Indian Heritage in Digital Space (IHDS): India is known for her rich cultural and historical heritage. India’s history and land is studded with monuments that tell stories about vast kingdoms, great empires, architecture, monuments, culture and civilisation. India has had a continuous living culture that has generated a vast treasure of written, visual and performance art and craft forms that speak to glory of the civilizations that have occupied her land. India’s rich history of conflicting dynasties and political struggles and the continuous use and exploitation of her land has also resulted in the partial destruction of many of her monuments. Likewise her continuously evolving tradition of higher art has meant that much of the origins and history of this evolution is known only to a few people. The task of documenting, archiving and sharing India’s heritage is itself a monumental task, and despite dedicated efforts by many people and the government, it still remains a challenge.
Digital technologies have matured. These technologies have the capacity to protect memories of the past against the destructive forces of time, nature and Human made events. Already there are Digital Library projects underway to capture the written documents and manuscripts in digital form. These projects hold the promise of being able to preserve the wealth in these documents for many years and also to make them available to use and peruse by people from around the world. The India Heritage in Digital Space (IHDS) Research agenda aims to extend the power of digital technologies to well beyond these monuments to art, architecture and all forms of cultural and historical knowledge. Beyond simply storing and sharing the heritage data and knowledge, the emerging technologies in computer vision, graphics, audio and video technologies and user interface design offers the prospect of creating vivid experiences of the heritage for common users. It also has the capacity to provide analytic tools for the art-historian, the architect or any scientist who may be interested in conducting scholarly studies on the heritage.