The govt. of Odisha on 29/09/2014 have come up with E-Pothi, one of its kind online access of unique and rare palm leaf manuscripts of Odisha. Honourable Chief Minister of Odisha, Mr. Naveen Patnaik had formally inaugurated the portal. The online catalogue system will open a window for research scholars, students, historian, academicians and citizens to use the rare palm leaf manuscripts from home.
The e-pothi catalogue is integrated in the website of Odisha State Museum (odishamuseum.nic.in) which has digital versions of more than 40,000 unique and rare manuscripts. All the manuscripts in e-pothi portal have been categorised under 12 categories, namely, Illustrate Manuscripts, Sanskrit Purana, Tantra, Veda, Odia Literature, Shilpasastra, Jyotisha, Grammar, Ganita, Dharmasastra, Darshan and Ayurveda.
However all the palm leaf manuscripts are not available free of cost. As of now a viewer can only view some images of each manuscript and if wishes to have full access will have to pay certain charges. There is no standard rates for the manuscripts and each manuscript have its own value. The e-pothi also give the user easy accessibility through its search option where a visitor can search the manuscripts under each category by entering author name, subject, category and abstraction.
The e-pothi online catalogue also has online payment option which now accepts payments only through PayPal for easy payment. Some of the manuscripts are available free of cost, but to get access to the same the visitors have to complete the registration process also.
The project was initiated by the Cultural Department and is implemented by the National Informatics Centre (NIC). With the launch of the e-pothi portal Govt. of Odisha aims to gather some extra revenue for the State Museum.
While browsing through the website I found it user-friendly, but the online catalogue lacks some fine tuning and a visitor is often taken to different destination. I will be discussing some of the issues with the e-pothi online catalogue in my next post.