Record Access

Written by The Financial Express | Updated: Jul 3 2014, 07:25am hrs
Here is something that the US has done which is worth emulating for India. As per the USs 1014 Open Government Plan, all holdings of the countrys National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) would be uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons, the database of media files that powers the content on Wikipedia. How does this help While Wikipedia is often used for the fastest desktop research, the fact that it is open-source means that any one can edit an article and shape information as per his/her whims. Thus, what gives the information a semblance of credibility is references. This is where NARAs holdings have a big role to play. Not only do these become sources of new information, linked as references these would bolster the quality of information available. So, if just 4,000 articles on the site that featured NARA records got 1 billion hits in 2013 alone, imagine how much would the US record-keepers entire stash impact the quality of information being consumed.

This backdrop should be reason enough for Indias official non-current data repository, the National Archives of India (NAI), to join in. NAI is a veritable treasure trove of historymaterial including official records, manuscripts, private papers of eminent persons in history are archived in a regular series from 1748 onwards with the body. If the government were to digitise this content and put it online with Wikimedia Commons, public access to the information would vastly increasesomething worth considering.