“A wonderful testament to the power of citizen archivists.“
—Carl Malamud, Public Resource
“The film contains an implicit warning: advances in technology are always more likely to assist the established, the powerful, and the commercial.
Minority cultures and concerns are always likely to have to run to catch up, to be entrepreneurial, inventive, almost absurdly dedicated and hardworking.“
—TIM BROOKES, Endangered Alphabets
About the film
Srujanika was founded as a volunteer-led collective by scientist couple Nikhil Mohan Pattnaik and Puspashree Pattnaik in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, in 1983. Since 2006, its workforce of only a handful of volunteers has managed to collect, process, and archive 10,000 volumes of books, magazines, and other periodicals and dictionaries published in the Odia language since the early 1800s. These publications are hosted on their portal—Odia Bibhaba. A large portion of the books they have archived was beyond conservation and, in most cases, did not have anyone to conserve them. But what really led to this massive project? This Open Culture documentary film accounts for the ups and downs of the movements Srujanika led and their constant struggle to document Odisha’s utterly neglected printing history.
“The Volunteer Archivists” was selected for a screening and discussion at the Indian Institute of Mass Communications, Dhenkanal, Odisha, India in January 2023.
The Volunteer Archivists
Collective negligence is threatening two centuries of printed publications in Odia, one of India’s official languages. A few volunteer archivists must struggle against all odds, including legal battles, to digitalize crumbling books.
CAMERAPERSON, RECORDIST, DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER
Puspashree Pattnaik (self)
Nikhil Mohan Pattnaik (self)
COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION/ORIGIN
Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, Odisha, India
Year of Production 2021-2022
Release Date(s) 26 May 2022 (India—Limited Release)
35 minutes (appx.)
US LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CONTROL NUMBER (LCCN)
DIGITAL OBJECT IDENTIFIER (DOI/EIDR)