New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) Vice President Hamid Ansari Wednesday highlighted the important role digital libraries can play in enabling people access, share and apply knowledge in a more effective manner.
"The challenge before us would be to overcome the digital divide that exists between countries of the north and the south, regions within national boundaries and on the basis of socio-economic stratification.
"Democratisation of access to knowledge by bridging the digital divide would be essential for inclusive, sustained development," Ansari said in his address at the International Conference of Digital Libraries 2013.
He said digital libraries provide a valuable platform for achieving the desired results.
"They provide an efficient and cost effective medium through which information can be delivered and knowledge shared in formats that are easily accessible to the masses," he said.
Organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the three-day conference with its theme "Vision 2020: Looking Back 10 Years and Forging New Frontiers" aims to accelerate the process of knowledge management by developing digital libraries.
It also brings together national and international experts to exchange experience, views and skills, and initiates discussions and knowledge sharing related to digital libraries.
Human Resource Development Minister M.M. Pallam Raju said digital libraries have the ability to make a wide repository of information accessible in a digitally connected world.
"ICDL 2013 is organising workshops-cum-panel discussions on select contemporary areas, and has a clear inclination towards the National Knowledge Commission's mandate.
"The Commission's overarching aim is to transform India into a vibrant knowledge-based society. This entails an improvement in existing systems of knowledge, as well as the creation of avenues for generating new forms of knowledge," Raju said.
He said libraries of India stand as a rich repository of knowledge, and the goal is to transform them from guarded storehouses of publications into open stockpiles of knowledge.
On the importance of digital libraries and the systemisation of knowledge it can bring about, TERI director-general R.K. Pachauri said: "Digital libraries are a significant outcome of the unprecedented technological changes in the information sector that have taken place across the globe in recent years.
"These make it possible for documents, publications and knowledge in every field to become accessible to every section of society."
Over three days, the conference will host thematic workshop-cum-panel sessions, plenary sessions, poster sessions and also exhibits.
In the past, ICDLs have promoted digital library research and development, and also positioned itself as a pioneer in digital library policy making process.