Many thoughts appear in course of our work and reactions from friends too. These prove valuable in carrying the work forward. But the readers never get to know this.
Some things, however, need be shared and some are just fun to pass around. This is a place for some such musings.
The seeds of the website you are visiting today was sown some thirteen years back. Efforts were initiated then by Srujanika for improving computer work in Odia language and for preserving Odia printed material using computers. An outline of this can be found on the ‘about’ page, will add more details in future.
Preservation of printed material through digitization by Srujanika proceeded quite well. But Srujanika was hesitant to take up the work of hosting a website for these digital treasures. The major reason was that this would take away from the limited manpower available for the main work of digitization. Another factor was the lack of expertise for the web work within the core group and of financial resourses. Collaborations were sought with other institutions, both private and government, who could put up and manage a website on a long term basis. But nothing came out of the many discussions on the subject over a period of several years. Even unpleasant situations arose from this. All these led us to take the difficult decision, in April this year, of developing a website ourselves. And what you see today is the first results of that decision. Much remains to be done in the days ahead.
As it stands now the website is a digital library. The major contents are the Odia periodicals (newspapers and magazines) published before 1950, the sections reference and showcase and a working dictionary. The contents of the book section is still small, but this will grow to become the major section with regular additions. There are other gaps and technical deficiencies too which will addressed in the coming weeks.
We hope that the website will create some enthusiasm and bring in new involvements. Only that can help it to develop into an useful asset for the Odia language. Your feedback on the website will be most valuable for us in moving ahead.
23 May 2021, Sunday
The digitization work at Srujanika which made the Odia Bibhaba website (https://odiabibhaba.in) has now come to an end.
Spanning over 15 years this was a great learning and sharing experience for us. It gave us a lot of excitement, pleasure, challenge … mostly positive, but also some grief and frustation. The major frustation came from the fact that some literatuers/academics who were among the biggest admirers of the work did not contribute to the work with books authored by them or from their large collections or help in contacting authors known to them well for this. There were a few (fortunately, very few) incidents of pettiness which remained limited to the originators’ circles. On the whole it was a great experience which had to end in the face of lack of manpower and academic involvement. Obviously, the failing was ours.
Still, there is hope yet. The Siksha O Anusandhan (SOA) University has initiated digitization work under their PPRACHIN programme. The main person on this work at SOAU has a long experience with the work at Srujanika and Srujanika’s equipments are to be used there. We will also be involved with them till the work gets going on its own. However, the problem faced by Srujanika in the way of poor academic support is likely to hamper them too. The present Covid-related restictions is also making things difficult, especially in contacting people who can contribute books to be digitized. But the work has already started by the people who have joined SOAU using Srujanika’ facilities.
Attempts are also being made to initiate digitization work at some other places and we hope to see some progress once the pandemic situation improves. Srujanika will be happy to provide all help in setting up a low-cost facility for the work and for show the way around. We will be happy to hear from anyone interested.
The management of Odia Bibhaba website will be continued by Srujanika for now. But discussions are on for its take over by an independent group who might also initiate a digitization programme.
Hoping for the best in the days to come and for your continued interest in the work.