Project Madurai- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


1. General

1.1  What is Project Madurai ?
1.2  What is the purpose of Project Madurai ?
1.3  This is a great idea.  Who thought of this ? When did this begin ?
1.4  Why should I join ? What do I gain ?
1.5  Why was the name 'Madurai' chosen ?
1.6  Who own the electronic texts archived here ?
1.7  I can't read these pages. What format are these pages (and electronic texts) in ?
1.8  Is there any listserv or egroups for this Project ?
1.9  Who and what is a 'ProMad' ?

2.  Logistics

2.1  How does this project work ?
2.2  What can I do to participate in this project ?
2.3  I like to join, but not sure if I can work regularly. Can I still contribute ?
2.4  I like to type ABCD (or any) work. What should I do ?

2.5  How is a literature (or any Tamil work) chosen for archiving ?  Is there any preference ?
2.6  I think old Tamil classic works should be given preference.  Why do I find some recent works in the collection ?
2.7  I do not see many works by recent (or popular) authors.  Why isn't this so ?
2.8  I see many religious texts in the collection ? Why is this so ?
2.9  Where can I see the list of archived collection ?  Is there a list of pending works to be done ?

2.10  How many members are there in this project ?
2.11  Who manages this project ? Who are the coordinators ?
2.12  I live in ABCD town.  Is there anyone near my town to contact and know more about this ?

3.  Other Questions

3.1  I have access to a scanner.  Can I just scan pages and add it to the collection ?
3.2  This sounds silly and laborious. Does not Tamil have a OCR program to simplify these tasks ?
3.3  How about copyright issues ?
3.4  I have a suggestion.  Whom can I contact ?


1.  General

This section explains most common questions about Project Madurai.

1.1  What is Project Madurai ?

Project Madurai is a voluntary effort to archive works in Tamil language and make them available to everyone on the internet.

1.2  What is the purpose of Project Madurai ?

The main purpose is to preserve the precious collection of Tamil literature - both old and new, from all over the world.  Thus, we hope through this effort, we can build an electronic library of Tamil literature and pass it on to generations to come.

1.3  This is a great idea.  Who thought of this ? When did this begin ?

The entire idea of this project was a collective thought of various Tamil enthusiasats.  In the early days of Internet (1996 onwards), several etext archiving projects were taking place world-wide. Through various postings in the soc.culture.tamil (usenet), tamil.net (email discussion list), many expressed the desire to start similar projects, targetting ancient tamil literary classics. Based on such calls in tamil.net, the project, officially started off on Pongal/Tamil New Year day of Jan. 14, 1998!

1.4  Why should I join ?  What do I gain ?

We request you to volunteer and join in Project Madurai - to be part of a noble cause - of preserving Tamil literature and enable the future generation enjoy the Tamil literature.  To quote an example - if not for U.V. Swaminatha Iyer's work in the early 20th century, we would have lost many valuable Tamil literature, nowadays available in print form.

You gain personal satisfaction that you contributed in a way to preserve Tamil literature.  (Remember the poem - 'Little drops of water, make a mighty ocean' ?)  Moreover, your name will be also dispalyed along with the work you volunteered for, be it for typing-in or proof-reading.

1.5  Why was the name 'Madurai' chosen ?

Madurai is one of the oldest cities of southern India. It has been a centre of learning and pilgrimage, for centuries. Legend has it, that the divine nectar falling from Lord Shiva's locks, gave the city its name - Madhurapuri, now known as Madurai. Madurai's history dates back to over 2000 years ago, when it was the capital of the Pandyan kings.

It was the Pandyan Kings during their long reigning period, who set up Sangams (academies) for the encouragement and criticism of Tamil Studies. The Sangam period lasting for several centuries, is considered universally as the Golden Age of Tamil Literature. Great anthologies such as Ettuthohai and Pattupattu were compiled and many immortals like Iraiyanar, Valluvar, Kapilar, Nakkirar, Paranar, Auvaiyar and Ilango Adigal gave their best to the Tamil Music. The proposed electronic text archive project devoted to tamil literature is named after this great historic city Madurai.

1.6  Who own the electronic texts archived here ?

Being a grass-root internet-based voluntary effort, the archived electronic texts belongs to everyone.  There is no single owner for these archives - which can be all the more reason for you to join. This project is neither commercial nor governmental effort.

1.7   I can't read these pages. What format are these pages (and electronic texts) in ?

Project Madurai electronic texts are in TSCII format. To know more about TSCII or installing the required fonts, we recommend you visit the TSCII webpage.  (We are presently converting all our earlier works to TSCII 1.7 format.  So we apologize, in case you see some older formats.  We hope to finish this conversion process soon.)

1.8  Is there any listserv or egroups for this Project ?

Yes.  We do have a Project Madurai email group, where we exchange ideas.  We recommend you to visit the Project Madurai group in Yahoo Groups.

1.9  Who and what is a 'ProMad' ?

'ProMad' is a short form for Project Madurai volunteer.  We coined this term entirely for convenience.



