The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is aiding an initiative of the Ministry of Culture under the National Mission of Libraries by way of creating a catalogue of libraries across India which apart from books includes artefacts and other resources from libraries, museums, archives, among others, as per an announcement on its website. And all this would be done using an open source platform, Koha, making its access free of cost.
The initiative, which would benefit researchers, scientists, artists, students, children, differently-abled persons, the general public and neo and non-literates, would entail an expenditure of Rs 400 crore. ‘IGNOU will have to collect bibliographic records of other major libraries across the country, provide training and data migration from other library automation software among other works,’ said Uma Kanjilal, a professor at IGNOU
Prof Ravindra Kumar, Vice Chancellor, IGNOU, during the inaugural session of a five-day training workshop organised by IGNOU in conjunction with the Ministry of Culture and the Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF), Kolkata emphasised the requirement of capacity building of library professionals, especially with the major trend adoption of ICT applications in all walks of life and the Digital India Initiative of the Government of India. IGNOU is giving hands on training to the participants on Koha open source applications in a dedicated NVLI lab in IGNOU campus, Delhi.
National Mission of Libraries (NML) envisages creation of a National Virtual Library database on digital information about India and on information generated in the country. The scheme would develop six libraries under the Ministry of Culture, 35 State central libraries and 35 district libraries as model libraries, with particular emphasis on economicallybackward districts.
IGNOU, along with IIT-Bombay and CDAC, have been entrusted with the responsibility of developing the National Virtual Library of India (NVLI) under NML which will be hosting information of the entire Indian cultural heritage on the digital web world.
Deepika Pokharna, Director (Library), Ministry of Culture, said that, ‘the Ministry’s thrust on automation of libraries prevails. If you go for RFID technology, you can manage your library well.’ She also mentioned that, even the artefacts of the museums which cannot be displayed due to paucity of space, can be converted into 3D images and digitised. ‘CDAC has developed software called JATAN that will help in digitising it,’ she added.

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