Published: 21st September 2017
Book lovers rejoice, Tamil Nadu Virtual Academy digitises and uploads around 10K rare Tamil books
A chunk of the books are from the personal collection of Serfoji II, a former ruler of Thanjavur, while others are coming from the library as well as eight participating centres
More than 4,000 rare Tamil books maintained at the medieval Saraswathi Mahal library have been digitised and uploaded in digital format in the digital library, created by the Tamil Virtual Academy (TNVA).
In the first phase, one lakh books are to be digitised. So far, about 10,000 books and magazines from all the participating institutions have been uploaded in the digital library website
In the medieval Saraswathi Mahal Library, formed during the Thanjavur Nayak Kingdom (1532-1673) and developed during the Maratha Kingdom (1674-1855), there are as many as 60,000 books. Of these, 3,800 books are part of the personal collection of Rajah Serfoji II (1787-1832)
About 1,900 books from his personal collection have been scanned and uploaded recently in the library website. The catalogue of these books are available for free on the website, the officials said.
The academy has identified eight centres across the state, including Saraswathi Mahal Library, U Ve Sa Library, Government Oriental Manuscripts Library and Research Centre, Connemara Library and Tamil Nadu Archives, Chennai. In all these places, scanners have been installed and digitisation is underway.
The books can be read online or downloaded for free from their website, an official, involved with the digitisation project said. The digitisation of rare books at the library, with the help of the Tamil Nadu Virtual Academy (TNVA), has been going on for more than a year now. TNVA had taken up digitising books published from 1556 till 1957, since the copyright act came into effect in 1957.
"All these books collected by King Serfoji were printed before the year 1830," an official on the project told Express. The digitisation of the remaining books at the library is on with six scanners installed at the library premises.
The recently scanned books from Serfoji's collection include the first ever Tamil-English Dictionary published by Johann Phillip Fabricius (1711 – 1791) in 1779, the officials said
Besides uploading the books on the web portal of Tamil digital library, the digital copies of the books are also available with the Saraswathi Mahal library. Researchers and students could read them here on offline mode and in certain cases they could get a copy of the book.
A separate digital library for the purpose is in the making at Saraswathi Mahal Library premises. The digital copies of the books from here as well as from other nodal centres where the Virtual Academy has deployed scanners, will be available in the proposed digital library, sources added.
(This story was first published in the New Indian Express)