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FAQs at Panjab Digital Library :: Frequently Asked Questions at PanjabDigiLib
FAQs at Panjab Digital Library
Digital Library / Archives
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PDL Website
Up What is digitization?
Synonymous to image capture through scanning and photography, digitization is transforming data, information, knowledge, or physical objects from various media into a digital format. In this process, the original is often represented as an image that can be displayed in various formats. The images may be black and white, or color depending on the type of equipment that is used.

It also collectively refers to storing data and providing information in a digital (computer) format. In document or diagnostic imaging technology, digitization is the process of capturing an analog document as a collection of binary digits (pixels) using a scanning device. Digitization is a precondition for electronic storage, such as magnetic storage, storage on optical disk, and character recognition (e.g., ICR, OCR).
Up Why is digitization important?
Digitization is an important precursor for a variety of applications and projects. Specifically, it increases the ease and efficiency of document transmission in a number of ways. Images can be:
  • displayed on a computer screen
  • distributed to multiple destinations via electronic mail delivery
  • printed into any paper-based format
  • electronically transmitted to a fax machine
  • made available via a web portal or search database

Further, digitized files can be placed in electronic storage and can be fully searched through character recognition.

Up What are the benefits of digitization?
The use of digitization can help with the preservation of original manuscripts. Many historical documents are so fragile that the slightest human contact can cause damage. Through proper data storage, electronic data has an unlimited lifespan and very minimal possibility of corruption. This also allows resources to be available for simultaneous review by any number of researchers. Digitization has the potential to change the way scholars and activists utilize historical documents and essays. Upon successful digitization, many benefits can be realized:
  • Preservation of originals through reduced handling
  • Unlimited data life span
  • Wide availability to the public
  • Ease of access (computers, digital libraries and online)
  • Powerful searching and browsing possibilities
  • Aid in research, education, and awareness programs
Up What does it take to digitize a material?
Digitizing a document requires both good equipment and skills to digitize it. In brief, the digitization equipment includes professional digital cameras, lighting system, a proper platform and other subsidiary equipment required for the complete setup, preparing the document and calibration purposes. It is always advisable to take help of a professional, as there are chances that the digitization done by a novice might lead to bad quality of the digital output, damage to the original document and/or to the equipment. Moreover, doing such a project on one’s own requires huge investment in terms of buying equipment and learning skill. After a project is over, often such equipment is useless for the buyer with no or very little resale value, leading to a very high project cost, as compared to hiring some one.
Up What does the digitization process involve?
Digitization of a document requires its evaluation to ascertain its significance and rarity. If the document is found to fulfill all the criteria required to qualify for being digitized, it is provided a unique accession number. Its metadata is created and the original document is prepared for digitization (checking condition, binding and other features to decide the mode of digitization i.e., camera or scanner, and cleaning etc.). Once the document is ready for digitization, the actual digital capturing is done either through photography or scanning. After this standard quality checks are performed on the images, which include checking for any missing images, image completeness, blur, shake, color tone, orientation etc. Errors are retaken, and the images rechecked to ensure complete manuscript and high standards. Post digitization processes include, rotating, renaming, cropping, skewing, resizing, watermarking, making presentations, some step subject to the need. The final images are backed up/archived on three different mediums with multiple copies of each.
Up Do you provide digitization services for free?
We have been providing free digitization services to individual and institutions till now. How ever we intend to only do pilot projects for free for big institutions.
Up Do you digitize material on-site or in-house?
We have the facility to digitize both in-house and on-site. We prefer to bring the digitization material to the PDL offices because of the ease related to doing a job in the office where we have access to all the tools and apparatuses, shifting all of which to a site is not feasible. Project cost and expenses also soar steeply when the project is carried out on-site. However, due to any reason if the digitization of a particular material is not possible in-house, we also provide on-site digitization services.
Up Will I get a copy of the digitized material?
Yes, each library, institution or individual will receive a digital copy of every material we digitize from their collections. All the parties are expected to treat their copies in accordance with copyright law.
Up Will you keep a copy of my digitized collection?
Yes, PDL maintains a copy of the all the material it has digitized through its digitization services as a record and disaster recovery purposes.
