Last updated on Oct 31, 2016.
“What research tools and infrastructures are needed to study, document, annotate, analyze, archive, cite, and work with (in general) digital objects, especially those in Indic languages?” Before we get to this core question in the research arena we need to confront the fundamental gap in the conversation- that there are as yet very few digital objects that are created, developed and preserved in Indian languages. Shodhganga and the National Digital Library, both extraordinary projects are still limited to works that are primarily written in English. This is especially unfortunate in literature research as literature departments across universities in the country have a robust scholarship agenda and have some niche publications that focus on the works of different languages. What is missing is a bridge or a platform that enables a conversation between the scholarships in these languages. University department structures that usually do not have a department of Literature under which one can envision comparatist conversations have to take some responsibility for this lack of conversation. So we do need specific digital tools that recognize and fill this gap.
At the Open Access Scholarly Publishing project at IIT Indore, we have tried to identify and fulfill what we see as two scholarly imperatives: 1) a commitment to open access environment as crucial for research accessibility and 2) provide a platform for multilingual scholarly production with an emphasis on Indian languages. The Digital Humanities and Publishing Research Group at IIT Indore has a two pronged approach to what we see as a fundamental infrastructure problem: an absence of a polyphonic platform for a scholarly kitchen! KSHIP, the publishing project recognizes this gap and has therefore initiated a project of database development of scholarship and criticism in Indian languages. We are starting with three languages and hope to make it a crowd sourced platform with more languages to be added soon. Second, we will be a consciously multilingual publishing house soliciting (and specifically targeting) scholarly monographs and translations in Indian languages and also inviting scholars to host journals in multiple languages. In this session we would like to discuss some of the technological challenges of the project and possible solutions with an emphasis on collaborations across institutions and scholars in India. A prototype of a translation plug-in tool is also part of this project.
To sum up, this panel will have a conversation/discussion about three things:
Ancillary to the above questions will inevitably include discussions on digital preservation and the transforming and transformative role of technology in that process.
A panel discussion with some specific points of departure that will address the above three questions. We will present a detailed timeline/trajectory of the discussion panel in the second stage.
During the session, we hope there will be video recordings/twitter and other regular forms of documentation. Post session, we will work on a joint paper for publication that brings together our different areas of expertise.
Prof. Nirmala Menon is an Associate Professor of Postcolonial Literature at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Indore India. She is the project lead for the Open Access Publishing KSHIP at the institute. She also heads the Digital Humanities and Publishing Research Group (DHPRG) at the institute.
Prof. Abhishek Shrivastava is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Indore and is interested in the technological challenges of developing software in Indic languages. He is also interested in the interdisciplinary area of Digital Humanities.
Prof. Dibyaduti Roy is an Assistant Professor of Literature with a strong research interest in Digital Humanities in the Communications Department at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Indore.