Washington: The rare book, “India Illustrated” has now been digitally preserved by The University of Houston Digital Library, and is available online for students, historians and others around the world who are interested in the social, economic and political history of India.
“Our efforts preserve this rare book. We have digitized it cover-to-cover and could reproduce the entire book should anything happen to the originals,” said Michelle Reilly, digital projects program director.
The book was apparently published after 1900, but before 1910. There are three copies known to exist. One is housed in the British Library; the other at the National Library Board, Singapore.
A UH team of seven painstakingly took each fragile page, scanned it and catalogued it. Each description and title was taken directly from the text.
The paper is very slick and doesn’t preserve well. The binding is coming off. We wanted to digitally preserve it. While it is still available to view at our Special Collections, we wanted to minimize the handling of the text because that is what harms it the most,” Reilly said.
The book was published by Bennett, Coleman and Co., which also published the English language newspaper Times of India. There are more than 200 pictures showing various images of life and architecture of India, from Madras fisherman to Alligator Pier in Karachi; from a view of Bombay from the Rajabai Towers; to an unconventional view of the Taj Mahal.
“Photographs such as these are not widely available, and the University of Houston Libraries has done scholars of British India a great service by digitizing this source and making it widely accessible,” she said.