[INDOLOGY] Digitization of Rare books at the BORI

Olivelle, J P jpo at austin.utexas.edu
Tue Aug 1 08:16:04 EDT 2017


I was at BORI last week and visited the digitization office with Prof. Bahulkar. They have three impressive digitizing machines, and as I understood it, they will make the final product available online. Right now it is in an intranet available only in-house. They are planning on digitizing their rare books library and the manuscript library. I am not sure whether the latter will be available to all comers on the internet, or will be protected by password and payment.

Patrick




On Aug 1, 2017, at 1:18 AM, Madhav Deshpande via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:

I agree with you.

On Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 8:58 AM Dominik Wujastyk <wujastyk at gmail.com<mailto:wujastyk at gmail.com>> wrote:
Dear Madhav and friends,

Thanks for the great news about digitization plans at BORI.

There's a phenomenon I've begun to be aware of over the last few years.  An institution or person in India announces a digitization plan.  Then some digitization actually happens.  But then, the resulting files are hoarded and not made available to scholars.  This has happened with MS collections in Kerala, Mysore and elsewhere.  There are exceptions, of course.

What motives and ideas are behind this behaviour?

"Digitization" is a kind of magic word.  It is a semiotic sign for participation in a progressive, modern world.  It's what you do if you don't know what to do.  And "digitization" is also a sign for possession:  if a manuscript is digitized it has been grasped or gained in some psychological sense.   A couple of decades ago there was a similar aura surrounding "making a database." It was a self-standing good, and sent out a semiotic sign of ownership and power.  "I have a database of the Vedas," was an assertion of power and status independent of the instrumentalization of the database.

So perhaps it's reasonably easy to account for a desire to digitize something.  (NB I'm not talking about rational reasons, but about irrational motives.)

Then, why refuse to share the resulting digital files?  Perhaps for all the old reasons, connected with ideas about loss of mana (in the Austronesian sense), fears about making a dreadful mistake, and residual anger resulting from constructions of colonial oppression.

Excuse my ramblings!

Dominik



​
--
Professor Dominik Wujastyk<http://ualberta.academia.edu/DominikWujastyk>
​,​

Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity
​,​

Department of History and Classics<http://historyandclassics.ualberta.ca/>
​,​
University of Alberta, Canada
​.​

South Asia at the U of A:

​sas.ualberta.ca​<http://sas.ualberta.ca/>
​​


On 28 July 2017 at 16:37, Madhav Deshpande via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:
Here is an exciting news report about digitization of rare books at the BORI:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/digitalisation-of-rare-books-at-bori/articleshow/59502406.cms

I hope the digitization projects succeed and the digitized books become openly available to scholars worldwide.

Congratulations to Shrikant Bahulkar and his team at the BORI.

Madhav Deshpande

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