Up How can I preserve my organization’s records or my family papers?
Preservation and organization of records is beyond the scope of this section.
Up What if the material to be digitized is too fragile to be carried to the PDL or the owner does not wish to transfer it to the PDL office?
Good enough PDL even offers on-site digitization and preservation service either free of cost or at very nominal charges depending upon the circumstances and the governing agreement.
Up What is metadata? How is it relevant to digitization work?
Put in simple words metadata is the data or information about the data, i.e. the digitized material. Metadata is structured data which describes the characteristics of a resource. It shares many similar characteristics to the cataloguing that takes place in libraries, museums and archives. A metadata record consists of a number of pre-defined elements representing specific attributes of a resource, and each element can have one or more values. Metadata may further be of two types, metadata of the original and the digitized copy. Metadata about the original gives information about its particulars, likewise metadata of a digital image provides information about its quality, mode of capture and settings of a particular device through which it has been captured. Metadata is an indispensable part of any digital object as it provides preliminary information about its content. This save a reader the time he/she would spend on finding if the material is useful for him/her.
Digital Library / Archives
Up What is an archive and an archivist?
An archive is a collection of historical records. It is are made up of records (primary source documents) which have been accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime. In general, archives of any individual or organization consist of records which have been especially selected for permanent or long-term preservation, due to their enduring research value. Archival records are normally unpublished and almost always unique, unlike books or magazines, in which many identical copies exist. This means that archives (the places) are quite distinct from libraries with regard to their functions and organization, although archival collections can often be found within library buildings.

A person who works in archives is called an archivist. An archivist is a professional who assesses, collects, organizes, preserves, maintains control over, and provides access to information determined to have long-term value. The study and practice of organizing, preserving, and providing access to information and materials in archives is called archival science.
Up What is the difference between an archive and a library?
Libraries contain books and other printed materials whereas Archives contain records. Books are generally considered "secondary sources" which means that the information the books contain was derived from a variety of sources and interpreted by the authors. Archival records, on the other hand, most often consist of "primary sources." Unlike books, which are written after the events they describe, archival records are created during the course of an event as part of a person's or organization's regular activity.
Up What is a digital library?
A digital library is a library that stores collections in digital formats as opposed to print, or other media. Such information is digital libraries is accessed by computers. The digital content may be stored locally, or accessed remotely via computer networks.
Up What are the advantages of a digital library?
Digital library is a parallel branch of a conventional library that breaks many barriers attached to a conventional library and provides seamless access. Some of the benefits of a digital library are:
  • Criteria based quick searching and browsing through incredibly large amount of data for relevant information within minutes or possibly seconds, which otherwise is beyond human capacity, thus enhancing the scope of research and education by manifolds.
  • Benefits of searchable data especially in the context of books and newspapers are indisputably enormous and indescribable.
  • Sharing of resources among libraries enables utilization of single resource at the same time by many users at different and often far off ends, in different ordering and arrangement at their will.
  • Study of digital copies without damage to originals.
  • Access to the library through internet while sitting at home.
Up What is PDL?
Panjab Digital Library (PDL) is an effort to digitally preserve and reveal the rich heritage of the Panjab state. As time passes, historical treasures have suffered immensely due to human apathy as to the value of their preservation. PDL is not only digitally archiving these items in their original form, color, graphics and texture, but it will also change the way the public is able to access and utilize these texts. PDL will redefine the role and scope of a global library. Scholars and the general public would have easy access to this online digital library with its powerful searching and browsing capability. This holds great promise for research, education and awareness, and the conservation of time and financial resources. What the PDL is doing, in a macro sense, is breaking down the traditional barriers between a major library, university or academic institution and the general citizenry. Through these efforts to increase access to the history and legacy that is the Panjab state, we at PDL hope that there will be a new generation of informed citizens who will experience the glorious past of Panjab more easily and effectively than ever before.
Up What libraries are you working with?
