India UK

The British Library Is Digitizing Their Early Bengali Book Collection

Memoirs_of_Zahirrudin
Photo Credit: Babur greets courtiers at the Id Festival (1595, British Library, Johnson 2, 12)

Earlier this week, the British Library announced that they are taking part in the Two Centuries in Indian Print (TCIP) project and that they have already digitized 1,000 rare 19th century books as the pilot phase of TCIP.

The project’s goal is to make digital versions of rare Bengali books available to researchers online, and it’s a partnership between British Library, the School of Cultural Texts and Records (SCTR) of Jadavpur University, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, and the Library at SOAS University of London, working with the National Library of India, the National Mission on Libraries, and other institutions in India.

“There are books literally from every discipline you could think of,” TCIP Digital Curator Tom Derrick told IANS. “There are treatises on sciences, education, religion, missionaries coming to India and translation of the Bible.”

These first 1,000 books are only phase one of TCIP— the completed project will convert over 4,000 rare Bengali books, which will amount to over 800,000 digitized pages.

The 1,000 books that have already been scanned available in searchable pdfs here on the British Library’s data portal.

To learn more about the project and keep up with the future of rare books, read this article in the Times of India or visit the British Library’s website.

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