Chennai: Gone are the days where one would visit the government library or British Council division or American Centre library, pour over the catalogue or seek the librarian’s help to pick out the much needed book or magazine.
Now, if only one knows where to tap the source, knowledge gushes in abundance.The recently launched Tamil Nadu Digital Library (TNDL) -http://www.tndigitallibrary.org/ , the new age avatar, is turning out to be a preferred choice to many as it contains information about different types of digital contents, including books, articles, videos, audio, thesis and other educational material relevant for users ranging from students to researchers and library users to professionals.
According to an official the portal has been designed to benefit all users including the differently-abled besides ‘all other lifelong learners.’ “This is the first of its kind initiative in Tamil Nadu, providing a single-window search facility to act as a one-stop point for all digital resources available in 13 universities and its affiliated colleges in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
The National Digital Library initiative, says Tamil & Tamil culture minister K. Pandiarajan, was aimed at integrating all Indian digital libraries and provide a portal for it, thus facilitating learning process.
Initially there was some confusion leading to opposition DMK alleging that Tamil has been sidelined in the national mission. When the issue even dominated the Assembly proceedings, recently, the minister asserted that the confusion was because of viewing the features only in English, Hindi and Sanskrit in the portal.
Later, after he took up the issue with the Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, the ministry featured the user-interface in eight Indian languages - Tamil, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam and Sanskrit besides foreign languages that includes English, Swedish, Italian and German.
Arrangements were also made to feature 10,000 titles available in the Connemara library here. “This is something like a ‘customised service’ provided round the clock to match the needs of the users. However, access to full text in many cases might require institutional membership. Otherwise, access to the digital library is absolutely free. Over 5,000 e-resources in addition to nearly 10,00,000 bibliographic information with the option of download content / view online feature have been provided,” the official added.
Love e-world reading novels, books
In a fast-paced world where one is oppressed by paucity of time and hamstrung with financial resources, the e-resource of the TNDL is an excellent fountainhead for knowledge resource that can be accessed at the click of a mouse.
“It will be useful to students and research scholars. In those days I used to frequently visit Connemara Library to gather study material and to cull out points from the books that were out of reach. Now this new system has dispensed with such a physical travel, saving valuable time, ofcourse. You get the feel of learning if you pick a book and read - something like hotel food and homely meals, I would say. Nevertheless, it is pretty handy in getting information about temple architecture and other hobby horse,” says N. Baskaran, a sthapathi and temple modeller.
“Not just languages, even the books on history is amazing. For instance, the book on ‘Early history at the Madras region up to 1680 A.D’ provides profound information on the old Madras that cannot be accessed,” says Prof. Narayanan. Even if one is not in the academics, one can relax in the luxury of e-world reading novels and books on Chennai city in the olden days. Books or journals that are out of print can also been accessed, he adds.
Books such as Devonian Floras and Handbook of the British Flora give insight into the flora of Chennai, claims Prof. Sekhar. There are books on geography, literature, science and even arts. One needs patience to browse for the subject, adds Prof. Saikumar.