We are currently working with the Jawahar Lal Nehru Library, Kurukshetra University; Languages Department Panjab, Patiala; Government Museum & Art Gallery Chandigarh; Bhai Santokh Singh Library, SGPC; Delhi Sikh Gurduara Management Committee; Panjabi Sahitya Academy, Ludhiana; and many personal libraries, to include their rare collection of books in our project. This will help the online community tremendously by making available a significant number of rare books that were, until now, inaccessible due to geographic distance. As this is a non-profit endeavor, it is our ultimate goal that any book that is under the public domain or otherwise does not fall under any copyright law would eventually be fully accessible.
Up Why don't you have a particular text?
A particular text may not be in our collection due to any of the following reasons: copyright issues, non-rarity, inaccessibility or unavailability of the original for digitization. If you have access to any such source or are aware of it, please contact PDL webmaster.
Up How can I get my library involved?
We are continually seeking to expand our project by including special collections from libraries both in India and other countries. If you want to let us know about your library's special collection, or wish to include it in the PDL, please fill in the requisite form available on the Web site.
Up Do the libraries get a copy of the book?
Yes, each library, institution or individual will receive a digital copy of every material we digitize from their collections. All the parties are expected to treat their copies in accordance with copyright law.
Up Can I see a copy of a contract you have with a library partner?
Yes, publishers, librarians, authors and the general public have all expressed interest in the PDL digitization and Digital Library project. Please visit our Partner Libraries page for a statement from each library and links to their own websites about the project. Contracts can be difficult to interpret, please let us know if you have questions or concerns about what it says.
Up What are the stakes for participation in the PDL programs?
Well the stakes are high and rewarding for all the parties. Being a charitable and educational institution we find great pleasure and fulfillment in providing rare content material of restricted access to the public for their use at far off places. Besides this preservation is another important aspect and byproduct of this program. The owner or custodian of rights to the books or manuscripts gets to digitize the material for free besides getting visible and publicized to the world through hosting of its contents on the PDL server thus increasing its access, and helping all the parties.
Up Which type of books do you digitize?
Up How should I store my books?
Books should be generally stored in a dry place, away from windows on flat, smooth shelves. Similar size books should always be kept together to avoid uneven weight on their binding. Use bookends to keep books from leaning in addition to falling over; book spine should be perpendicular to shelf. Avoid storing books in an attic or basement, under direct sunlight, plumbing and water pipes and on shelves against outside walls.
Up How can I save my wet and moldy books?
First of all stabilize and air dry your book or the collection as much as possible. Fan open volumes and place them on an absorbent material such as paper towel. Change it whenever it becomes wet. Keep the temperature and humidity level low. This will assist in avoiding the mold problems. If you see mold, or think that the water may have been contaminated with sewage or harmful chemicals, you must wear protective clothing, gloves, and a mask while salvaging your books. Also, take strict precautions to protect your skin and lungs. If mold is present, seek professional advice and proceed with caution. If any negative health effects are observed, contact a doctor.
Up How can I get rid of the smell in my books?
The smell comes from biological growth on books that are stored in damp, dark, cool locations. Remove the materials to a drier (but still cool) environment, and make sure that plenty of air is circulating around them. These conditions should render the biological growth dormant. If the materials are stored for an extended period under such conditions, the smell will eventually disappear of its own accord. The same technique can be applied to dry books affected with active mold. If you can see mold growth, do not attempt to clean it off until the materials are thoroughly dry. Premature cleaning attempts will grind the mold into the covers or paper and cause stains that are often impossible to remove.
Up How can I mend a torn page?
The best way to mend a torn page is using Japanese paper. Book suppliers can sell you a variety of Japanese papers. To repair the page, apply a small amount of glue to where the torn ends are aligned. Tear off a piece of Japanese paper and lay it over the tear. (The Japanese paper looks more natural if torn as opposed to cutting). The Japanese paper is thin enough that you can still see through it to read the text but it is also very strong.
Up I have an infestation. How can I get rid of bugs in my books?
Isolate the affected books by placing them in a tightly sealed plastic bag, to avoid other books getting infested. Seek assistance from an entomologist. A local university or state extension service should be able to put you in touch with one. Fumigation must be performed by professionals under controlled conditions. You can also contact PDL for the purpose. Non-chemical preventive measures against insects include:
  • Seal entry points including windows, doors and put filters on vents.
  • Keep room temperatures and humidity levels low.
