There is a need for evolving a standard for digital preservation of books, S. Xavier Alphonse, Member, University Grants Commission, said here on Friday.

“There are many reasons for the slow phase of development of digital preservation programmes. Digital policy, human resource implications, technology obsolescence, insufficient resources and inadequate planning are the major obstacles,” he said at the inauguration of the ‘National Conference on Next Generation Digital Libraries and Web Technologies: Challenges and Opportunities' at the Sri Krishna College of Engineering and Technology.

“There is also a gap between current models for digital preservation and status of digital preservation in many institutions, which do not have well developed digital preservation policies or established methods, to preserve digital information.”

Mr. Alphonse said librarians should work on developing standards and policy for digital preservation, influencing data creation, increasing collaborations in digital preservation, ensuring that digital rights did not impede digital preservation, integrating digital preservation into mainstream operations, maintaining access to preserved digital materials, etc.

On the issue of ownership and access, he said, “Ownership versus access is still a dilemma being faced by many librarians. It is the right time for librarians, information and knowledge managers, library associations and leaders of consortia to unite and create maximum pressure on publishers and aggregators of bibliographic and full-text scholarly e-resources to design an integrated common digital gateway and ensure that the use of the same is made mandatory for the sake of profound and intelligent research in every field of study.”

Fazlur Rahman, Librarian of the College and Organising Secretary of the Conference, said 118 papers were selected for presentation.

S. Subramanian, Principal, said the need for digitising books was more now because people were downloading books onto hand-held devices for reading. S. Malarvizhi, Managing Trustee, was present on the occasion.

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