Gujarat libraries to convert over 70,000 books into e-books

Ahmedabad: Keeping pace with changing reading habits in the wake of the digital revolution, the Gujarat Director of Libraries (DoL) has decided to convert over 70,000 books into 'e-books' to make them available to readers online.

The books will be available for members through 'e-Library Reader' software for computers as well as through Android App for mobile phones. As per the available project details, around 1.95 crore pages of more than 70,000 books will be converted into e-book format and will be made available for their members within two to three months time, said officials.

These books belong to two state-owned central libraries and a state repository centre, including State Central Library
in Gandhinagar, Central Library in Vadodara and State Book Repository Centre in Mehsana town. "At present, we are undertaking this project for over 70,000 books, for which we have started searching for service provider to carry out the work. The agency will first scan each and every page of these books and covert them into PDFformat, which disables unauthorised copying of texts online," said Director of Libraries(DoL) Dr Varsha Mehta.

The whole process of scanning pages and converting them into PDF and finally into e-books may take two to three months, as the selected agency needs to take care of many technical aspects and conditions specified by the DoL, said Mehta.

"Many of these books are very rare and too old. After scanning the pages, they need to clean pages through digital tools to remove stains and black spots, which readers may find unpleasant while reading the book online," said Mehta. As per the rules set by DoL, the selected agency needs to develop a specialised 'e Library Reader' (ELR) software for PCs as well as a specialised Android based App to read the converted e-books on smart phones.

"We also want the user interface of reading software to be the reflection of original library set up, where books are kept on shelves. Such graphics should appear when the user open the software to select an e-book by touching the related number or clicking on the menu of books," said Mehta.

"These converted e-books will be then be uploaded onto our server and users will be given an ID and password to access them. Similarly, they can access e-books on their mobile phones through an Android App. People just need to become member of our libraries to get the access," she said.

According to her, this project is just a beginning, as more and more books across all the libraries in the state will be added into the database as e-books for the readers. The project is also aimed at reaching out to readers, who are now finding it difficult to spare time to go to library to issue and deposit books. This project will also give them a chance to read rare books, particularly books in Gujarati language, said officials.

"We want to reach out to people through the use of technology. Readers will also get a chance to read many rare books now, as these books will be available in digital form and we need not worry about its wear and tear," said Assistant DoL D K Shah.

"At present, most of the e-books available on websites are in English language, for example novels written by English
authors. Through this initiative, readers will get a chance to read numerous Gujarati books online, as most of these books are not available in e-book format," added Shah.


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