Buddhist Digital Reference Databases of Dharma Drum Buddhist College

Tags: archive | Buddhism | database | documents

In response to the electronic information age of the 21st century and the new era’s trend such as the rapid expansion of Internet, brisk growth of digital documentation and electronic publications, and information sharing, Dharma Drum Buddhist College aims to establish comprehensive “Buddhist Digital Reference Databases” and embarks on long-term constructions of multiple databases. The following projects, with the exception of the last one, are currently sponsored by the National Science Council.

1. Digital Database of Buddhist Tripiṭaka Catalogues (http://jinglu.cbeta.org/index_e.htm)

The characteristic of the website is to provide search and retrieval function for the multi-lingual Buddhist Tripiṭaka catalogues. The site employs the standards for hypertext and metadata such as XML/TEI markup to build a knowledge management system of Buddhist text catalogues. Its database already has Buddhist Tripiṭaka catalogues in Chinese, Tibetan, Pali, Manchu, and Western languages (translated from Chinese); Buddhist scholars and the general public are granted free online access. Every search yields detailed information on Buddhist Tripiṭaka literature such as its numbers of version, pages, chapters and volumes, names of the author &/or translator, as well as corresponding information in other languages such as Tibetan and Pali.

Chien-Lung Tripiṭaka

Tibetan Tripiṭaka

Concordance Tool for the Chinese Buddhist Canon

In the mean time, on the foundation of the database and in conjunction with GIS, the project team is establishing a "Concordance Tool for the Chinese Buddhist Canon” ( The retrieval platform presents Buddhist Tripiṭaka literature and vocabulary in a three-dimensional spatial-temporal format. As a result, the Digital Database of Buddhist Tripiṭaka Catalogues combines various versions of Buddhist Tripiṭaka catalogues, ancient Buddhist scriptures, and literature information of Buddhism with contemporary information technology to build the knowledge management system of Buddhist texts. This full-text database of Buddhist Tripiṭaka is up to date and it injects new impetus to the preservation, knowledge management, learning, circulation, and promoting of Chinese scriptures. It can serve as the foundation for digital archives and modern information technology in Taiwan.

2. Buddhist Lexicographical Resources (http://sites.google.com/site/buddhistreferencetools/Home)

The goal of this project is to construct a large-scale digital database of Buddhist vocabularies and books. In addition to using IT tools to sort out and integrate related digital literature, the project aims to establish free tools and platforms for academic services. Its website will provide resources for downloading digital collection of Buddhist literature, search and retrieval tools, a Comparative Edition Database, and research platform services.

Yi qie jing yin yi

(1) Digital Archives
The project will digitize tool books of Buddhist lexicons. Most of the literatures are from Taishō Tripiṭaka (大正藏), Yi qie jing yin yi (一切經音義), Fanyu qianzi Wen (梵語千字文), Fanyi ming yi ji (翻譯名義集), etc. There are also contemporary Buddhist dictionaries such as Mahāvyutpatti (翻譯名義大集) and Soothill-Hodous Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms (漢英梵佛學詞典).

(2) Search and retrieval tool development
The project will integrate metadata content of digital dictionaries and will develop online search and retrieval tools of Buddhist dictionaries. It will in the future build a platform for the results of Buddhist information research and provide Buddhist scholars with interface services such as spatial-temporal geography, statistics of scripture analysis, and language processing tools.

(3) Comparative Edition database
The project will establish a Comparative Edition database with different languages (Chinese, Sanskrit, etc.) and different versions of Buddhist scriptures such as Lotus Sutra (法華經), Yogācāryabhūmi-śāstra (瑜伽師地論), Abhidharmakośa śāstra (俱舍論), Amitāyus Sutra (阿彌陀佛經), and Cittamatr Sutra (唯識); thus providing an online sutra-reader.

3. Hopkins Tibetan Treasures Multimedia Research Archive (http://haa.ddbc.edu.tw/)
The Hopkins Tibetan Treasures Multimedia Research Archive consists of over three thousand hours of authentic oral transmission on many scholarly and cultural aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. The sound quality of the recordings is pristine, but there is an urgent need to complete digitizing before the tapes deteriorate.

Professor Jeffrey Hopkins

Dr. William Magee

In the past few years, a revolution in eLearning has taken place in American and European universities. Technologies such as Second Life, Moodle, Machinima video tutorials, and streaming audio and video web-feeds (RSS) have enabled a globally- distributed virtual-learning laboratory, capturing the imagination of educators world-wide and offering students new dimensions of distance access, empowered engagement, and creative involvement in the learning process.

