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France keen to speed up Indo-French library digitisation project

France is keen to speed up the Indo-French project aimed at digitising and archiving old documents and manuscripts stored in major libraries in the two countries.

Although the project was officially initiated a few months ago, it has not been able to gain momentum due to logistics constraints, Damien Syed, French Consul General at Kolkata told ET. "Now our government is keen to speed it up," he said.

The proposed digital database will be made available to people from both the countries. "We want to reinforce our strategic partnership with India and education is a key area to do that. Indo-French partnership of archiving our old academic treasures will help us in developing a better bond in that area," Syed said, speaking on the sidelines of a recent academics' meet organised by Techno India Group.

France will share its expertise in digitising old documents and manuscripts with India, which has a wealth of such treasures. France also has many old and valuable manuscripts in Tamil and Sanskrit that Indian experts will help decipher.

"On the completion of the project, all documents and their soft copies on both sides will remain the property of the respective countries. But people like students, academicians or researchers will have access to them through our digital library by opening up an account free of cost," Syed said.

The project was launched in October 2015, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding by India's culture ministry and the National Library of France. "Though the initial focus of the project is on national libraries of both the countries only, other important libraries may also get included in the future," Syed said.

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