Digital Preservation

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The presentation made during the INDEST Workshop & SIS 2008 Conference held at IIM Indore during 4-6 Dec 08.

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Digital Preservation

  1. 1. Digital Preservation: An Enduring Solution to Indian Archives and Manuscripts Dr. H.S. Chopra PhD. (History); PhD.(Library and Inf. Science) Head, Bhai Gurdas Library, Guru Nanak Dev University,Amritsar [email_address]
  2. 2. <ul><li>Human being passed through Pastoral, Agrarian, Industrial and Information Society. </li></ul><ul><li>Our age is moving towards ‘Knowledge Society’ </li></ul><ul><li>Indian civilisation is as old as that of Assyria, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Egypt & China. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Since hoary past human being has been expressing his views on walls of the caves Bhimbedka (MP) Lascaux (France)
  4. 4. <ul><li>Claytablets : Babylonia, Egypt, Mesopotamia </li></ul><ul><li>Papyrus : Egypt </li></ul><ul><li>Stones and Rocks : India </li></ul><ul><li>Birch bark, Palm Leaves: India </li></ul><ul><li>Jade, Bone, Shell, Pottery, Bamboo: China </li></ul><ul><li>Wooden Boards: India, China </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Paper has a long history of about 2000 years. </li></ul><ul><li>Still paper is used all the world over and by every human being. </li></ul><ul><li>For the last 4000 years India has been continuously attacked by invaders of different countries and different nations </li></ul>
  6. 6. Motive of Invaders <ul><li>Destruction of </li></ul><ul><li>Holy Places </li></ul><ul><li>Historical Buildings </li></ul><ul><li>Educational Institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Manuscripts </li></ul><ul><li>Any thing against their ideology </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Archives and manuscripts have a long history </li></ul><ul><li>Oriental Civilizations were the developed ones in comparison to others. </li></ul><ul><li>Still 20% of the total ancient literature of the world is available in India </li></ul><ul><li>Indian manuscripts are still available in Denmark, France, Germany , the U.K., Nepal, U.S.A , Pakistan and Sri Lanka </li></ul>
  8. 8. Traditional Preservation <ul><li>Use of superior paper </li></ul><ul><li>Use of leaves of Margosa tree </li></ul><ul><li>Use of Ghora Bach </li></ul><ul><li>Ink with Stick of Neem Tree </li></ul><ul><li>Use of cloth </li></ul>
  9. 9. Archives <ul><li>Archives were known to Oriental Civilizations </li></ul><ul><li>India has National Archives of India and 27 State Archives </li></ul><ul><li>Documents of pre and after British Rule, history, deeds, records of princely states, rare agreements, old maps, rare books etc. are in Archives. </li></ul><ul><li>Day to day these valuable documents are becoming brittle because of various reasons. </li></ul><ul><li>National Archives of India need to adopt latest technology and in order to protect rare documents </li></ul>
  10. 10. National Mission for Manuscripts <ul><li>A right step but half century late. </li></ul><ul><li>NMM is arranging seminars, awareness programmes and workshops. </li></ul><ul><li>Digitization of the manuscripts is its prime motive. </li></ul><ul><li>Co-operation of the Universities can make it successful. </li></ul><ul><li>No individual, university or public library will give the copyright to NMM. </li></ul><ul><li>Database of one million manuscripts is available on Net. </li></ul><ul><li>More efforts are required to update it. </li></ul><ul><li>National Mission for Manuscript’s plan to create awareness among people is yet to start. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Advent of Information Technology <ul><li>Within a decade the working of archives, libraries and manuscript depositories has changed </li></ul><ul><li>New Information Technology is supportive for preservation of rare and brittle documents </li></ul><ul><li>Documents or any kind of material in digital images can be saved. </li></ul><ul><li>Digital preservation has become more important in view of born digital documents increasing at a rapid speed. </li></ul><ul><li>Fear of obsolescence on Net exists. </li></ul><ul><li>Longevity of digital documents is in question </li></ul>
