Museum library link goes up on website next month
LAHORE: The Lahore Museum will publish synopses of the 35,000 or so books in its collection on its website (lahoremuseum.org) by next month and place the entire collection online in years to come, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Librarian Ahmad Bashir Bhatti, who proposed the digitising of the museum library 10 years ago, said that a scanner had been purchased for Rs2 million and employees were scanning 500 pages of text a day. The museum’s priority is to first publish its rare texts, which make up about 60 per cent of the collection. Bhatti said this would take at least two years.
The library link of the museum website will be launched by the beginning of August, said Khawaja Khursheed, the museum’s deputy director.
The textile journals of John Forbes Watson and the Archaeological Survey of India, the first print of which is lying at the museum library, are the kinds of books history students and scholars from all over the world came to Lahore to look at, said Bhatti. Putting such texts online would be a big boost to history students and researchers.
Bhatti said that he was extremely proud to be working on the project. He said that the museum had proposed the project with an allocation of Rs17.9 million to the Finance Department in 2009. “It was not accepted,” he said.
In 2010, the size of the budget proposal for the project was reduced to Rs 14.223 million. It still wasn’t accepted. An amount of Rs8.974 million was approved for the project in the 2011-12 budget. Some Rs6 million, was spent while the rest has been allocated in this year’s budget. “90 per cent of the job is done when you succeed in getting funds allocated for a project you want to see come to life,” Bhatti said.
He said that most of the visitors to the library were students and teachers, plus some elderly “scholarly types”. He said that a proposal for the installation of an elevator so the elderly did not have to climb the stairs would be made for next year’s budget.
Only the museum employees are allowed to borrow library books. Others can only look at them in the library. Putting the texts online would allow anyone to access the books.