Live Blog: Creating High Impact and Digital Initiatives in India

Sanjukta Basu Live Blogging: the best in India
I am at the workshop right now and I am intending to live tweet and live blog the workshop. The quick details of the workshop are on Twitter and the brief of each talk will be on this blog. On Twitter the tag to follow is #digitalindia

Here’s a complete list of speakers for the next 3 days.

9 am

Opening talk by Rahim Rajan of Jstor, Ravina Agarwal of Ford Foundation. Round of introductions by participants.

9.50 am

The first talk is by Atul Chitnis, he is a tech consultant and the title of his talk is “Digitisation of India”. (For brevity and promptness sake, as the speaker speaks, I shall be noting them in first person)

I am half German, born and brought up in Germany, migrated to India in 1972. The technology exposure was dramatic. While I had color TV in Germany in India I couldn’t even find a TV. But what I have learnt is that once the ball starts rolling it rolls at a very high speed, especially technology.

How things change – Atul shares two short memories.

In 1989 I created a little application BBS and I didn’t think anybody would care about it, but within no time I had hundreds and thousands of people dialling into my BBS. In 1995 Internet were introduced and the adoption grew much faster than other parts of the world. The point is India is very fast with technology once we are on it.

In 2003 I was going to office one day and I saw this manual labourer digging on the road, pulling out a cell phone out of his dhoti. And it wasn’t surprising, it was normal for me and people around me the penetration of mobile technology.

The key players in the Digitisation of India – The Web, The Wikipedia, The Mobile Space, The social Network, The hardware, Free and Open Source Software, Impact on culture, Impact on Teachers, Impact on Traditional institution – the biggest of them all.

The criticism of Wikipedia that it is unverified inaccurate information has now gone down, because more and more people have come online and are constantly doing the job of checks and verification. This is possible because access to knowledge is open. Sometimes minor details are not possible to be checked by a dedicated researchers, but a person sitting at some corner of the world directly related to the subject might have better information.

The Social Networks – mostly Twitter and Facebook, because everyone is on it, so everyone else also want to be on it and its unstoppable.

The Hardware – changed dramatically from the big computer to laptops to tablets. If you have a thing that is connected to web, has considerable information, easy to use, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be able to use it, such hardware make it comfortable for even them who are intimidated with technology, like my friend’s father who is over 60. He just won’t use computers, but once his son introduced him to I-Pad he thought this is something he could handle and now he loves it.

Today the teachers have become partners with the students.

The Impact on traditional institution is the biggest and one of them is the Library, no body goes to the library anymore.

Adapting –

Leveraging – You have to understand how to be a part of all this, you have information make it available, only then will you be able to decide what happens to that information, otherwise it will not be in your hand. This is exactly what I will also emphasis on my talk that if you don’t take up the responsibility of creating valuable resources, you will not be able to stop it when misinformation happens.

On the question of accuracy of Wikipedia – Atul said, there is a saying, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” You cannot take information from Wiki and say this is my work, but wiki will help you a great deal in doing your work. And most importantly, wiki is the collective knowledge of all people.

11.30

Next talk is by Jagdish Arora, Director, INFLIBNET Centre, Ahmedabad. He is talking abut the INFLIBNET – Information and Library Network Centre. They have digitised hundreds of thousands of books, thesis, journals and these are available online.

Dr. Arora’s talk is very informative, contains a lot of data related to the INFLIBNET, library techniques, software used, colleges and universities involved. However I am not able to follow the details of the talk since a lot of it is jargon related to library science. Make sure you follow, Rahim Rajan’s tweets for more accurate notes on the talks.

Three is an audience question which is something even I want to know, are these resources available only to scholars and academics within the circle like colleges or universities or are they available to people outside. The answer Dr. Arora gave is that to ordinary individuals, like you and me, they are not available.

12.10 pm – Next speaker Gaurav Vaz, Manager and Guitarist of Raghu Dixit Project, Co-founder of Radio Verve.

My story starts with playing as a band at various places, every time we played, the same 30 people came. So big question, how to get heard, traditional ways were not option. Internet was the answer.

Gaurav has a very interesting Periodic Table of the Internet.

We used winamp to play music live at a given certain time on the internet and we told everybody we knew to log on to listen, but it wasn’t a scalable model. We’d have to be on the internet to be able to stream it. That’s when Atul Chitnis gave us idea that record them and run a loop all day.

Today we have 30k listeners over 50 countries, 200 artists, 8 channels – promotions for artistes in their niche.

Why internet as a medium of distribution?

Niche audience for any kind of content – Get up –>Set up –> and stream – its that simple

Examples: Pandora project, last.fm (a wikipedia sort of model for music), My Opus Radio.com runs on shared license.

2 pm:

Poster Section

2.30:

Next talk: Doordarshan Archives by Kamalini Dutt

She starts by correcting some of the facts and figures in Mr. Chitnis’s talk in the morning. Television came to India

The brunt of frequent technological change is a reason for a lot of loss in archives. No body knows that better than us at Doordarshan. To begin with it is important to make difference between library and archives. Archives adds value to the content rather than just collecting them.

Difference between Tangible and intangible content. For proper dissemination even tangible media has to be converted to intangible mode.

Disadvantage to intangible media, machine dependent, easily perishable, requires constant monitoring, frequent migration, high costs.

You’ll see that in some news pieces they will come up with lot of back stories, photos and videos, these come from the archives.

