A busy year for the Buddhist Digital Resource Center

(9 January 2018) In 2017 The Buddhist Digital Resource Center greatly increased the size of its archive, running two major digitization projects in Asia.  This has been a consistent trend for the past few years. Modern scanning technology makes image capture fast and cheap, meaning BDRC can digitally preserve Buddhist literature with unprecedented efficiency. The downside is that scanning can now outpace the speed at which BDRC is able to process images and make them available online.

But thanks to tireless work by staff over the past six months, BDRC has  nearly finished processing a backlog of 5.8 million images of Tibetan texts. 14.2 million pages of Buddhist texts are now available, for free, in the online library.

BDRC’s library now available on your mobile device

Last year also saw the launch of BDRC’s mobile app, providing a new way to interact with the library. In addition to expanding access for those with limited internet access, the release of a mobile app responds to trends in user behavior, especially in China where mobile device use is growing rapidly.

The app, available on the App Store and Google Play, allows users to search BDRC’s library offline and then share and download texts when connected to the internet. A new feature added in a recent update also gives users the ability to download texts from a copy of BDRC’s archive designed for their location. BDRC will continue to improve the app and add new features in the coming months.

BDRC: the next generation

BDRC has been hard at work building its next generation repository: the Buddhist Universal Digital Archive (BUDA). BUDA will offer a suite of research tools, a powerful search function that allows for multi-language queries across multiple repositories of Buddhist texts, and, among other tools, open image sharing and image annotation using IIIF. BUDA’s features will make it the nexus in a collaborative network of Buddhist scholarship.

In 2017 BDRC made significant progress developing BUDA’s technical infrastructure and tools (if you’re technically savvy, you can check out what progress by visiting the open-source GitHub repositories). This means BUDA is in an excellent position to make big advances in 2018.

BDRC is excited to find new ways to increase access to Buddhist literature and to expand the extensive archive in 2018. Sign up for the BDRC newsletter and follow BDRC on Facebook to stay informed about all of BDRC’s breaking news.

Visit the BDRC website here.