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article image72,300 ancient manuscripts to be digitized in India

By Sravanth Verma     Sep 15, 2014 in Internet
Several thousand manuscripts that are centuries old are set to be digitized and made available over the Internet in the public domain, thanks to an initiative by the state government of Tamil Nadu in India.
The 72,300 rare and original palm-leaf manuscripts are currently stored at the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library in the state's capital city, Chennai. A majority of the manuscripts are written in the ancient language of Sanskrit, while the remaining, about a third, are mostly in the Tamil language. The topics covered by them include mathematics, philosophy, treatises on the Vedas, and architecture.
The government initiative is looking to better preserve the state's cultural and intellectual heritage, and has received the go ahead from the state Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Once digitized, the manuscripts will be available on a special portal.
Several manuscripts are between three and four centuries old, and a few are up to five centuries old. The project will work with a funding of INR 2.84 crore (USD $470,000) and at least half the job is slated to be completed in a year.
The project will be undertaken by the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu and will use overhead scanners to protect the brittle and fragile manuscripts from damage. The Sanskrit language manuscripts are already available as a microfilm and will therefore be directly transferred to a more website-friendly format. Once digitized, the manuscripts are expected to spur research in various fields, including linguistics, history and archaeology.
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