UNESCO Supports a Training Workshop for Professionals Working at Indian Media Libraries
On 6 February 2013, UNESCO New Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the Association of Media Libraries and Archives (AMLA) jointly organized a training workshop for professionals working at Indian media libraries. Held at JNU in New Delhi, the workshop was titled ‘Capacity Building on Digitization, Digital Archiving and Digital Preservation in Media Libraries and Archives’ and was attended by almost 90 participants from across the country.
The event was organized within the framework of the AMLA’s first National Conference on the theme ‘Managing Indian Media Libraries and Archives: Challenges, Opportunities and Best Practices’ (4–5 February 2013), attended by over 125 practitioners from the field of library and information science (LIS) and archive management.
The conference saw the emergence of a strong consensus about the value of having well-managed media libraries in India. The country already has the largest general repository of manuscripts globally. Speakers observed that as the Indian media industry continues to grow, so will the volume and complexity of media organizations’ libraries and archives. Hence there is an urgent need to build the capacities of professionals working at these archives to undertake digitization, digital archiving and preservation, and to create and manage digital materials.
The workshop sought to prepare media libraries for the transition from print to digital content, and from the traditional to electronic media. More specifically, it trained librarians in the areas of digitization, digital archiving and preservation; and provided them practical training in the use of Greenstone software, currently among the most influential and user-friendly software suites for managing digital libraries. The session on ‘Digitization’ helped trainees identify the most appropriate digital environment for the collections they wished to curate; the session on ‘Digital Preservation’ equipped participants to independently plan and execute small-scale preservation projects; and the theoretical and practical introduction to Greenstone empowered trainees to build their own digital libraries and distribute available collections.
The conference and the training workshop culminated in a set of recommendations for strengthening media libraries in India. These recommendations included, among others, the development of standardized training programme for archivists and other personnel at all Indian media libraries; stronger partnerships between professional bodies like the AMLA, UNESCO and academic libraries which store press clippings or audio-visual media content; the development of an updated university course or curriculum for aspiring LIS professionals, that fully addresses contemporary needs; and the production of a white paper exploring the steps professional media organizations need to take to upgrade their libraries and archives.