Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Digital Preservation In India

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) of India is one of the most innovative and much needed initiatives undertaken by Indian government. Being a digital library it must ensure digitalisation of contents as well as their digital preservation.

Digital preservation has assumed significance due to the extensive adoption of Internet and networking technologies. Individuals and organisations are producing vast amount and diverse nature of digital information that if not preserved would be lost forever. Digital preservation is a trustworthy solution ensuring long-term access to the past and contemporary digital information form future references.

Digital preservation is also an important requirement when it comes to preserving national heritage and other historic and current documents, manuscripts, heritage, etc. This is the reason why developed countries have a well established framework for digital preservation.

Although digital preservation is a very crucial field, yet it has not received much attention in India. Indian national digital preservation policy is still missing and there is no legal framework for digital preservation in India.

According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based IP and ICT law firm Perry4Law and leading techno legal expert of India, Digital Preservation Framework in India is missing as we do not have a “dedicated” techno legal Digital Preservation Law in India. Further, laws like Public Records Act, 1993, Right to Information Act, 2005, proposed Electronic Delivery of Services Bill 2011 (Bill), etc also mandates Digital Preservation and Digitilisation of records in “Electronic Form”, informs Praveen Dalal.

Digital preservation initiatives of India are facing many road blocks that are preventing them from materialising in India. For instance, intellectual property rights (IPRs) are commonly found conflicting with digital preservation initiatives.

Further, with the rapid advancement of technology day by day, old applications and methods are becoming obsolete. We need to upgrade them from time to time. We also need to change form of various IPRs protected works from one form to another. This sometimes results in IPRs violations.

In short, digital preservation initiatives of India need urgent reforms. The task is really difficult unless good experts are involved in this much needed project. For the time being, digital preservation initiatives of India are falling well short of the desired actions.