By July 1 this year, the Zoological Survey of India completes 100 years since it was set up during the British period in 1916 at Kolkata but the milestone is that the century-old organization turned into digital age successfully at a budget of Rs.25 crore.
Originally, the survey has its genesis in the Zoological Section of the Indian Museum at Calcutta in 1875, which was gradually strengthened with staff, expanding its research programme to meet the challenge of the past and the demands of the future. Finally, in 1916 it was made into a full-fledged entity as Zoological Survey of India for the purpose of surveying, exploring, researching and documenting important details on the classification of animals.
In the last one decade, Zoological Survey of India has taken up the modernization project going digital with records of all its historic data, archives of natural history and animal specimen collected since the 18th century by zoologists. Now the information, available for all including visitors, general public and researchers, can be accessed online at its official website http://zsi.gov.in/App/index.aspx
Currently, the Zoological Survey of India owns about 4 million specimens of species, besides a huge collection of manuscripts, books, illustrations, photos and records of natural history, the oldest book in possession was printed in 1547. With the digitization, ZSI has made a breakthrough to preserve 4,500 publications running into 300,000 pages. The entire project was granted by its parent ministry, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Zoological Survey of India Director Dr K. Venataraman told PTI that the digitized data from the 19th century is still being uploaded and its 16 regional centres across the country are being covered under the project to make its collection accessible worldwide for researchers, which helps in citation and research reference online by reputed journals.
In the past, researchers were visiting or requesting for documents months prior to their project and considerable delay was factored into research work all over the country that can be circumvented with the online availability of the resources now, he pointed out.