National Library is going digital. Just so it becomes easier for book lovers and researchers to access some of the rare books online like never before. The library has just completed cataloging about 2 lakh books, some published as early as 1607.
The procedure before they are available to readers is to standardize the cataloging in terms of MARC 21 that stands for Machine Readable Catalog currently in vogue in prestigious institutions like the Library Congress of Washington. [Refer TT story, Books a click away]
In June last year when the project started, I had speculated in my article, National Library’s online venture and Google that probably it was in keeping with Google’s Library Project that was launched end-2004.
Google’s book search is still in beta, which may be because the project is still to take a final shape.
If National Library’s digitization of its treasure trove can be accessed from Google’s book search through mutually beneficial terms – provided at all this happens, now or in distant future – it will increase the institute’s stature in the eyes of discerning knowledge seekers.
National Library came into being in 1836 with the formation of the then Calcutta Public Library, the first proprietor being the illustrious Prince Dwarkanath Tagore after he offered a princely subscription of Rs.300, a significant amount at that time (reference: Wikipedia).
Now under the administrative control of Ministry of Tourism & Culture, National Library is the largest library in India, and one that is home to India’s public records.
After the present digitization drive is completed, magazines and newspapers published from 1584 till date will be just a click away. And yes, readers will be able to take printouts of desired texts against payment of fee.
Knowledge knows no bounds. Let there be none.