We feel it is important for the future of higher education in Taiwan to act quickly to become a partner in this new phenomenon. In order to contribute to the development of Taiwan's educational future in a meaningful way, we want to take advantage of the next funding period to move forward in five directions:
(1) Continue enlarging the Hopkins Tibetan Treasures Multimedia Research Archive through digitization of the original cassette tapes for publication with metadata to our web sites.
(2) Continue developing Instructional Materials for use with HTML browsers.
(3) Migrate portions of the Hopkins Tibetan Treasures Multimedia Research Archive to web-based RSS servers for broadcasting on the web and in Second Life.
(4) Develop innovative Instructional Materials for eLearning in Second Life.
(5) Produce machinima tutorials (video instructions created in Second Life) describing and explaining the many innovative aspects of the Hopkins Tibetan Treasures.

We intend to continue our traditional archive activities of digitizing and publishing to the web what is perhaps the world's most important audio archive for Tibetan researches. We also intend to begin implementing and exploring research and educational solutions in Second Life. The proficiency-oriented "primitive" shapes described herein are only the beginning. All aspects of Tibetan language instruction can be developed in Second Life using sound, text, programmed objects, machinima instructional tutorials, virtual classrooms, and so forth. These materials can be freely distributed to other educators, allowing for a community of language developers in all areas of linguistic and other types of instruction. There are no limitations to the flexible and adaptable nature of this learning modality. Dr. Magee's POPS technology is designed to develop language proficiency not only for self-learning programs but also as an integral part of classroom projects as well.

It is widely believed in the media that Second Life represents the next stage of development of the internet. Already numerous educational projects have found a home there. We feel that the academic prestige and research and educational advantages of our presence in Second Life will be an ornament to Taiwan's National Science Council, and will serve to enhance the prestige of Taiwanese education and research institutions.

4. The Chinese Buddhist Tripiṭaka Electronic Text Collection, Taipei Edition (http://taipei.ddbc.edu.tw/)
This project is aimed at constructing the largest digital archive of Chinese Buddhist content in existence, and at facilitating knowledge sharing and knowledge creation. Although CBETA (http://www.cbeta.org/) has digitized both the Taishō Tripiṭaka (大正藏) and the Zokuzōkyō (卍續藏), these canons do not contain all the Buddhist scriptures of importance (a substantial amount of commentaries, records and historical texts are not included). It is therefore a worthwhile endeavor to build a unique and comprehensive electronic edition of an all-encompassing collection of Chinese Buddhist texts.

Jiaxing Tripiṭaka

Jiaxing Tripiṭaka

Digitizing the Jiaxing Tripiṭaka(嘉興藏) collection is the main task of this project. The Jiaxing Tripiṭaka is collection of rich Buddhist resources from the Ming and Qing periods, and as a result of this digitization, most of what is not contained in the Taishō Tripiṭaka and Zokuzōkyō may now be found in our database. Since beginning in September 2007, a total of 283 sutras, comprising 1,668 fascicles and approximately 15,000,000 characters, has been completed and is available for use in research from our website (http://taipei.ddbc.edu.tw/).

Building on the digital database created by CBETA, this project provides a friendly interactive way of doing 'content markup' of documents, by linking the Digital Database of Buddhist Tripiṭaka Catalogs to the designated text string (http://jinglu.cbeta.org/). In the Information Age, the development of the Chinese Buddhist Tripiṭaka Electronic Text Collection, Taipei Edition, serving scholars across the word, is an important cultural achievement created in Taiwan.

5. Buddhist Authority Database Project (http://authority.ddbc.edu.tw/)
These databases integrate information from various projects of the Library and Information Center at Dharma Drum Buddhist College. By providing information on Chinese calendar dates and an onomasticon of person and place names from Buddhist Tripiṭaka-related sources, the databases help with disambiguation and geo-spatial referencing of names and dates. The data are openly available through various web-services, including a Google search plugin for Firefox.

(1) Time Authority Database
A comprehensive converter of Western-Chinese Calendar, dating from the start of the Qin Dynasty (Nov. 16, 221 B.C.) to the end of the Qing Dynasty (A.D. Jan. 18, 1912) (http://authority.ddbc.edu.tw/time).

(2) Person Authority Database
Information on names of Buddhist Tripiṭaka-related persons (http://authority.ddbc.edu.tw/person).

(3) Place Authority Database
Information on names of Buddhist Tripiṭaka-related places, with latitude and
longitude and KML output (http://authority.ddbc.edu.tw/place).

Text and images are provided by Dharma Drum Buddhist College (Digital Archives Projects)