National Digital Repository for Museums of India provides an all pervasive and integrated access to theme based collections and artefacts irrespective of the physical and geographical locations of museums. The portal introduces India's rich heritage through a diverse range of digital collections in terms of sculptures, paintings, manuscripts, weapons, coins and a numerous other categories of artefacts. The virtual museums are a wealth of knowledge accessible from anywhere and at anytime for students, teachers, researchers and even the tourists. It is perhaps for the first time in world that 10 national museums are made accessible online from one portal. This project is funded by Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The digital collections created using the JATAN: Virtual Museum Builder is integrated in the national digital repository for giving public access through the national portal.
The Ministry of Culture has embarked upon an ambitious project of the digitization of the collections of the Museums under it with the twin purpose of making effective utilization of technology in museum management and bringing the collections of these museums closer to the public by making them available for online viewing over the internet. In this endeavour, the Ministry of Culture, through the technical expertise of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C –DAC) Pune and the Art Institute of Chicago got standardized software entitled "Jatan" for implementation in its Museums.
A virtual museum helps in digital preservation and providing online access to heritage information resources for education, research and tourism. It can make the museum antiquities accessible online for the benefit of tourists, teachers, students and researchers. Museum antiquities can provide information about history of the civilization, lifestyle, culture, traditions, ancient knowledge of science and technology and overall human evolution.
A virtual museums involves following major activities
- Metadata description and linking of digital contents
- Providing online access to heritage information resources
- Access through mobile devices and kiosks
National Repository and Portal for Museums of India is an example of virtual museum that provides online access to ten national museums placed different geographical locations. Such virtual museums are now directly accessible in the classrooms. Virtual museums can be linked with school education for providing various learning resources to benefit the students.
It is very effective for digitization of documents and books. This software has to be used along with DIGITALAYA.
Digital Preservation of Museums
One of the important mandates of the Ministry of Culture is the development and upgradation of the Museums within the country. Museums are a repository of a nation’s culture as they contain explicit examples of the proof of the development of a country’s culture and heritage over a period of time. The strengthening of the country's museums is thereby an important activity covered under the ambit of the Ministry of Culture. Some of the most important Museums of India like the National Museum, New Delhi, Indian Museum and Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad, Allahabad Museum, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalay (IGRMS) Bhopal and the 3 National Galleries of Modern Art at New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru respectively function under the control of the Ministry of Culture in various capacities. Apart from these, the Archaeological Survey of India also has site museums at 44 locations spread throughout the country in proximity to important archaeological sites.
In the first phase of the digitization project the Jatan software has been implemented in 10 selected Museums of the Ministry / Archaeological Survey of India as detailed below:
Features and Technical Specifications
- Collaborative framework for historians to collectively enrich the information
- Support for integration of documentation of antiquities in multimedia formats
- Integration of 360 degree panorama
- Dedicated metadata forms for anthropology, antiquity, textile, science museums
- Search & retrieval
- QR Code generation
- Data package export facility for DARSHAK Mobile App
Under the scheme funds will be provided by the Ministry of Culture in the form of grants to various museums for digitization of art objects in the museums across the country and for making their images/catalogues available over the website. The scheme will have two components, one relating to the establishment of infrastructure (central server linked to museum level server/computers through dedicated channels) and the other relating to digitization of all collections, cross-indexed with fuller details on a template basis. The ultimate aim of the museum would be to have an online database of its collections readily available over its website for online viewing by general public. A part of the funds from this scheme may also be utilized by the Ministry of Culture for undertaking projects with technical institutions for creating a combined website showing the collections of Museums under the Ministry and other State Government and Private museums registered under the Indian Societies Act of 1860 or a similar legislation.
Benefits of Digital Preservation
- Administrative continuity
- Protection of digital intellectual assets
- Long term view
- Legal obligations
- Protection from litigation
- Digital heritage for future generations