Jamia Millia Islamia Digitises Old and Rare Books

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Around 2,230 rare books and manuscripts – including a 13th-century book by popular scientist of the time Abu Ali Sina, 18th century translated versions of the Mahabharata and Padmavat in Persian and Urdu and a copy of 17th-century Persian book on human anatomy-will soon be available online at Jamia Millia Islamia’s central library. The university concluded its yearlong process of conserving and digitising these rare books and manuscripts.
After this digitisation project, the university has received an assurance of Rs.10 lakh as financial assistance from the National Archives of India to set up its own digitisation and conservation unit for archives.
Jamia has a collection of around 2,500 rare books and manuscripts of which 2,230 have been digitised under this project. The project was started in February last year. The
books were first conserved using tissue lamination as per the norms of National Archives of India. As the pages of these books were extremely brittle, they were bound before digitisation.
“We generally use scanners for the digitisation of old books and manuscripts. But, here, we used DSLR cameras instead. Though we could not capture the images as
per standards of scanners, it cost us much less,” said Naseem Hasan of Noor International Microfilm Centre situated at Iran Culture House.
“There are around 80 copies of handwritten Quran in different calligraphic styles with gold and indigo illuminations. We have digitised a 17th-century Persian book, Ajaib-al-makhluqat, having gold illustrations,” said Umaima Farooqui, assistant archivist and the in-charge of the manuscript section at the university library. The university is simultaneously producing the metadata of these books and manuscripts and these will soon be available for access by research scholars at the library.