  • Keep the environment clean and dusted, and don't store books near food or rubbish, etc.
Up Does the scanning process damage the library books?
Absolutely not, we've developed innovative technology to scan the contents of books without harming them in any way. In addition, we won't scan any book that our library partners deem too fragile, and once we've scanned any book, it is promptly returned to the library collection.
Up What is a manuscript?
A manuscript is a handwritten piece of literature. A contemporary material may also qualify as a manuscript. For details please refer to the Manuscripts section of the website.
Up What kind of manuscripts do you digitize?
Up How should I preserve my manuscripts?
There are some simple precautions that you can take to help enhance the life and condition of you manuscripts. Just as books manuscripts should be generally stored in a dry place, away from windows on flat, smooth shelves. Manuscripts should never be stacked one over other. The pages may tend to stick together due to the ink and the humidity. Keep manuscripts on a flat surface on their back. Avoid storing manuscripts in an attic or basement, under direct sunlight, plumbing and water pipes and on shelves against outside walls. For more professional help please refer to our preservation manual, or contact us or a conservator.
Up What kind of documents do you digitize?
All Manuscripts, Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Photographs and Coins that pretain to Panjab.
Up I have a personal correspondence diary of one of my ancestors, can I get it digitized?
PDL staff would need to evaluate the diary for its larger historical significance. For this you will have to appear with the diary in person. You may do so once you have filled in the requisite form and it is approved by our committee for evaluation. If it is not possible for you to bring the diary personally, you may write as much information about the diary, about yourself and your ancestors as possible, for us to evaluate and plan a visit to your place.
Up Can I get my published research paper digitized?
Yes. You can initiate the process by filling in the requisite application form available on the Web site.
Up What kind of newspapers do you digitize?
We digitize newspapers that document and pertain to all dimensions of Sikhs and Panjab.
Up I have several old letters and certificates that I want to preserve. What can I do?
The key to preserving your paper documents is to keep them in a controlled environment. Your paper documents need protection from a variety of elements which contribute to their deterioration--namely: light, heat, humidity, acids in papers, plastics, and adhesives, other objects, pollutants, and pests. You can store and preserve your paper documents in a few different ways. You can organize and file your documents in acid-free folders, and keep them in an acid-free box. Or you could place your documents in safe archival plastic sleeves and keep them in an album or binder. Another popular alternative is to encapsulate a document between two sheets of polyester film. Regardless of how you choose to store your documents, never store them in an attic or basement. Store your items in a room that is comfortable to you, with stable temperature and humidity.
Up How can I preserve my newspaper clippings?
Newspaper is made from wood fibers and it will turn dark and brittle very quickly, particularly when exposed to light. Although it can be chemically treated to slow down further deterioration, many of the treatments will also darken the paper. It is recommended that you get you Newspapers digitized as soon as possible as they have a very short lifespan despite of best preservation practices. Newspaper will damage other paper or photographic materials with which they are stored if the other items are not protected from them. The only way to preserve the original is to store them properly:
  • Place clipping in a polyester film folder with a sheet of alkaline buffered paper behind it.
  • Put the polyester folders in file folders and boxes of high-quality acid-free, alkaline buffered materials.
  • Store in a cool and dry location, such as a closet in an air-conditioned room.
Up What do I need to know when I frame my newspaper clippings?
Have it framed with an acid-free backing board and mat. Use only glass that has UV ray protection (this will help but you still need to keep it from direct sunlight exposure). Keep it away from direct sunlight and hang it on a wall that does not contain moisture.
Up Is it okay to laminate a document?
Lamination is not considered a safe conservation technique because the process may potentially damage a document due to high heat and pressure during application. Moreover, the laminating materials themselves may be chemically unstable and contribute even more to the deterioration of the document. Lamination also violates a very important rule of conservation, and that is to only apply treatments that do not alter the item and which can be reversed.
Up Do you digitize artworks also?
Up Why are photographs important for digitization?
Photographs are worth thousand words, that what words do is create imagery in our minds, photographs provide us the exact, it give us details on a lot of things
Up What kind of photographs do you digitize?
Up How can I preserve my family photographs?
