23 October, 2017

Govt. Information Dept In Haphazard Release Of Historic Material

The Government information Department has released a large volume of historic photographs, films and documentaries in a manner completely contravening the purpose of digitalization.

The move which was welcomed by many initially, ended up with many users complaining regarding the haphazard manner in which the digital portals could be used. It is unclear if the Government had paid a private entity to conduct the process.

No description, only a number – 00128

Uploading the historical collection to the internet the director general of the government information department on September 18th on his Facebook said: “Historic pictures of ancient Sri Lanka. We released 1000 such pictures today as the first step to the internet. Please visit www.dgi.gov.lk and enjoy historic documentaries and pictures.”

Going through the archives of Government information department website one can find 692 pictures and 120 documentaries without any logical categorisation.

A photograph has much greater historical value if information is available about where and when it was taken and about any people in the photograph. The description of the main contents of the image is key information that can be searched to find photographs about certain subjects. But in government information department archives there is no description – when, where, who, photographer etc. associate with photographs, no logically structured order, bad image quality – most of them are in lossy compression and the selection methodology is not clear. Very few photographs associate with a descriptions like, Swrd. Bnayake with governor Oliver G Tilake, Swrd. Bnayake Harbar, Swrd. Banayke exhibition, Dalrajapakse group1 and all other pictures associate with a image number.

With regard to the films and documentaries, a very limited description is associated with each of them in only Sinhala language, while both Sinhala and Tamil languages recognise as official language.

“It seems they have not developed a selection policy for digitization,” an expert of archiving photographs and documents told Colombo Telegraph.

“For instance they don’t know even simple guidelines. They should have asked simple questions such as: Is the material in a coherent, logically structured order? Is it paginated or is the arrangement suggested by some other means? Is it complete? Is there adequate descriptive, navigational, or structural information about the material, such as bibliographic records or a detailed finding aid? What kinds, level, and frequency of use are envisioned? Is there a clear understanding of user requirements? Can digitization support these uses? Will access to the material be significantly enhanced by digitization? Can our institution support a range of uses, e.g., printing, browsing, detailed review?, Access restricted to certain people or use under certain conditions?,” he said.

“A criteria need to be established for determining what is included in a particular archive project,” he further said.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    0

    Mr. Ranaga Kalansooriya is an exhibitionist, isn’t it? What he knows about these thing CT?

  • 10
    0

    This is perfectly normal for Government departments. They are mostly staffed by incompetent time-wasters.The Disaster Management website seems not to have been updated since 2012. Another example is the National Archives website. It is not organized to any recognizable standard. The “gallery” consists of innocuous photos of staff events. Most English titles on the site are inappropriate or misleading.
    I don’t believe these were carried out by private entities. No sane IT outfit would hire such incompetents.

    • 5
      1

      old codger

      “They are mostly staffed by incompetent time-wasters.”

      SJ believes it is all because of Federal Party, Chelva, Amirthalingam, ……………….. who he thinks govern the country from 1948.

      • 4
        0

        N.V,
        The 1964 cyclone in Trinco is described as “1964 suli sulang Trinco”
        Who to tell aney?

        • 1
          0

          old codger

          suli sulang sounds like Malay.

  • 4
    2

    Straight from the Kitchen to Parliament as the first woman PM. Any surprise for what we have brought on ourselves?

    • 2
      2

      gamini

      The weeping widow had extraordinary acting talent and immense intensity for destruction, both she used in right proportion to destroy life, culture, ……humanity, …

      SJ would not agree with us.

    • 3
      0

      A woman cannot be demeaned for her work in the kitchen , for it involve so many skills of multitasking ..coordinating and managing with the resources available .Reading Good Earth by Pearl Buck made me aaware how much the wife of the farmer knew that I could not learn with my 3 degrees ..so I say if only I spent more time watching home management of my mother a house wife balancing on single income ..may be I would have wisdom ..So straight from the Kitchen to Parliament is no negative for wars are born in the minds of Men not women .

  • 2
    0

    The Heroine of SJ – SiriMao is in the photo above. SJ will swear by Vihara Mahadevi!

    • 1
      1

      Plato

      SJ’s dream girl. Probably SJ’s version of Amma Jayaram Jayalalithaa.
      Do you know why Dudley Senanayake rejected the proposal to marry Siri Mao ?

      • 0
        0

        Obviously everyone does mate..at least anyone who went by Kinross beach late at night would, not that I’ve been, was far too young for that.

  • 2
    0

    The Government information Department has released a large volume of historic photographs, films and documentaries. The Department is not aware how callous they are.
    Some day someone will ask “Who is Oliver G Tilake?”.
    “No description, only a number – 00128”.
    This is how history gets lost. Truth gets replaced with oral tradition.

    • 1
      0

      K. Pillai,
      “Queen Mary’s road” in Gampaha town is now “Mery Biso Mawatha on signboards.

      • 0
        0

        OC
        They do go over the top at times.
        However, it is a fair Sinhala translation and not the rejection of the old name.
        *
        Interestingly, they renamed Maradana Road as P de S Kularatne Road. But it remains Maradana Para to this day from the shopkeeper to the bus conductor.
        Wolfendhal Street, Colombo 13 was renamed Sri Ratnajothi Mawatha (after Sir Ratnasothy Saravanamuttu) but then and now it is “Aattuppatti Theru” to the public– in a slightly corrupted form in Sinhala.

        • 1
          1

          SJ

          “they renamed Maradana Road as P de S Kularatne Road. But it remains Maradana Para to this day from the shopkeeper to the bus conductor.”

          Its all Federal Party’s mistake. Blame them for “Tar Over anything written in Sinhala” protest.

        • 0
          0

          SJ,
          It is not a Sinhala translation. It is in English!

          • 0
            0

            OC
            True.
            Such things happen to many road names in these parts.
            My comment was on the validity of Sinhalization of the name.
            There are funnier things:
            Place is rendered Pedesa in Sinhla (meaning Pradesha or region but sounds close to Place) and that is rendered in turn as Pirathesam in Tamil, which has nothing to do with Place in any sense.
            That there are street name boards in Tamil is commendable, but care for precision is appalling.

            • 0
              0

              SJ

              “That there are street name boards in Tamil is commendable, but care for precision is appalling.”

              Its all Federal Party’s terrible mistakes.

    • 0
      0

      KP
      Oral tradition preserved truth rather well for millennia in most of the world.
      It is attitude which is the problem.

  • 0
    0

    cooking is politics and the info. dept. is doing just that. my3 govt. seeks to divert the attention of the public from the present critical dialogues.

    Better not get duped by this cooking politics. Besides what relevance has Srimavo cooking in her kitchen now after more than 50 yrs ago ?

  • 1
    1

    SJ

    “they renamed Maradana Road as P de S Kularatne Road. But it remains Maradana Para to this day from the shopkeeper to the bus conductor.”

    Its all Federal Party’s mistake. Blame them for “Tar Over anything written in Sinhala” protest.

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