2.  Logistics

This section explains the working details of Project Madurai.

2.1  How does this project work ?

Project Madurai is an entirely voluntary effort.  This means you as a volunteer choose any Tamil work you like to archive or preferably choose one from the target list or choose

2.2  What can I do to participate in this project ?

All you have to do is - key in (any Tamil work, of your choice) or proof-read a work already typed - in your free time.  We have a webpage that outlines broadly target works we are aiming to cover at PM.

2.3  I like to join, but not sure if I can work regularly. Can I still contribute ?

As we mentioned earlier (Question 1.1), Project Madurai is a completely voluntary effort and so we understand that you have other commitments.  We completely understand this and so do not compel anyone at anytime.  So feel free to join and contribute - during your free time and whenever you wish.

2.4  I like to type the ABCD (or any) work.  What should I do ?

We are glad to hear this.  Before you start typing in the ABCD (any) work, please see the time-table and check if this work is already completed or in the process of being typed-in.  If not, you are entirely welcome to start this work - provided it is not copyrighted.  Send a mail to the Project Madurai group (Question 1.8) and find out if that work can be typed-in.

2.5  How is a literature (or any Tamil work) chosen for archiving ?  Is there any preference ?

It is entirely upto the volunteer to choose a work to add to the digital library.  We do not force anyone to take up any work.   This is another good reasonwhy you see a broad collection of works in our collection now.

No, we do not have any preference.  It is entirely upto the volunteer to choose a text to add to the library.  While we do not have any strict preference, we suggest that Tamil works in the brink of extinction be archived, if possible.  Even today, it is a sad fact that there exist innumerable Tamil books and literature, which are ignored and nearly out of print.  If we can preserve these treasures, it will be of great service to the future generation.

2.6  I think old Tamil classic works should be given preference.  Why do I find some recent works in the collection ?

We entirely agree with your opinion and do give priority coverage to all ancient works that are at risk of being lost. But we like to remind you that Project Madurai is conceived as a "Tamil Digital Library on the Net", built entirely as a voluntary effort.  Therefore, we do not force volunteers to take up old classics, but rather leave it to their wishes.  However a good number of volunteers also share your opinion and have brought in a good collection of old Tamil classics to the collection.

2.7  I do not see many works by recent (or popular) authors.  Why isn't this so ?

This may be true. You do not see many recent works, because they are copyrighted.  Some authors were kind enought to release their works and this makes up the few recent works in the collection.  It may be pointed out here that Tamilnadu Govt. has placed the literary works of several distinguished Tamil authors in public domain, after paying some royalties to family members. For a list of authors, see the webpage on target works . See also Question 2.5.

2.8  I see religious texts in the collection ? Why is this so ?

Project Madurai collection is truly a digital library.  There is no distinction between a religious and non-religious text. The works were brought in the collection by volunteers and are part of our collection.

2.9  Where can I see the list of archived collection ?  Is there a list of pending works to be done ?

To facilitate visitors, we have put up a catalogue of etexts archived at Project Madurai: a chronological/alphabetical release list

2.10  How many members are there in this project ?

Presently there are about 200 volunteers in this project.

2.11  Who manages this project ?  Who are the coordinators ?

Project Madurai is lead by Dr. K. Kalyanasundaram and Dr. P. Kumar Mallikarjunan.  You can also find a list of coordinators in this page.

2.12  I live in ABCD town.  Is there anyone near my town to contact and know more about this ?

We suggest you take a look at the list of coordinators. This list is not complete and so does not have all the present volunteers' name.  Send a mail to the Project Madurai group - most probably there is someone located near your town.



3.  Other Questions

3.1  I have access to a scanner.  Can I just scan pages and add it to the collection ?

Scanned pages take up a lot of space and so at present, we do not have any scanned work in our collection.

3.2  Does not Tamil have a OCR program to simplify these tasks ?

We wish Tamil had a good Optical Character Recognition (OCR) program that can tremendously help in converting scanned texts to electronic texts.  Unfortunately there is not yet a Tamil OCR program and so we need volunteers to type in the texts.  Moreover even if we had a Tamil OCR,  we still need to manually proof-read the texts.  This is because OCRs are not exactly 100 % accurate and so we still need volunteers for this project.

3.3  How about copyright issues ?

Project Madurai strictly adheres to copyright standards.  All the works in the collection are either from public-domain (after a certain period of their creation, currently ca. 75 years after the lifespan of the author) or with due consent from the respective authors.

3.4  I have a suggestion.  Whom can I contact ?

Feel free to send a mail to Dr. Kalyanasundaram or Dr. Kumar Mallikarjunan.  They will be glad to hear your suggestion or opinions, if any.


We thank Mr. Anbumani Subramanian for his help in assembling this list of FAQ.
Last updated: September 15, 2009/Created: May 22, 2002.


Quick links


In Unicode Tamil




Email

Mailing list