The most exciting new development of the last three months is our hiring of a Project Developer to begin work on the 3.0 version of the Berzin Archives web site, www.berzinarchives.com. This upgrade will transform the web site from primarily a reference source to a modern online educational tool. We hope to be able to provide, in each of our language sections, individualized study programs that will suit the interests and needs of each user. We also hope to make full use of the enormous opportunities that the fast-growing range of social media offers for reaching as wide an audience as possible.
Preparation of the upgrade will be a long and challenging process, but we have taken the first step. We are presently conducting an extensive diagnostic of the current use of the web site and analyzing the data to determine how to optimize access and use of its current functions. I shall keep you informed as this exciting adventure unfolds.
In addition to this new development, we have continued working to expand the content of the Berzin Archives web site in almost all of our language sections, as well as in our audio and video departments. You can read all the details in the attached file. In addition to the current seventeen languages online and three in preparation (Hindi, Tibetan and Persian), we have begun work on our twenty-first language, Western Punjabi. This is the form of Punjabi used in Pakistan and written in the Arabic script. We have added this language at the strong request of our Urdu translator, who pointed out that although Urdu is the official language of Pakistan, studied by almost everyone in the country, it is the mother tongue of only 7% of the population. Punjabi is, in fact, the most widely spoken language there. Worldwide, it is the native language of over 100 million people. Therefore, in keeping with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s encouragement to reach out to the Muslim world, we are happy to add this audience to our goal of “Making the Ageless Wisdom of Tibet Available to All.” Thank you for your continuing support in making this possible.
With your kind ongoing support, we have continued to make great progress with the Berzin Archives project (www.berzinarchives.com). During the last three months we have added online our sixteenth and seventeenth language sections: Mongolian and Japanese. The statistics and details of what we have accomplished during these months are attached to this report.
We have continued preparation of the next language sections for the web site: Tibetan and Hindi, and have begun preparation of a Persian section. We have been able to secure a Persian team as the direct outcome of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to the Roshan Center for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland. There he delivered “The Anwar Sadat Lecture for Peace” and participated in “A Meeting of Two Oceans: Dialogue on Sufism and Buddhism.” Transcripts of both lectures are now available on our web site: http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/world_today/anwar_sadat_lecture_for_peace.html and http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/study/islam/general/meeting_of_two_oceans.html.
Our web developer has constructed these three next language sections and programmed our content management system to handle the fonts for these scripts and display them on all browsers and operating systems. Our technical team is currently developing a program to optimize treatment of all the non-Roman scripts of the site.
Our Arabic team has completed work on an Arabic-English glossary with Arabic translations of the definitions of the terms and this is newly online. As with the English section, pop-up windows with the definitions of these terms appear in the Arabic articles when the reader passes the cursor over the terms.
Work is continuing strongly on the transcription of the audio files of my weekly courses. We have now completed transcribing and proofreading 185 of the 379 audio files currently online. In preparation for also putting these transcripts online, once they have been copyedited, our web developer has integrated these audio files from their previous podcast status into our content management system and reformatted them accordingly.
In addition, our web developer has upgraded our content management system to the latest version and optimized many of its features to increase efficiency. We have also migrated the web site to a larger main server, added a second backup server, and expanded our security measures. With this increased efficiency, we hope to make even more of the “Wisdom of Tibet Available to All.”
With your kind ongoing support, we have continued to expand the Berzin Archives web site (www.berzinarchives.com). In these last three months, we have broken all our previous records: we have added online 253 new written, audio or video items and furthered hundreds of more files along the way on the multi-step process to completion. You can find all the statistics and details of what we have accomplished in the attached document.
Our upcoming Mongolian, Tibetan and Hindi sections are growing steadily and we are in the final stages for launching Mongolian online. In addition, we have started preparation of a Japanese section. His Holiness the Dalai Lama frequently visits Japan and the interest in his message and teachings is steadily growing there. Our Japanese team includes personnel from the Potala College in Tokyo, established by the Dalai Lama, so we are very happy to have such well-qualified persons to work on this section.
Our new administrative assistant has constructed the technical infrastructure, with new hardware and software that will optimize our administrative operations. With increased efficiency, we hope to make even more of the “Wisdom of Tibet Available to All.”
As indicated in our trimonthly report covering December 2012 through February 2013, we are continuing to expand the Berzin Archives web site. In addition to the 15 language sections already online, we are actively preparing Tibetan, Mongolian and Hindi sections. Soon we shall begin preparation of a Farsi section as well. With most of our treasure trove of old audio cassette recordings of my lectures now digitized, we are also planning to step up our audio editing and transcription work.
We have already hired an administrative assistant to help coordinate the additional personnel we will need to employ in order to complete this next phase of our project. All this expansion requires, of course, further funding. We have therefore raised our cumulative fundraising goal here on Global Giving to $150,000.
If you would like to see how we have been spending the donations that we have been receiving from you, as well as from other kind supporters directly via our website and from several foundation grants as well, please take a look at our detailed budget report for 2012. As you can see, our total income for the year was $163,577.43 and our expenditures were $161,817.84. As our projected expenses for 2013 will be higher than those of last year, we hope that you will continue to support our efforts to “Make the Ageless Wisdom of Tibet Available to All.”
With your kind ongoing support, we have continued to expand the Berzin Archives web site (www.berzinarchives.com). In these last three months, we have added online 165 new written, audio or video items and furthered hundreds of more files along the way on the multi-step process to completion. You can find all the statistics and details of what we have accomplished in the attached document.
At the end of January, we implemented the new option for downloading Kindle and EPUB versions for all our articles and transcripts other than for those available in published book form. Now it is even more convenient to read the material on the web site whenever and wherever you wish.
Our upcoming Tibetan and Mongolian sections have gotten a step closer to their coming online. We have successfully located and hired part-time editors for both of them. Many centuries ago, devoted masters translated the Buddhist literature from Sanskrit to classical Tibetan and then on to classical Mongolian. But, nowadays, most of the younger generation of Tibetans and Mongolians cannot read these classical languages. Their access to the wisdom of their own cultures is therefore quite limited. It is very exciting, then, to help the great masters communicate their wisdom to this younger generation through modern media in their colloquial languages.
The scope of our project, however, is universal. We now have over a hundred people working around the world on our eighteen European and Asian language sections and in our audio/video and technical divisions. Translations, transcripts, and audio and video files in various stages of preparation come in and go out to them each day. With such a large and constant daily workflow, keeping clear up-to-date records is essential. To help with this daunting task, we have hired an administrative assistant. With increased efficiency, we hope to make even more of the “Wisdom of Tibet Available to All.”
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