Bichitra: The Making of an Online Tagore Variorum by Sukanta Chaudhuri

By Sukanta Chaudhuri

This publication files the construction of the Bichitra on-line Tagore Variorum, a publicly available database of Rabindranath Tagore's whole works in Bengali and English totaling a few 140,000 pages of fundamental fabric. Chapters hide cutting edge elements of the location, all replicable in different initiatives: a hyperbibliography; a seek engine and hyperconcordance operating around the database; and a different collation application evaluating variation texts at 3 degrees. There also are chapters at the certain difficulties of processing manuscripts, and on making plans the web site. Early chapters take readers throughout the historical past of the undertaking, an outline of Tagore’s works, and the Bengali writing process with the demanding situations of adapting it to digital shape.

The identify Bichitra, which means "various" in Bengali, alludes either to the nice number of Tagore’s works and to their numerous levels of composition. past their literary excellence, they're awesome for his or her sheer volume, the variety of variation sorts of a very good many goods, and their afterlife in translation, usually the poet’s personal. Seldom if ever has a similar author revised his fabric and recast it throughout genres on the sort of scale.​​ Tagore gained the Nobel Prize in 1913.

By its value-added presentation of this diversity of fabric, Bichitra could be a version for destiny databases protecting an author’s entire works or different significant corpus of texts. It bargains significantly accelerated entry to Tagore’s writings, and allows new sorts of study together with computational textual content research. The “book of the web site” exhibits in technical and human phrases how researchers with pursuits in paintings, literature and know-how can collaborate on cultural informatics initiatives.

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From mid-life, he also backed a spelling reform movement to consistently replace long i’s by short i’s in Sanskritic words. Many people would want to know which system he followed in which work, at what stage of his life. His holograph manuscripts obviously yield the best evidence, but it is not always easy to interpret. Transcribing a manuscript, above all a draft in the author’s own hand, involves close engagement with his personality and work habits as reflected in the text. This makes for a greater personal entry on the transcriber’s part as well: it is a meeting of two minds, on however different terms or levels.

There is also a curious but not uncommon class of manuscripts copied from printed material. Even this is putting it too simply. It is not always easy to identify an author’s hand. Tagore’s handwriting varies strikingly across tens of thousands of pages, according to date and circumstance (hurried first draft, thoughtful revision or fair copy) as also the writing materials used. Many manuscripts were copied by S. in S. Khator • S. Nath • A. com A. com © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015 S.

Amritesh describes how he would feast his eyes on the manuscript doodles to refresh his mind! 20 S. Chaudhuri and D. Ghosh We did have the benefit of a basic set of OCR-generated text files. OCR has been developed for a few major Bengali fonts: first by Bidyut Baran Chaudhuri of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, and then his pupil Anirban Raychaudhuri during the latter’s association with the Department of Computer Science at Jadavpur University. Luckily for us, Anirban’s output included a near-complete set of OCRgenerated files of Tagore’s Bengali works in the standard collected edition.

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