by Dr. Sujeetha Mohan
Books are always our good friend. The knowledge passed from ages or from generation to generation is a key factor for the expansion of our civilisation.
With technology, increasingly creeping into our daily lives, books and study manuals going online is a great milestone in the modern education system. Introduction of online books and study material especially after the Chennai floods seems to show a greater versatility of the Indian university education system. It has always been a challenge for the Indian education system to reach upto the global standards. Everytime we have been challenged we have raised the bar and achieved our goals.
The online books has its advantages of wider accessibility and durability and makes them imperishable even during the natural calamities. The Chennai floods have not only taken valuable things away but also swept away many a treasure house of books belonging to many students but now books going online is a key solution for alleviating the fear or rather a scar that the Chennai floods has left in our hearts.
In year 2015, the September rain in Chennai had a heavy impact on educational institution and education of city students. Educational institutions were forced to shut down their operation for months because of the floods. Lots of city schools were inundated with water. Many schools and colleges became relief centres for flood affected people. In the aftermath, many institutions had to hurry up to finish their syllabus. Consequently, this had a bad impact on results. Not only this, institutions had to postpone their scheduled exams and extend the dates. In such cases if books or study material were online than the studies could have continued in that scenario too. This would not only be helpful during natural disaster but also during man made ones like the J&K unrest. The situation in J&K has forced many educational institutions to close down their operation. In such a situation, going online will not only prevent students putting down their pen or paper down but will also enhance their skills to look for different kind of knowledge which is spread all around depending on their individual interest.
Also, libraries too are being archived online.
There are countries like Barcelona, Norway and others are encouraging such technique. Why not India then?
Most books published in Norway before 2001 are going online for free, thanks to an initiative that may have found the formula to reconcile authors with the web. At a time when the publishing world is torn over its relationship to the Internet the Brasiliana holds nearly 15,000 titles, comprising 40,000 volumes.
Including works of Brazilian (and Portuguese) literature, travel narratives, historical and literary manuscripts (including originals and typographical proofs), periodicals, scientific and instructional texts, iconography (including plates and illustrated albums) and artistic books (engravings).
In order to provide open and broader access to the Brasiliana content, the Brasiliana Digital Library (BBD) was conceived as a project responsible for digitizing, creating, and making available the world’s largest collection of Brazilian materials managed by a university. This concept was very helpful for the school students there. If our own government ad private organisations could bring about such a change, many could stand benefitted.
Having said that, there is nothing like owning a book. Reading through actual pages and feeling the smell of them is a wonderful experience. The GenNext would definitely miss the actual experience of reading from the real pages of a solid book. But life is advancing and human mind is slowly acknowledging the newer technology leaving behind the conventional way of learning.
But while embracing these online books, let’s also not forget to own a book just for the incredible experience of going through them.