The Department of Sociology, Delhi University is in the process of setting up a multi-media Resource Centre. The aim of the resource centre is to set up a repository on institutional and disciplinary history with a data bank for contemporary research and pedagogical aids, including visual, textual, and other materials, as well as simultaneously build and provide the necessary in-house skills in new pedagogical and research techniques.
The initial proposal for a resource centre in the Department were put forth at a workshop on The Multi-media Archive and Repository on Institutional and Disciplinary History organized in 2006. After consultations held with the archivists at the Roja Muttiar Centre, Chennai and Centre for Social Sciences, Calcutta, it was decided to build the resource centre with help from student volunteers using the available material in the Department. With support from Delhi University, a hi-tech Book2Net scanner, a video camera, an SLR camera and tripod, a point-and-shoot camera, 2 servers, colour printers and computers, and digital recorders were acquired. The Staff Room was taken over to house the Resource Centre.
In response to the felt need for a repository of sociological documents, the University of Delhi has given the Department the seed money to buy equipment for digital scanning and documentation. The resource centre will, we hope, serve as a knowledge hub, housing sociological material from different parts of the country and accessible to scholars across India and the world.
At present we have undertaken three specific projects. These are as follows:
Digital documentation of archival material
This will include both published and unpublished material such as field notes and unpublished dissertations as well as journals that are no longer in circulation. Since curriculum development is an important component of disciplinary history, we will also try and collect old syllabi from the different universities that teach sociology.
An archive of ethnographic films
Film is increasingly an important pedagogical aid. It is also seen as an important medium of research, standing side by side with the ethnographic monograph as a mode of representing society. There is no such archive in India and most social science libraries do not have the facilities to create such an archive at present. The resource Centre could complement the services offered by the university library system by building up such an archive.
The M.Phil dissertations were collected and the work of preparing abstracts begun, lists of Ph.D. theses and other reports and archival material were identified. An initial survey has been conducted at the Ratan Tata Library of old documents, reports, and books which are in a fragile condition and may be digitized. Documents pertaining to the history of the department and the discipline are being culled out from the decades old files in the departments. Several rare manuscripts from field collections and photographs have been scanned and stored digitally. The resource centre also has a collection of oral narratives from the North East. Sociologists from the Department and elsewhere have been contacted about housing their fieldwork materials in the repository and for information of other materials which may be digitized.
The Resource Centre also has a collection of Sociology books in Hindi.