State archives dept to digitise 10 crore pages

State archives dept to digitise 10 crore pages

In a few years, accessing documents on land acquisition in Delhi or the jail records of freedom fighters would only be a click away.

The Delhi Archives department is planning to digitise and microfilm around 10 crore pages of documents.
The estimated cost of the project is Rs 50 crore.

While digitising would help preserving the original documents longer, it would also enable the public to access state records liberally. 

The state department has roped in the National Institute of Smart Government (NISG) as the consultant for the project. The project, however, is awaiting the approval of the Finance department.

“This is a unique project in which we are planning to digitise and microfilm around 10 crore documents pertaining to Delhi from 1785-1970. The archives department, which is the custodian of all records, will be able to open the records for the public who can freely access it for any kind of reference material. On the other hand, microfilms will enable one to view the records roll by roll,” said Sanjay Garg, archivist.

Currently, the archive centre is mostly accessed by research scholars working on specialised areas. A permission from the government is required to gain entry into the centre.

In a pilot project carried out in 2006-2007, around three lakh documents were digitised.

These digitised documents are only available via intra-net or inside the department. With a permit, anyone can access these documents too.

The documents will be available in at least four languages – English, Hindi, Urdu, Persian. Manuscripts in Awadhi, Braj would also be available online.

“Digitising the records would make one feel great about the cultural heritage of the city. It would also help one promptly access the materials without damaging or mishandling the original,” said Garg.

Six years to complete

If the proposal gets a go-ahead, the NISG, which is handling the technical expertise of the project, will take at least six years to complete the project.

“We have an estimated a minimum of six years as it is a long procedure. Overhead scanners which emanate soft light will be used for the purpose. It is both expensive and time consuming as a lot of manual work is involved,” said the archivist.

The department holds records in maps, photographs, manuscripts, state district jail records, CID records and Delhi gazettes, among other documents.

The department is responsible to procure documents pertaining to policy decisions of the state.

The Northern Railway is scheduled to come up with a coffee-table book on Delhi has taken photographs from the state archives department.  

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