New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) The Jamia Milia Islamia University will digitise the ancient books and priceless manuscripts in its library, some dating back to the 16th century, to widen their access for researchers.
More than 1,600 rare books and 2,500 manuscripts published between the 16th and 19th century and in languages ranging from Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Pushtu, Punjabi and Brij Bhasha will be digitised.
Presently housed in its Dr. Zakir Husain Library, the books are on many subjects, including Quranic studies, Sufism, Unani medicine, mathematics, oriental studies, Hinduism, astronomy, astrology, logic and philosophy.
The process is being done in collaboration with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC).
'We have already signed an agreement with CDAC and work will begin soon. The initiative will facilitate better upkeep of these rare knowledge sources. Our primary aim is to help researchers from across the country to access them,' said S.M. Afzal, Jamia registrar.
'Urdu and English newspapers published in the late 19th and early 20th century, including Al-Hilal, Awadh Punch, Madeena-Bijnor and Khilafat will be similarly digitised,' Afzal told IANS.
The process will begin in September and take nearly a year for completion.
While access to majority of the books will be free of cost, users will have to pay a certain amount to access some of the rare books. 'The final decision on this regard will be decided later,' he added.
After the project is completed, the varsity plans to digitise thousands of other books, journals and resource materials for the public.
'The digitisation is a model for future such work in major areas. It will ensure that rare and valuable work is safely preserved in digital format for future generations,' an official added.
The library currently is home to over 2,200 e-journals by scholars in the field of natural sciences, engineering and technology, social sciences, humanities, languages and law.
It also has valuable source material on the history of the freedom movement in the form of private papers of eminent Indian leaders. The papers of three of Jamia's founders - Maulana Mohammed Ali, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari -, who were also presidents of the Indian National Congress before 1947 are stored in the library.
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