scripts which require the development, customisation, and supply of standard software that can process full text documents in all these languages. D-space, the most popular free digital library software, can be used for this purpose,” the proposal document notes.

The document pegs the assistance required for the project at Rs.1.15 crore.

Universities which sign an MoU with the UGC's INFLIBNET and submit the electronic version of their theses and dissertations to the ‘Shodh Ganga' project are eligible for financial assistance for digitising back-volumes of theses (before 2009) at the rate of Rs.4 a page up to a maximum of Rs.12 lakh.

The UGC may also then provide assistance for subscribing to software tools that detect plagiarism in such works, the proposal points out.

The library is also awaiting the nod from the university to start offering add-on facilities to members who use the digitised documents in the Kerala Studies section.

The plan is to charge Rs.2 a page for a printout and Rs.5 a CD for documents written on to one.

Five lakh pages of books relating to Kerala Studies were digitised at the library as part of the project launched in January 2009 and completed in November 2010.
Courtesy: The Hindu
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