Digital Library of India

Has anyone explored the Digital Library of India? I just discovered it tonight while browsing the "India" tags on

They seem to have digitized quite a number of texts already, though I can't find an exact number on the site. The mission statement is ambitious -- bordering on over-the-top -- though the fact that Etexts at the DLI don't have unique URLs is deeply frustrating. Also (while I'm carping), the site's interface leaves much to be desired. Oh yeah, and the copyright policy is questionable: they will be scanning things printed up to 1990, and only remove them if a publisher or author pays a $200 fee.

But there are plenty of books there, and the fact that the project is state-funded might bode well for its future. In terms of books I've been discussing recently, I found Mother India as well as half a dozen Indian responses to it online -- including the response written by Dhan Gopal Mukherji, which Rani had mentioned (a nice find, as this is a book that might be rather difficult to track down in the U.S.). There is also a good selection of books by earlier Indian authors like Mulk Raj Anand, Rabindranath Tagore, Sarojini Naidu, Toru Dutt, Bankimchandra Chatterjee, and so on, as well as a pretty comprehensive array of writings by political figures. And I was pleasantly surprised to find Edward Thompson's biography of Tagore (another book that isn't so easy to find in the U.S.).

As importantly, they seem to have a strong interest in scanning and posting texts written in Indian languages -- though the dominant language on the site at present seems to be Telegu Telugu (for example, you can read Gora in Telugu, but not in Bangla!). I did notice a Hindi translation of Anand's Coolie, so maybe it's not true across the board. And there are poems of Ghalib's in Urdu... and quite a bit of Persian... Not a whole lot of consistency here.

I'm seriously considering writing them a letter explaining that they should rethink the architecture of the site to make it more usable -- starting with abolishing frames and instituting unique/linkable URLs. (Oh, and they should get rid of this archaic reliance on TIF graphics... use Unicode... or whatever imaging plugin Google Print is using...) If they do all those things, they are well on their way to building a world-class resource.

Incidentally, if anyone finds anything that seems particularly good while browsing the DLI site, I would love to hear about it in the comments below (or on your own blog, if you prefer).

UPDATE: A mirror of the Indian site can be found at Carnegie Mellon University. From my current location, it runs faster (and better) but has a smaller selection than the DLI in Hyderabad.