The vast manuscript wealth of India contains the ‘memory of the world’. India possesses more than an estimated five million manuscripts, making her the largest repository of manuscript wealth in the world. In India, over thousands of years, manuscripts have been written in a vast number of languages and each in itself embodies her history. Manuscripts are generally found on materials such as birch, palm leaf, handmade paper and cloth that require specialized care and conservation. (Source NMM)
The rich manuscript wealth of India today faces a threat of survival. They are spread all over the country and also abroad in different libraries, academic institutions, museums, temples and monasteries and in private collections. The invaluable heritage of India in the form of manuscripts has to be documented, preserved and made accessible to the various stakeholders. We at 10Fingers have the primary objective of using digital technology to preserve the manuscripts for the benefit of future generations. Over the Years we have studied the best practices being adopted in several digitization projects by world libraries, Heritage Institutions, Museums etc. We have also taken valuable inputs from distinguished scholars in order to develop the most optimal workflow.
Why Digitize ?
There are numerous reasons for digitization of manuscripts & have mentioned some of them below
Increase access of these rare & precious to various users like scholars, libraries and other stakeholders at one instance
Create a Autoback up of rare material which would be essential incase something would happen to the manuscript in the future
Substantially reduce the handling risk by utilising the digital copy instead of original thereby increasing the useful life by many more years.
Manuscripts taken up for digitization undergo conservation process as required. Standard conservation techniques are being used for cleaning and to increase the legibility of manuscripts as and where necessary. Soft bristled paint brushes are used to wipe away the years of accumulated dust and dirt as necessary. Long, horizontal format requires special handling considerations.
Scanner/Camera operators wear surgical gloves so as not to damage any of the manuscripts.
Manuscripts are handled in the best way as told by scholars. Therefore, while digitization the placing the manuscripts on the scanning, filming platform gets done by the custodian scholar or strictly under their guidance.
All pages of the manuscripts gets numbered before scanning, if not already numbered.
In general, binding is not allowed to be taken out as it may damage the manuscripts, however in the some cases where it is absolutely necessary, due care is taken to remove the binding and rebind them using sophisticated methods.
Manuscripts are available at various repositories located at different parts of the country and we employ the foldable infrastructure to execute projects even at the most remote of locations.
Manuscripts are primarily available on Paper (various types), Palm leaves, Bhoj Patra, Bamboo leaves, Pamera Leaves, Cloth, Clay Tables, Perchments, Tamra Patra, Wooden Covers, Ivory Covers/Sheets, Wooden Beads, Scrolls, Dear Skin,Micro film etc. We digitize such manuscripts adapting the overhead scanning methodology and utmost care for each type.
Some manuscripts are having illustrations/charts created using ancient inks, vegetable dyes, metals such as silver, gold etc. They are very likely to get oxidised with the effect of bright light and heat. So we digitize such manuscripts with our overhead scanning methodology which preserves the life of it.