British Library in India

Digitisation of records and relationship building


  • British Library (BL)
  • British Council India
  • Ministry of Culture, India including- National Archives of India, National Library of India, National Museum of India, Central Secretariat Library, Archaeological Survey of India, National Gallery of Modern Art
  • Chhatrapati Sivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay (CSMVS)


  • To renew and build links with leading Indian cultural and higher education institutions
  • To digitise key India Office records held at the British Library for use by researchers in India

Project details

Digitising key documents
The British Library’s South Asian collections and holdings of the India Office Records are of international significance and are consulted by researchers from all over the world.

A pilot project to digitise a selection of the nineteenth century records from the India Office was completed and copies given to the National Archives of India and the Ministry of Culture, India.

Stronger links with Indian institutions
A team from the British Library visited a number of counterpart institutions in New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai in November 2008 to renew and establish links on behalf of World Collection Programme partners. A further reconnaissance trip was made to key institutions in Southern India in June 2009. The team held group discussions and workshops with academic researchers from seven leading Indian universities and research institutions in northern India to identify key research trends and identify a range of research opportunities for the Library and other partners to work collaboratively..

Meetings with key institutions in Southern India, including the Indian Institute of Science and the Central Institute of Indian Languages enabled the delegation to gain a comprehensive overview of research and higher education. British representatives in India in the Research Councils UK office and the British Council supported the Library’s initiative provided invaluable assistance.

The team also met with Government of India representatives – the Secretary to the Ministry of Culture and the Deputy Chairman of the University Grants Commission to explain the role of the World Collections Programme and purpose of the visit to develop a range of projects.

A joint Memorandum of Understanding between the British Library, British Museum and the V&A was signed with the Ministry of Culture, India in June 2010.