[Humanist] 23.241 new on WWW: the Panjab Digital Library

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Aug 21 07:46:05 CEST 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 241.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2009 06:16:11 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: Panjab Digital Library

> Revealing the Invisible Heritage of Panjab
> For the first time ever a searchable collection of millions of rare
> pages on the Sikhs and the region of Panjab has been made available.
> Panjab Digital Library (PDL) will include texts of manuscripts,
> books, magazines, newspapers and photographs and will be available to
> anyone with Internet access at www.PanjabDigiLib.org. This launch was
> made possible in part by The Nanakshahi Trust and the Sikh Research
> Institute (SikhRI).
> PDL has been in development since 2003, charged with a mission to
> select, collect, preserve, digitize and make accessible the
> accumulated wisdom of Panjab. Texts were included without distinction
> as to script, language, religion, nationality, or other human
> condition.
> “Since long, preservation of heritage, research and education have
> been a victim of apathy in Panjab; more so, in the last century. With
> the launch of the online digital library, we have tried to fill some
> of that gap. PDL is a humble offering to the community what it lost
> 25 years ago,” said Harinder Singh, co-founder and executive director
> of SikhRI who also serves on PDL board. “Scholars will be able to
> access a wide variety of information concealed in the manuscripts and
> other literature of the region with the click of a mouse sitting in
> the comfort of their homes. This is essential to the growth of Sikh
> and Panjab studies and its meaningful representation in the
> fast-changing modern world.”
> Digitization technology brings with it untold benefits for heritage
> preservation and access. Once a document has been properly digitized
> it becomes immortal and can remain accessible long after the original
> has ceased to exist. The option of digital access further aids in
> preservation of originals through reduced need for physical handling.
> The central digital archive which the PDL has developed over the last
> six years allows for wide electronic access to the public and will
> help the researcher to search, browse and sift through vast amounts
> of data in seconds.
> According to Davinder Pal Singh, PDL’s co-founder and executive
> director, “PDL will break many barriers which currently restrict a
> conventional library. Information is decentralized, through its
> shared storage and access model, thus enabling utilization of a
> single resource concurrently by multiple users all over the world. On
> a local note, assuming that every household will possibly have a
> computer within the next ten years, PDL holds great promises for the
> people of Panjab especially.”
> “To date, PDL has been instrumental in digitally preserving over 2.5
> million folios from 3,400 manuscripts, 2,200 books, 1,990 issues of
> periodicals, 5,578 issues of newspapers, 3,152 photographs, 248,000
> legal documents and some 168 hours of video recordings,” commented
> Gurvinder Singh, PDL’s US Coordinator. The current collection of data
> amounts to about 15,000 GB of available information.
> Among others, major institutional collections digitized to date
> include SGPC, DSGMC, Government Museum and Art Gallery Chandigarh,
> Chief Khalsa Diwan, Panjab Languages Department, and Kurukshetra
> University . Critical works of significant importance from the
> personal collections of Prof. Pritam Singh, Dr. Man Singh Nirankari,
> Dr. Kirpal Singh, Dr. Madanjit Kaur and Prof. Gurtej Singh are also
> available at PDL. 
> "PDL is the only non-profit, non-governmental organization to have
> initiated a digitization project for the preservation and upkeep of
> Panjab archives, and perhaps the only one in India ” said Gurnihal
> Singh Pirzada Director, PDL’s board member. “PDL has undertaken
> rigorous research and laid solid ground work in order to be in the
> best possible position for this launch. Projects around the globe
> were closely studied as models for establishing a successful
> digitization project. Internationally recognized benchmarks were
> referred to and complied with,” he further said.
> PDL is an ongoing project in its early stages and the collection will
> grow substantially in coming years. New titles are being digitized
> everyday and the Web site will be updated with new features and
> titles on monthly basis. PDL staff will be adding at least 50,000
> pages per week to the Web site’s collection.
> Contact Person: Davinder Pal Singh davinder.singh at panjabdigilib.org |
> +91-98141 13

Willard McCarty, Professor of Humanities Computing,
King's College London, staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/;
Editor, Humanist, www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist;
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, www.isr-journal.org.

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