On 19 June, the Union Human Development Minister, Mr Prakash Javadekar launched the National Digital Library in the country’s capital. The library is a source of millions of academic texts from around the world which will be open to the general public.
According to an official release by the Human Resource Development (HRD), the National Digital Library of India (NDLI) is a project of the Ministry under the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT). The National Digital Library aims to make digital educational resources available to all Indian citizens to empower, inspire and encourage learning.
The work on developing and implementing the National Digital Library began in 2015; it was built by the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur using technology provided the HRD Ministry. The digital library is just one project under the Digital India plan that was initiated by Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi.
Mr Prakash Javadekar said that the National Digital Library will make learning resources available to users, the library has over 17 million source materials from more than 160 sources, in over 200 languages and according to the press release, around 3 million users are registered on the National Digital Library.
Apart from the website, the Ministry has also made the National Digital Library available on phones through its mobile application; the National Digital Library Mobile App will enable people to access a vast reservoir of digital content from not only the country but across the globe as well. Digital information will be able to reach users even the most remote parts of India.
Mr Prakash Javadekar said that the app, which already has 670,000 downloads, is currently available for both iPhone and Android users; learners can look for particular information using parameters like the subject matter, source, and content type etc. As of now, the app is available in three languages – English, Hindi and Bengali.
The National Digital Library uses a single-window system to increase efficiency through time and cost savings. The platform collects and organises metadata from leading learning institutions in India and from across the globe. It is a digital repository containing textbooks, articles, videos, audiobooks, lectures, simulations, fiction and other kinds of learning media.
According to Mr Prakash Javadekar, the National Digital Library is a round-the-clock knowledge centre that is will be made accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Anybody can access the digital library anytime and anywhere and will be contributing to the Government’s Read More India (Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat)plan that aims to improve the language and mathematics skills of the youth of the country, primarily.
The National Digital Library initiative will be able to help thousands of students in the country by providing free source material like textbooks and guides that were previously hard to come by, being both expensive and limited. The Minister of Culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma stated that the collaboration between the National Digital Library by Ministry of Human Resource Development and the National Virtual Library of India platform by Ministry of Culture will reach a large number of leaners in India and attract global attention with its progress.
The National Virtual Library of India, which is a part of the National Mission on Libraries of the Ministry of Culture, is also an online library with resources covering a large number of fields, including arts, music, dance, culture, theatre, science, technology, archaeology, literature, e-papers and manuscripts, among others. All of this information has been gathered, collated and presented on a single online platform- the website.
The National Digital Library will change the way education is accessed and presented in India, and through this initiative, every citizen in India will be given the digital tools and resources to empower themselves.