Store photographs at around 22 degrees Celsius and 30-40% relative humidity (HR) in a closet or air-conditioned room. Don't store them in the attic or basement. Higher humidity levels speed up deterioration; very low humidity may cause prints to crack, peel or curl. Storage at lower temperatures is particularly advised for contemporary color prints. Avoid exposing photographic materials to anything containing sulfur dioxide, fresh paint fumes, plywood, cardboard, and fumes from cleaning supplies. Store photographs in proper enclosures made of plastic or paper materials which are free of sulfur, acids, and peroxides. If relative humidity cannot be controlled consistently below 80%, plastic enclosures should not be used because photographs may stick to the surface of plastic. Avoid acidic paper envelopes and sleeves, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, rubber bands, paper clips, and poor-quality adhesives such as pressure-sensitive tapes and rubber cement. Buffered enclosures are preferred for deteriorated photographic prints on poor-quality mounts. Buy albums made of high-quality materials. Generally, use photo corners and only those materials that are known to have passed the PAT (Photographic Activity Test). Particularly, avoid albums with sticky adhesive pages.
Up What can be done to stop fading of the photographs?
The color dyes used in the images irreversibly decay with time. Light, its increased brightness and duration of exposure increases fading. When displayed, photos should be kept away from direct sunlight or bright lamps that are left on constantly.
Heat also increases fading, even at moderate temperatures, such as 22 degree Celsius, found in homes. At these temperatures, fading always occurs, even in the dark. Color photos will last longer if stored in the dark, cool dry location. However, only storage at cold temperatures can slow this irreversible decay process to a near stop. Cold storage is not practical for most people and can even cause more immediate damage if used improperly. Frost-free freezers can be used as long as special enclosures and handling procedures are followed. Faded color photographs can be copied and printed onto the more stable color photograph papers. They also can be scanned into a computer and digitally enhanced to restore the faded dyes to near original appearance, then printed onto the more stable photographic papers. Avoid copy prints made on computer printer paper, as these fade even faster than old color photos and are unusually sensitive to water.
Up What is the best way to store a negative?
There are a variety of storage options available. The best choice depends on the number of negatives and one's preference. Negatives can be stored in acid-free envelopes, paper or plastic, and placed in an acid-free box made for negatives and prints. There are also clear plastic sheets which hold various size negatives which can then be put in a binder. Non-buffered storage for color prints and negatives, and buffered storage materials for black and white prints and negatives is recommended. Nitrate film should be stored in buffered materials.
Up Can the negative also be digitized?
Yes negatives can be safely digitized without damage, thus immortalizing them. For availing PDL photographic digitization services please fill the out the proper form detailing you collection. You will shortly be contacted by a PDL representative.
Up My family photo collection was glued on that old black paper that photo albums were made of. How can I get the photos out of the album?
The safest and recommended approach is to carefully try to lift the photos off of the album page with a tool called a spatula. Slip the spatula under the edge of the photo, and carefully move it back and forth. The ease with which the photos come up may vary depending on the humidity level. Dry conditions may make prints and backing brittle, easier to lift. Or humid conditions may soften the adhesive and ease removal. Do not force the photos so that they tear. If you cannot lift them, cut away the black paper around the photo. If photos are on both sides of the page and you cannot cut around, interleave the pages of the album with acid-free paper and store the album in an acid-free box. We recommend that you seek expert help for the purpose instead of trying it your self.
Audio Visuals
Up Do you digitize audio visuals also?
Oral records being a very important part of history, we are actively engaged in digitizing and archiving audio visuals of historical significance.
Up What kind of audio visuals do you digitize?
Up Do you digitize family tapes?
At present we have no facility for digitizing a family tape, unless it is of archival/public value.
PDL Website
Up How do I log in to the PDL?
If you are a registered user, you need to input your login details at the prescribed login form on the top bar of homepage or any other page of the website. If you are not yet registered with the website, you need to register yourself before. If you are a registered user and have forgotten your login details, you can click Forgot Password link in the login form.
Up How do I find what I'm looking for? What types of searched can I do?
