The A C Joshi library in Panjab University is all set to digitise and convert all the PhD theses that it has stored in hard copy format. The new researches will also now be accepted only along with a soft copy of it. According to the library staff,a grant of Rs 25 lakhs from the PU funds was allocated,in principle,for this purpose,by the previous vice-chancellor,R C Sobti,before the completion of his term about three months ago.
The proposal is now awaiting final approval by the Finance Committee. The finance development officer is to decide upon a suitable date to call for a meeting and make final decisions on the sanctioning of the grant.
The A C Joshi library has a record of over ten thousand doctoral theses,in print format. The plan is to procure equipment and staff to convert these into digital soft copies. The librarian,Raj Kumar,said,We will try to get the work outsourced once the grant is sanctioned,so that it gets done faster.
Equipment will be procured to scan and convert the theses into pdf format and then a software will also be acquired for character recognition within the scanned files. This will be done so that keyword search in these files are possible.
According to the Dean University Instructions,Bhupinder Brar,The process of digitisation is a step ahead towards using technology to prolong the lives of these researches. However,it can lead to an increase as well as decrease in plagiarism.
He said that while it will become easier to copy and paste material,it will,at the same time,become easier to detect such an act.
In a similar manner,the process of saving digital copies of rare manuscripts and books had been initiated at PU about seven years back. A scanning camera was gifted to the library by an alumni in 2005. Since then,744 manuscripts,out of a total of 1492,have been able to be scanned and saved electronically.
Raj Kumar said,We dont have much manpower and this work requires great precision. Many of these manuscripts are thousands of years old and one needs to be very careful with scanning each page at a time. It is a lengthy and cumbersome process which is why it is taking time. Besides only one person can do it as there is just one machine.
A proposal of 1 crore,for the same purpose,was sent to the University Grants Commission (UGC) about a year ago.
However,when no response was received from there,the University decided to initiate the process itself,at a more modest level and the VC gave his nod to the 25 lakh project.
PU might also soon be a part of a UGC project,Shodhganga,a web portal of Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET),to make all its theses available online. However,this project is still in the pipeline and a panel meeting is to be held before a Memorandum of Understanding can be signed between PU and UGC.
INFLIBNET Centre is an Autonomous Inter-University Centre (IUC) of UGC,involved in creating infrastructure for sharing of library and information resources and services among Academic and Research Institutions and works collaboratively with Indian university libraries.