New Delhi university preserves rare books electronically

The Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, India plans to digitize its collection of books and manuscripts, some of them dating to the 16th century, to make them more accessible to researchers, an Associated Press report said.

The report said more than 1,600 rare books and 2,500 manuscripts, published from the 16th to 19th centuries, would be converted into digital form.

"Our primary aim is to help researchers from across the country to access the rare books, papers and manuscripts," S.M. Afzal, a university official, was quoted as saying.

The yearlong project, scheduled to begin in September, would "ensure that rare and valuable work is safely preserved in digital format for future generations," Afzal said.

The books and manuscripts are in different languages, including Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Pashtu and Punjabi, the report said.

The report further said the library also had numerous collections of original papers relating to India's independence from British rule in 1947, including the private papers of many independence leaders.