Hyderabad: A dream repository of archival material comprising 50 million odd historical documents and spanning centuries is all set to be available at the click of a mouse.
The Telangana State Archives and Research Institute has come up with a proposal for a digital library placing online all its documents that include ‘farmans’ and gazettes issued by erstwhile rulers and also a rich collection of manuscripts. The proposal has already been submitted to the State government for approval.
Once in place, the digital library will come as a boon for researchers, teachers and students apart from the general public who at present have to go through a cumbersome manual process to check the material of their interest.
“Now, whenever a researcher or student approaches us, we take their request and locate the papers and hand them over. With the proposed system, students coming for research can view the information on computers connected to the server,” said a senior official.
The process has already been initiated and the institute has digitised more than 60 lakh folios which are to be made available to the public through the digital library. The digitised content include ‘farmans’, gazettes and manuscripts that were issued at different points of time by the then rulers. The impressive collection at the State Archives and Research Institute has 1.50 lakh plus documents related to the Moghal rule while the oldest document preserved here dates back to the year 1406 pertaining to Adil Shah.
All farmans of the 14 daftars (departments) under the Nizam’s government from 1724 to 1950 have been archived. Between 1724 and 1884, the documents were in Persian, and later in Urdu, which was made the official language by the Nizam.
Every year, researchers from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and Singapore among other countries visit the institute for research.
“Mostly foreign students do research on the Deccan administration. The digital library will be very useful to researchers,” an official said.
Presently, the institute is collecting charges if photographs of historic documents are taken by researchers, while direct access to information is free. Once, the digital library is set up, the services are likely to be charged.
This apart, the State government is also modernizing the institute with state-of-art infrastructure to store historic documents, fire safety and installation of CCTV cameras.