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09 Dec 2022, 02:13 HRS IST
  • PTI
  • British Library to digitise 4,000 Bengali books

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21:57 HRS IST

From Aditi Khanna

London, Dec 18 (PTI)
A new British Library project will digitise 4,000 early printed Bengali books, amounting to more than 800,000 pages, as part of the UK India Year of Culture plans for 2017

The digitisation project is part of a wider "Two Centuries of Indian Print" project, an international partnership led by the British Library with funding from the Newton Fund to digitise unique material from its South Asian printed books collection The books are in high demand and span at least 22 South Asian languages

The project will explore how digital research methods and tools can be applied to this unique digitised collection, and will deliver digital skills workshops and training sessions at Indian institutions to support innovative research within South Asian studies

Baroness Blackstone, chairman of the British Library, said: "This exciting project will make South Asia's rich and vibrant printed heritage accessible to everyone; millions of pages will be digitised for researchers around the world

"I am very much looking forward to meeting our partner institutions in India this week to discuss the collaboration

I thank them and our funding supporters for making Two Centuries of Indian Print possible."

Two Centuries of Indian Print recently benefited from an additional donation of nearly 500,000 pounds from the Newton Fund, which will allow for the digitisation of the South Asian Vernacular Tracts series, of which the Library holds approximately 6,000 volumes

These are rare, fragile publications, many of which do not survive in other library collections, meaning they are hugely in demand by researchers

UK universities and science minister Jo Johnson said: "The British Library hosts the world?s largest single collection of early printed South Asian books and the Two Centuries of Indian Print project is an inspiring initiative that will give both researchers and the public access to this rich heritage."

Also as part of the 'Two Centuries of Indian Print' project, the British Library is also collaborating with partner institutions in India to share knowledge and skills, helping to stimulate digital scholarship and build research capacity.

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