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150 Rare Books Get New Lease of Life Online, Courtesy Students

by Prasad Krishna last modified Jul 18, 2014 06:12 AM
You might have heard about Samkshepa Vedartham by Clement Pianius, the first book printed in Malayalam but might not have got a chance to read it.

The article by Anila Backer was published in the New Indian Express on July 15, 2014. The Access to Knowledge team at the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS-A2K) supported this Malayalam community event.


Now, you can read the book published in 1772 online through the Malayalam Wiki library (Wiki grandhasala). More than 150 such rare books have been digitised and uploaded by the school students across the state and a few members of the  public as part of the digitisation contest jointly hosted by Malayalam Wikipedia community, [email protected], Kerala Sahitya Akademi , Centre for Internet and Society and Swathanthra Malayalam computing.

More than 1,000 students from 137 schools and 234 participants from the public uploaded more than 13,000 pages of rare books such as Hasthalakshana Deepika (1892) by Kadathanattu Udayavarma Thampuran, Madamahee Shashathakam Manipravalam (1908) by Kottaratil Shankunni, Malayazhmayude Vyakaranam (1863) by Rev George Mathan and Divan Shankunni Menon (1922) by C Achutha Menon  as part of the competition held during January and February.

Besides, you can also acquire information on the social scenario during different time periods, like the matrilineal system of inheritance, ‘Marumakkathayam’ through the  various volumes of old magazines digitised by the students. Magazines such as Mangalodayam and Rasikaranjini are also available in the wiki library. “Books that were not available in Malayalam and those existed only in the German and French libraries were digitised with the contest. The contest was organised to provide the public access to these rare collections,” says [email protected] Wayanad district coordinator V J Thomas.

“It also allows one to search for a particular word or topic as well as to copy the content of the book for a research work or other purposes that cannot be done with a scanned copy of a book,” he adds.

“Moreover, it also aims at developing an interest among the students towards Malayalam computing and to make them effectively utilise the scope of Internet, besides improving their reading habit,” he added.

“It has also improved the typing speed of the students and they get familiar with the old fonts in the language also,” he added.

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