Push the boundaries

Photo: Special Arrangement

Photo: Special Arrangement  

With e-books and digital content springing up, libraries need to refurnish their content to remain accessible to the public

The paradigmatic shift from libraries to e-libraries and digital archives has created a need to transform to digital platforms to engage with the new age readers. Antonius Raghubansie, Head India Teaching and Cultural Centres, British Council and Vikas Gupta, managing director, Wiley India, highlight the nuances of digital libraries and the impact on readership.

According to Antonius Raghubansie, British Council's Head of India Teaching and Cultural Centres, the British Council is making their resources accessible to the new generation of readers by providing access which was earlier only limited to big cities.

Ideas for life

“Foreign libraries such as the British Library or the American Centre Library are magnificent platforms where users engage in an interchange of ideas and they provide a healthy space where ideas can flourish, live, grow and remain protected. They intermingle the offering with books and content of regional and cultural importance. For example the British Library offers a range of content from specific regions. A lot of these foreign libraries get fundings from their governments to promote local culture thereby providing access to a variety of content,” said Gupta.

Antonius adds that the country is opening up the concept of open learning spaces wherein the entire building is open for use for the readers along with wifi connections and other necessary amenities . The idea is to push the boundaries of readership in the country in with e-comics, e-trainers for professionals and learners seeking help in the specific fields and not just remain confined to the learning spaces within the libraries.

According to Gupta digital libraries can even give access to restricted content which may not be available for public reading and sharing otherwise, due to government policies and regional sensitivities. Besides, these smart libraries also act as a cultural bridge between the respective countries and the members accessing the content — helping them prepare well for their careers.

“While a global library is more of a channel with larger content access, the role of a publisher is to publish the content without any fear of antagonising. A publisher must be neutral in his/her approach responsible for just producing global quality authentic content in the age of Google,” said Gupta on the ethics of publishing and the heightened responsibility with unimpeded online platforms.

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The article has been updated to reflect Mr. Antonius Raghubansie's full name and designation.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 9:53:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/push-the-boundaries/article26223423.ece

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