India, France to work on digitisation of written heritage

Kolkata, Oct 28 (IANS) India and France on Wednesday agreed to cooperate in digital sharing and technology transfer for the preservation and publicisation of written heritage and records.

National Library of France (NLF) president Bruno Racine on behalf of the French government and Sreya Guha, joint secretary (Lib) in the union culture ministry, signed a memorandum of understanding at the National Library here to take forward the partnership.

“We are looking at capacity building in terms of manpower, technology transfer and exchanging expertise. India has certain expertise in preservation of manuscripts and deciphering of old texts while they (the NLF) have expertise in digitisation,” said Guha at the signing ceremony.

Racine said the NLF has old Sanskrit and Tamil manuscripts in its Indian collection.

“We have some records from India which are more than 300 years old. The collaboration will help in better understanding of the manuscripts, in particular Tamil manuscripts,” Racine said.

In addition, Guha said, the NLF also possesses letters by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and together both countries will work on digitization and sharing of these on India’s Tagore portal.

Guha said the thrust of the government in the cultural sector is on digitization, and in the library sciences the National Virtual Library project is the biggest initiative it has undertaken to implement the goals.

“All our collections, whether they are archival or collections in our libraries or the collections of the organizations under the ministry, all will be uploaded on this portal,” Guha added.

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