  12. 12. Digital Preservation and Unesco <ul><li>European Commission funded ERPANET project to unite different initiatives of Digital Preservation. </li></ul><ul><li>Unesco has launched a new initiative of ‘Preserving our Digital Heritage’. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Information Society’ or ‘Knowledge Society’ require preservation of digital documents. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Digitization Projects in India <ul><li>A large number of educational institutions and other organisations are engaged in this process. </li></ul><ul><li>Under million book project so far two million books have been digitized. </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright problem is major hurdle in digitization of books in regional languages </li></ul>
  14. 14. Preservation Methods <ul><li>Refreshing : transfer of data between two types of the same storage medium. </li></ul><ul><li>Migration : Transferring of data to newer system environment conversion of resources from one format to another. Assurance is must for complete security of data. </li></ul><ul><li>Replication : Creation of duplicate copies of data on one or more system. </li></ul><ul><li>Replicated ones should be placed at a separate place and away from the main building. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Emulation : </li></ul><ul><li>It is replication of functionality of an obsolete system. </li></ul><ul><li>Useful for preservation of old video game sytems. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Practical Approach <ul><li>Paper of ancient and medieval period lasted hundred of years because it was acid free, prepared from superior rags etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Present acid paper can last only 50 to 60 years. </li></ul><ul><li>Digital objects can last only for few years. </li></ul><ul><li>Selection of documents for digitization </li></ul><ul><li>Digitization is cheap, easy and fast in India. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Intellectual Property Rights <ul><li>IPR is a major obstacle for the digitization. </li></ul><ul><li>Publication of books increased after independence. </li></ul><ul><li>For example in Punjabi very few works relate to pre 1947 A.D. </li></ul><ul><li>Digitization Centre has to be very careful </li></ul><ul><li>CDAC/NMM have to move with the times. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Metadata <ul><li>Digitized document should have underlying abstract. </li></ul><ul><li>Every document can have </li></ul>Content Information Preservation Description Information
  19. 19. Reference Information on NET <ul><li>NMM has put data of one million manuscripts. </li></ul><ul><li>Database is incomplete </li></ul><ul><li>Information Collection is slow </li></ul><ul><li>Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar has put the information of Manuscripts on NET. </li></ul><ul><li>All manuscripts have been digitized. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Dangers to Digital Document <ul><li>Failures of </li></ul><ul><li>Media </li></ul><ul><li>Hardware </li></ul><ul><li>Software </li></ul><ul><li>Network </li></ul><ul><li>Obsolescence of Media, Software, Hardware </li></ul><ul><li>Natural Disaster </li></ul><ul><li>External Attack </li></ul><ul><li>Economic Failure </li></ul><ul><li>Organization Failure </li></ul>
  21. 21. Softwares <ul><li>Xena is an open and free software developed by the National Archives of Australia </li></ul><ul><li>X – SML </li></ul><ul><li>E – Electronic </li></ul><ul><li>N – Normalising </li></ul><ul><li>A – Archives </li></ul>
  22. 22. OAIS <ul><li>O Open </li></ul><ul><li>A Archival </li></ul><ul><li>I Information </li></ul><ul><li>S System </li></ul><ul><li>It is for an archive consisting of people and systems that has accepted the responsibility to preserve information and make it available for designated community. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Library of Congress <ul><li>It has a large number of books and 35 terabytes files. </li></ul><ul><li>They see a solution in emulation. </li></ul><ul><li>Original EDSAC program has been run successfully on the modern personal computer. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Conclusion <ul><li>Orthodox see Digital Dark Age </li></ul><ul><li>Our duty is to preserve our cultural heritage at any cost. </li></ul><ul><li>No doubt computers and softwares are galloping </li></ul><ul><li>Will digital preservation be reality ? </li></ul><ul><li>Technologies will go on improving and digital preservation will be safe and enduring </li></ul>
  25. 25. Thanks

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