PDL gives you an option to make an extensive search. You can use advanced search using Search on the top bar on home page as well as any other page of the website. You can search inside a particular category as well as the whole database of the PDL. If you are searching something generally, using this search will be the best idea but if your search is very particular, you should use advanced search just beneath the search textbox on the top bar.
Up Why am I seeking only a single page of my search results? My search are not returning specific or enough results. What should I do?
Some times when too many options have been selected in search criteria, search engine will return only those pages that satisfy all the search criteria. Try reducing the number of options selected in the search option or changing them.
Up Can I download material from the PDL?
Sometimes, but there are always restrictions and responsibilities for use as described full in our policies. Downloading of some materials from the PDL Web site is restricted due to various copyright laws. Your ability to download some particular material may also depend on your login status which will decide six months after the launch.
Up Who can access to the PDL online material?
Viewing PDL catalogue is free for everyone besides a few snippets of all the digitized books. Further access to specialized and copyright material will be restricted and subject to the type of membership availed by an individual.
Up What kind of memberships do you have?
Up How do I find out which library or archives has the records I'm looking for?
In metadata location of record is always mentioned. You can do
Up Why does it say that I do not have permission to view the image?
The image may belong to a book or material that is copyright and my need you to login as a ---- member.
Up I want to see a particular page. How do I get permission?
If the page you are trying to view has restricted access, it may be copyright and require you to login as a ---- member.
Up I would like a copy of one of the images. How do I get one?
PDL does not allow copying images. If any images are to be available, you can get them in the Downloads section. Still, if you want to get an image, you can request for the same. PDL may send a hard or soft copy of the image to you. PDL holds right to decline the request but in that case, you will receive a reply from PDL. Sending the image may or may not cost you. PDL will be in touch with you through mail or telephone on that.
Up How can I download a complete document (book/manuscript etc.)?
PDL allows its premium members an option to download some of the PDF files in full. With time, all the books in PDF format will be available for download. If any other kinds of documents are made available for downloading, they will reflect in Downloads section.
Up What's the “Find this book in a library link?
When you click on "Find this book in a library," we bring you to a search option where you can find that book’s availability in a local library nearby you or for that matter any library in our list.
Up I'm having trouble viewing the website fonts. What should I do?
We are currently using only system fonts on the website. If a new font is created for the website, it will either be made available for download, or else the font will be of a type that will not need to be downloaded.
Up Where do I report a typo? What if I disagree with your translation?
You can send in information regarding discrepancies or errors noticed on the Web site through the Feedback link or write to If you disagree or differ on the information provided on the PDL Web site and would like to communicate with us about, you can do so at the same e-mail address for PDL support.
Up Who is behind the PDL?
You can see a list of our team in our section Team on the PDL.

Up What is your copyright policy?
The PDL respects the intellectual property rights and other proprietary rights of others. Please refer to the policies section of the website for details.
Up How is PDL run? Where do the funds to run PDL come from?
PDL is a non-profit organization run solely through public fundraising and donations.
Up Are you supported by the government?
No PDL is an independent project.
Up What are your future plans?
PDL plans to make its digital collection even more comprehensive by continually digitizing and adding new data to it. PDL continues to look for and make cooperative alliance with new libraries and individuals. We foresee PDL as the hub of digital information on Panjab.
Up How can I help the PDL?
You can help PDL in many ways. You can donate funds, donate your collection, volunteer time, refer an individual, institution or library with digitization material, or simply spread a word (please do not speak on behalf of the organization).
Up Can I make a donation to the PDL? What kind of donations does the PDL accept?
Yes, you can donate to PDL through cash, kind and checks/DD. Check and DD should be written in favor of Nanakshahi payable at Chandigarh.
Up How do I donate my/our collection to the PDL?
If you wish to donate an article, document or piece of literature of archival value, please fill in the requisite form available on the website. Our representative will shortly get in touch with you.
Up Can I volunteer for the PDL?
Volunteers are welcome to our Chandigarh offices during business hours. However it is recommended to fill in the volunteer interest form to inform us prior to your visit. As digitization is a very specialized field, volunteering for any of the activities involved in the process required proper training and time investment. Therefore, we request individuals/groups to spare at least three to six month for the purpose to be able to effectively help the project and gain from it also.
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