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Pothi

comprehensive digital documentation of critically endangered cultural artifacts

Project lead​
Prateek Pattanaik

Documentation of intangible cultural heritage

We collaborate with communities to digitally-document intangible cultural heritage like performing arts, musical traditions, palm leaf manuscripts and  monuments—this is helping bring free and accessible resources online for the first time.

Open Educational Resources and toolkit are under development to enable & assist active participation and contribution in the project.

Building open learning resources

This work is leading creation of open archives, research, toolkits, educational and other resources and eventually digital preservation of the cultural heritage in addition to producing a wide range of multimedia research content for ethnographers and scholars, rich annotations to supplement native and non-native comprehension, digital literacy and greater knowledge about the work of practicing artists.

Why this project

Multiple aspects of tangible and intangible culture, especially in the context of India and in a larger scope that of South-east Asia, are very underrepresented or even non-existent on the Internet. These include indigenous knowledge about heritage structures (existence, location, history, iconography), performing & visual arts (music, dance, theater, painting; artistes, tradition, evolution, educational resources), musical traditions (origin, native literature, veterans, archival resources, classification), palm leaf manuscripts (central database, location, classification, possible digitization, web-based tools for comprehension & research) and other directly or indirectly related fields (ethno-musicology, sociology, linguistics, mythology, ethnography and more).

how Project pothi is helping bridge many gaps

Project Pothi is an initiative to bridge this gap by creating free, easily available online resources through proactive collaboration between practicing artistes in hinterlands, researchers & professors of the field and digital archivists. Resources created, mostly audio-visual documentation of superior technical quality for future relevance, are supplemented by information collected from the experience of practitioners and researchers. Conversations and dialogues inherent in performing arts are subtitled in the native language and simultaneously an English equivalent while taking care to maintain features of the variant employed, its historical and sociological consequences and inherent cultural symbolism. This thorough annotation enables greater comprehension of the content for non-native viewers, while also contributing to a greater representation of the concerned group on the Internet. Other consequences include an archive of potentially permanently available documentation, preservation of critically endangered knowledge streams on a digital platform and greater digital literacy & sensitization among practitioners, who are otherwise mostly inexperienced about digital media in the aforesaid geographical bounds.