The NMML has undertaken a project to digitize its collection of newspapers, manuscripts, photographs and other related documents as the existing methods of preservation and accessibility of research resources are outdated in the context of rapid growth of information technology. Digitized holdings will dramatically improve accessibility and ensure better preservation of documents and will prevent excessive exposure of original documents increasing their longevity.

The broad proposals in this regard are Digitization of Archival Documents, Digitization of Newspapers on Microfilms and the setting up of a Digital Archival Management System. The proposal for Digitization of Archival Documents will eventually cover about 90 lakh archival documents in our holdings. This includes digitization and full text conversion with search facility. In the first phase, 35 lakh documents will be digitized after due prioritization.

The proposal for Digitization of Newspapers on Microfilm will eventually cover the 110 lakh pages of newspapers on microfilm in our library. In the first phase, 10 lakh pages are proposed to be digitized after due prioritization.

A Digital Archival Management System is proposed to be set up which will store data digitized for posterity. The System will also have a copy of the same data which could be retrieved for use by scholars. Storage devices, other hardware and necessary software support will be in place in the Library.

Work on this component began in 2007 with the conduct of a few pilot studies and preparation of a tentative tender document for internal discussion. NMML have drawn on the expertise of sister organizations, software and hardware experts from Private and Public organizations in arriving at our road map for digitization. Of special mention is the two-day national workshop on NMML Digitization on 13-14 March 2009 attended by about one hundred people. Leading experts from institutions such as CDAC, CSIR, IGNCA, IGNOU, DD Archives, National Film Archives of India at Pune, Delhi University, Central Secretariat Library, Central University Hyderabad, Alkazi Photo Archives, American Institute of Indian Studies, The Hindu Library, and representatives of Microsoft, TCS, Wipro, Ninestar, AEL Data, IBM, Kodak and others took part. As part of this workshop, a panel discussion on digitization of non-textual content was organized under Dr Utpal Banerjee which discussed issues and challenges faced during digitization of non textual content.

Members of NMML digitzation team also attended a two day workshop organized by C-DAC, Pune “Indo-US Workshop on International Trends in Digital Preservation”. This workshop was an initiative of the National Digital Preservation Programme of Department of Information Technology, Government of India.

We expect that digitization will take place at the rate of 3 lakh pages per month and about 25-30% of the digitization work will be completed in the first one year. Meta data creation (Cataloguing), which will be an integral part of the Integrated Document Management System (IDMS), is the first priority, followed by English language newspapers of the 18th and 19th centuries.

During the first year, we are planning to complete 100% of metadata and 100% of our photograph archives. Since microfilming is the current accepted standard for long term preservation, high priority documents will be digitized and a microfilm copy made simultaneously for preservation. By the end of second year, we plan to complete the newspaper archives and 30% of manuscripts.