Digital Cultural Heritage, India

Digital Cultural Heritage, India

Between the 16th and 18th September the e-Research Centre has been hosting the AHRC Network’s Digital Cultural Heritage India event.

The lead organisation in India is the American Institute of Indian Studies which was established in India in 1961. More than 200,000 images of Indic art and architecture in its Center for Art and Archaeology are being digitised with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

A sample selection has already been transformed into Linked Data; it will be virtually integrated with CLAROS and ResearchSpace and could be linked with historical photographs in the Archaeological Survey of India and the India Archive of the British Library.

Another group of sample data is being prepared by the City Palace Museum in Udaipur in collaboration with The Museum System which is used by museums and collections around the world. While the City Palace brings object and conservation data Udaipur brings the environmental and commercial challenges of living in a heritage city – challenges also faced by Oxford.
 
For more details of the Digital Cultural Heritage programme please go to http://www.culturalheritage.ox.ac.uk/

As part of the meeting, visitors from India including Mr Srinivas Gotru, Minister of Culture, Indian High Commission and Director of the Nehru Centre, London were taken to see a range of India-related artifacts at the Weston Library and Ashmolean Museum. Amongst these were the Bakshali manusript shown in the picture below, believed to have originated in the 3rd - 4th century CE.

[This is possibly the first documented use of zero in its modern sense in the number system, arguably India's greatest mathematical invention. This birch bark manuscript (the other 69 leaves of the manuscript are too fragile to display) was discovered in 1881 by farmer while digging a field about 50 miles from modern Peshawar in Pakistan. It provides unique evidence for how medieval Indian mathematics was written in manuscript. Numerals are expressed in decimal place form and the zero is represented by a round dot. Quantities are expressed in numerals set off from the text by horizontal and vertical boxes. Fractions are written in the familiar way, but with no line dividing numerator and denominator, and negative values are shown by small cross after the number, similar to the modern "+" sign.]