There is a manuscript repository which is not government-funded. The organization somehow get some precious manuscripts.
When I approached, they said that only specific administrator is authorized to grant access to manuscripts.
When asked about that person, it was told that he comes only two days in a week, that too for 2-3 hours.
When we managed to meet him and gave an application, he asked to come after a few days because the person who looks after manuscripts comes only when asked.
When I went after some days, the price-list was shown which was very different from that of any other repository. I was shocked!! Add to it, they didn’t show me manuscripts so I couldn’t check if they are actually needed!!
When asked about such rate-card, the answer was that they have saved manuscripts for so many years and since they were not government-funded, so they are charging in this way.
But, that was only handling charges. The price to get a xerox or scan is to be given separately.
I asked if they had these manuscripts scanned, just to save me from labor of taking snaps. BTW, who will prefer to give so much money and stand hours to take snaps.
They have scans. Thanks to NAMAMI(www.namami.org), a Government of India enterprise.
But, they insisted that it is impossible to find desired scans in DVD-s because there is no proper list on DVD-s and the number of DVD-s is very big. Thanks to NAMAMI for doing their work so unprofessionally. In a way Government of India is wasting money with such unprofessional IT companies(those who scanned for NAMAMI).
I offered that I’ll sit on PC to find desired books on DVD-s, yes 400+DVD-s.
I was asked to come after few days, for the person who takes care of them comes only when asked.
I went after a few days and met the person. The person started to say me that it is impossible to find books in DVD-s, they don’t have name, etc. Then he showed me two of them. I checked and found that they were labelled. When I showed it to them, they said that each DVD has many books and all of them are not on label.
I said it is fine. At least we have some clue to find books.
They agreed hesitantly. But, they said that there is no person to check DVD-s for me, so I should spend some more money to get them xeroxed.
Calculating my budget and number of books I wanted(which may need a million), I said that I will go for scans.
They repeated same argument. I offered to sit and do the work myself. They agreed.
But, next problem is there. When I asked to give a PC to sit and check DVD-s, they said that there is no person to sit with you. 😛 (God! save me.)
Anyway, I suggested them to copy all DVD-s to a Hard Disk, because any small scratch on DVD-s can make them unreadable and hence useless. They agreed to raise the request to administrator.
I said that I’ll meet the senior administrator again regarding present problems and need of HDD.
I called on the day to confirm presence of administrator. He was there but ready to leave(there is no fixed office hour).
I asked the person on phone to give the call to administrator. He didn’t give!! He said that he will not tell ad I have to call on other number to talk to the person. (I can’t say if this is helping attitude).
I called again and asked him to wait and went to meet him.
He repeated that there is no person to sit with me. And, then he said that if you directly copied from DVD-s, the quality of scans will be degraded. He said that they will copy them to their hard disk and then I should copy for best quality!! (Do they think I’m dumb just because I’m in traditional cloths).
I agreed, just to avoid any useless debate with such people.(remember that even an idiot administrator is an administrator and can harm/obstruct you in many ways.)
I asked the approx time after which I could call them. They bluntly said 2 months.
I’m waiting. 😛