Doordarshan has been archiving the quality content like classical music, old TV series which are absolutely lost from the television channels these days because of TRP driven content. These are ACDs and VCDs

There is a central archives and 5 more regional archives – North, South, East, West and North East.

Total 5000 hours archived, Digitized 14,000 tapes, to be archived and digitized – 1,44,609 tapes. The speed is low

Digitisation alone doesn’t mean archived because they have to be properly categorized, catalogued. We had to do our own categorization at the Doordarshan because our content is very different.

There has been a loss of content because of lack of awareness, lack of resources, changing technology.

DVC pro is fading out, HT TV is now the new technology, last two years company has stopped giving us DVC tape. This is a very big problem for us, there is a need to sensitize the policy makers on the importance of availability of tapes.

DD has been taking stock of legacy format tapes and to transfer them in DVC pro, preservation of archival tapes, metadata and retrieval, re-purposing of archival material, acquiring content lying unused in Kendras.

Migration from tape to tape is not helpful so we have to go to file format.

Importance of metadata in archiving

Media asset management

http://leadersofindia.gov.in/LOI/hindi/

I couldn’t properly follow this talk, because again a lot of it content jargon not familiar to me, but that’s very sad because this is something that I really want to know more and understand. I feel a great deal of respect for our government agencies such as DoorDarshan which is putting a tireless effort in the field of media and culture that goes completely unnoticed because they lack the glamour. So if there is anyway I could contribute in this archiving that DD is doing I will feel grateful. So, soon after the conference I would be chatting up with her on at least two things she mentioned in her talk 1) the problem that DD is facing with DVC tapes and her dream of creating a dedicated archive for the new media.

3.15 pm

TempoStand.com: Content Discovery, Licensing, and Promotion’ by Gaurav and Aditya

Tempostand is a music marketing platform for only original musicians. W are the pioneers of creative commons movement in India. We started out by collaborating various cultural festivals happening in different colleges.

There are some challenges in content discovery and promotion. Responds to Gaurva Vaz’s morning session talk when he said just stream and that’s it, you can’t stop at just streaming you have to push the content to the web. India is a different market, models that are successful outside don’t work in India. Lack of awareness in terms of both the artist and audience, internet penetration more importantly, broadband penetration. Markets are very disintegrated in India when it comes to independent music. The artist from different cities have no integration amongst them. We have learnt that content is not a problem but pushing it is. Music is seen as ancillary to movies, music without movies have few takers. Fan network work in silos they never mingle. Independent music need constant encouragement.

Some solutions: Mini celebrity status, create an aura around the artist

Online events like Rhythem Valentine 2010.

About questions and concerns related to copyright we have the Creative Commons

Internet = democratic

Internet + CC = Democratic + legal

Internet + CC + Tempostand = democratic legal distribution platform

What is CC – Creative Commons, a non profit organisation who came up with licensing

Some rights reserved, CC works within the framework of copyright law. They have 6 different type of license and it gives me a choice as a artist as to what I want to do with my work. I can be open like “go ahead download my work and sell it as long as you attribute it to me” or i can be closed and say all rights reserved. Over 130 million works ahve been licensed by CC.

Concerns and Problems with CC

  • What defines originality
  • Limitations of CC
  • Solves only half the problem, because taking actual legal route is still difficult.

Tadka Marke another offline event by Tempostand

I had a question – whether Tempostand different from Radio Verve. Tempostand is a place for media showcase and hub and there is certain amount of quality control as to what you get on Tempostand but Radio Verve is more of a broadcast channel. Their business model is different from ours, for reasons like, donation and advertising don’t work in India as revenue models because as a society we want everything free.

4.30 pm

Amar Gurung: Case study of Digitization efforts at Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (Nepal)

5.15

‘Driven by Necessity’ by Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, JNU

Main points of my talk will be around Digitisation and archiving needs, need of converting books to E-books, repository for Indian books.

SWB is an online bookstore. We also have a blog where we update books related information and then we are on twiter and facebook.

The Indian academics produce a lot of knowledge but the distribution system is really bad. Internet is totally disjointed because it has no local content. Internet is there but not used that much. Visitors to SWB blog come from India mostly, English speaking world. Access Equity is funded by Ford Foundation.

My story begans in my personal research. DD Kosambi, a case in point. I wanted to put all of his works together, he was a great mathematician. But I couldn’t found his articles. I am talking about articles published in journals published in Pune, Bombay and other such places in 1940s or so and I couldn’t find a single copy of any of the journal. I found the articles at the University of Tokyo. They were not digitized. Why is it not done, and like this there are so much of knowledge is lost in time.

Indian publishing industry, some 70 to 80k books published annually, one third of this is educational books. We need a national repository for all these books.

6.15 pm

The day is closed.

I have some additional insights for my presentation tomorrow, for example since morning I have been hearing so much about digitization and archiving efforts done by these librarians. It so happens that a huge amount of knowledge is now indeed available on internet. Some of it is available to public in exchange of a certain cost while some are accessible only by scholars and researcher but they are available. Now my question is how does one get to know that they are available. For a non academician the only place to find knowledge is Google and wikipedia. True, you mostly have low quality information from these sources so I am not saying the libraries and archives are not important. All I am saying is that make sure that a link to your digital archives shows up on the Google / other search engine list when random people search for data on any given topic. So say if I want to find out more about the history of the Irish folk song “Whiskey in the Jar” I shouldn’t be bombarded with hundred of results pointing to the lyrics of the song or the free mp3 download of it. I want a link that would take me to real valuable information related to that song, a link to one of these digital library.

Day 1

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