9TH – 11TH DECEMBER 2019
SEMINAR HALL – IIT DELHI, INDIA
Strengthening SAARC through Digital Heritage
In the strife-torn world today, taken apart by differences in ethnicity, religion, language, races and so on, digital heritage and culture play the critical role of a bonding agent as demonstrated by leading digital (heritage) library projects across the World.
Europeana.eu – the EU digital platform for cultural heritage, integrates Europe’s heritage in terms of over 50 million digital objects from more than 3,000 institutions in about 30 countries and in over 50 languages in Europe. World Digital Library (WDL), an initiative by UNESCO and Library of Congress(LoC), promotes international and intercultural understanding and provides resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences to narrow the digital divide within and among countries by integrating over 19 thousand items about 193 countries, having coverage between 8000 BCE and 2000 and in 145 languages. Closer home, Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME) federates Middle Eastern collections from around the world, creating a digital library of cultural material to address the tragic displacement of people and losses of life in conflict zones and the ongoing threats to the cultural heritage of the region through destruction, looting and illegal trade. Similar efforts exist in some big countries as well. Like Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Trove empower people to learn, share, and grow, by maximizing public access to shared history, culture, and knowledge of America and Australia respectively. Digital Heritage provides a unique opportunity for SAARC where 8 countries separated by political boundaries share their common heritage of several millennia, colonial past, ethnicity, A long tradition of economic and cultural exchanges, and aspirations. Thus a platform of shared digital heritage in SAARC facilitated by UNESCO can greatly increase regional cooperation.
In the past couple of years, National Digital Library of India (NDLI) has closely interacted and learnt from the above initiatives. These learnings will be shared in this talk with a proposal for the Digital Heritage Platform for SAARC. It will also glimpse through various digital heritage initiatives of NDLI.