Message from the Director General
The National Library has been promising easier and wider access to electronic journals and on-line databases once the ICT infrastructure was in place. We are happy to report that the library has now acquired databases such as Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford Bibliographies On-line and ProQuest Dissertations (Full Texts). We are switching to the electronic version of the latter from the current financial year. It will provide access to 2.7 million searchable citations to dissertation and theses from around the world from 1861 to the present day, together with 1.5 million full-text dissertations and theses. Every year more than 70,000 graduate dissertations are added to the PQDT FT, the majority of which are full-text. The library has also acquired, on a perpetual-access basis, Early English Books On-line. It would enable users to access full texts of nearly 1,25,000 English titles printed between 1475 and 1700 in the British Isles, i.e. the entire lists in A. W. Pollard and G. R. Redgrave’s Short Title Catalogue, and Donald Wing’s Short-Title Catalogue. It also includes the Thomason Collection of the Early English Tracts Supplement.
The Web-OPAC now has around 8,50,000 records, including books in foreign languages, bound journals, and maps. We have plans of digitizing select rare and brittle documents starting in the second quarter of the financial year. Stock-taking, a recommendation in the last Performance Audit, has started in the financial year 2011-12 after a gap of many years.
The last semester saw a number of important events, including major exhibitions and conferences. These are reported in the following pages. The most important of these was the widely appreciated exhibition “Tagoreana in the National Library”, which put on public view rare manuscripts and books of Rabindranath Tagore on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of the poet. We are happy to announce that a checklist of major holdings of English and Bengali books by and on the great scientist Prafulla chandra (Prafulla Chandra) Ray will be launched on 2 August 2011, whose 150th birth anniversary falls on that date.
We had also promised programmes relating to staff training and development. These are reported in the ensuing pages, including a major six-day workshop on security and fire prevention held for the first time in the National Library. In July, we shall be conducting a gender sensitization programme for the staff with the assistance of the organization Swayam.
This year marks 175 years of the founding of Calcutta Public Library, the institution with which the National Library started life. We shall observe the occasion throughout the year, the first event being scheduled for 16 July 2011. On that day the noted book historian Professor A. R. Venkatachalapathy of Madras Institute of Development Studies will deliver the first B. S. Kesavan Lecture. We are happy that the lecture, planned as a tribute to the great bibliographer and the first librarian of the National Library in independent India, should co-incide with the 175th anniversary of Calcutta Public Library.
One of the happiest pieces of news that we wish to share is that Professor Gautam Bhadra, Tagore National Fellow in Cultural Research in the library, has been awarded the prestigious Ananda Puraskar for his book Nyara battalay jay kabar? (Kolkata: Chhatim, 2011). The book is an important study of popular publications and the culture of reading in Bengal.
Dr. Arun Kumar Chakraborty