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Dec 6, 2018

Berzin Archives Report: Sept 10 through Nov 2018

Ganden Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet
Ganden Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet

These last three months have seen a flurry of activity from our hard-working team. We have now completed migration of the two remaining language sections, West Punjabi and Tibetan, from our previous website, berzinarchives.com, to the newly designed studybuddhism.com. Now the entire written content of the old site has been successfully transferred. With the talented translators and editors in our 21 language divisions continually adding new material, we can now offer to our world-wide visitors 7,956 authoritative articles, including 1,435 in English, in a media-rich, user-friendly, digital environment.

Having already migrated the 476 audio files of Dr. Berzin’s weekly courses, we have now begun the process for moving the 850 audio files of his weekend seminars as well. When finished, this will complete the transition to Study Buddhism.

The Berzin Archives do not only comprise the articles, audios and video files presently available on our website, YouTube, SoundCloud and iTunes channels. Like buried treasure, a vast store of further material is filed away on our computers. We are now sorting through the remaining, unpublished material to determine which articles, translations and transcripts can be edited, polished and added to the website. Of the 3,780 English items examined so far, we have earmarked 1,730 for work in the future. When we complete this inventory, we will make the final cut of what we shall use.

Here is a brief list of our accomplishments since early September:

  • Migration and publication of our West Punjabi and Tibetan sections
  • Creation of custom open source Tibetan transliterators for generating urls in Tibetan.
  • Creation of support for native numerals in Tibetan and Hindi
  • Addition to our YouTube channel of 18 videos of an interview with Geshe Tashi Tsering, resident Buddhist teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London, England, and newly appointed abbot of Sera Mey Monastery, Mundgod, India
  • Editing of 8 videos of an interview with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, renowned teacher and meditation master from the indigenous Bon tradition of Tibet, author of Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
  • Embedding from our YouTube channel 20 subtitled versions of each of the 18 videos of Geshe Tashi Tsering into appropriate website articles in each of our 20 language sections, excluding Tibetan
  • Since YouTube does not support Tibetan subtitles, whereas Vimeo does, creation of a Studybuddhism channel on Vimeo, uploading on it copies of our 191 video files along with Tibetan subtitles into the videos, and embedding the videos into the appropriate articles in our Tibetan section
  • Video recording of an interview with Tsultrim Allione, accomplished feminist teacher from the Karma Kagyu lineage, best-selling author of Women of Wisdom, Feeding Your Demons and Dakini Power
  • Video recording of an interview with Dr. Donald M. Broom, Professor Emeritus of Animal Welfare, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge
  • Video recording of an interview with Dr. Murray Corke, animal welfare clinical teacher and Zen teacher, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge
  • Translation of 536 subtitle files into our various languages
  • Translation of 211 articles into our various languages
  • Transcription of 15 lectures of Dr. Berzin
  • Updating the titles of 851 audio files of Dr. Berzin’s weekend seminars, distributing them into albums and playlists in preparation for migration to our Studybuddhism Sound Cloud channel, and indicating the urls for the website articles in which they will be embedded
  • Examining 3,780 unpublished, unedited English articles, translations and transcripts of Dr. Berzin, selecting 1,730 for future editing and publication on the website, and fitting them into the article structure of the site
  • Improvement of the sitemap generator
  • Updating of our logo
  • Implementation of the first stage of performance optimization of the website, particularly concerning the speed of the site
  • Implementation of the first stage of search engine optimization of the website

All of this hard work is made possible by your continuing generous support. Together, we shall “Make the Ageless Wisdom of Tibet Available to All.”

Links:

Sep 11, 2018

Berzin Archives Report: July through Sept 2018

Dr. Berzin with Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche
Dr. Berzin with Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche

During the past three months, we have continued to make steady progress in migrating the remaining material from our previous website, berzinarchives.com, to the newly designed studybuddhism.com. This material includes languages, such as Urdu, West (Shahmukhi) Punjabi and Tibetan, that use alphabets and scripts that are rare on the Internet. Because of that, the open source platform we use to generate the website lacks the standard support for them that it provides for more common languages, like Spanish and French. But I am delighted to report that our expert technical team has successfully met this challenge and created the missing elements needed to make our material available on a truly global level.

Meanwhile, our audience continues to grow. Over the summer, when people are on vacation, visits to the website always are lower. Nevertheless, this summer we had almost 200,000 visits, up 15% from last year. Add to that, compared to last quarter, our following on Facebook is up over 8% to 26,000 and on YouTube up 23% to 5,800. Our videos posted on Facebook alone have been viewed more than 360,000 times. These are good indicators that people are benefiting from all our team’s hard work.

Let me share with you what they’ve accomplished this summer:

  • Migration and publication of our Farsi (Persian) and Urdu sections
  • Migration and partial construction of our West Punjabi section
  • Addition to our YouTube channel of 18 videos from an interview with Dr. Chönyi Taylor, Tibetan Buddhist nun and psychologist specializing in addiction treatment, author of Enough!: A Buddhist Approach to Finding Release from Addictive Patterns
  • Addition to our YouTube channel of 21 videos from an interview with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, renowned Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and teacher of the Kagyu-Nyingma traditions, author of the best-selling book The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness
  • Editing of 18 videos of an interview with Geshe Tashi Tsering, resident Buddhist teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London, England, and newly appointed abbot of Sera Mey Monastery, Mundgod, India
  • Video-recording of an interview with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, renowned teacher and meditation master from the indigenous Bon tradition of Tibet, author of Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep
  • Video-recording of an interview with Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche, spiritual head of the Drikung Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Translation of 489 subtitle files into our various languages
  • Translation of 187 articles into our various languages
  • Creation of custom open source Arabic/Persian/Urdu/West Punjabi transliterators for generating urls in these languages. We have made these available for the general IT community.
  • Creation of support for native numerals in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and West Punjabi
  • Creation of support for the Nastaliq font used for Urdu and West Punjabi
  • Addition of a “bookmark” feature to bring readers back to the place they left off in an article when they return
  • Addition of separate Sitemap pages in all our languages
  • Addition of a back-to-top button.

All of this hard work is made possible by your continuing generous support. Together, we shall “Make the Ageless Wisdom of Tibet Available to All.”

Links:

Jun 14, 2018

Berzin Archives Report: April through June 2018

Yonghegong Temple, Beijing, China
Yonghegong Temple, Beijing, China

During this second quarter of 2018, we have continued the exciting transformation of our previous website, berzinarchives.com, into the newly designed studybuddhism.com. We have now successfully migrated more than 88% of our over 7,000 articles, spanning 17 of our 21 language sections. Throughout the migration process, we have continued expanding the content of all our language sections with a steady flow of newly translated articles. Before we complete the migration with the remaining four languages, our technical team has now begun the complex process of simplifying and unifying the code for the data base that generates the website. This will enable the system to process more efficiently the website’s continually expanding content and enhance its speed.

Many people these days prefer to learn through visual means. To meet their needs, we’ve also continued enhancing the articles by embedding more video clips, subtitled in all our languages. These clips, prepared by our outstanding video team, are from interviews with many of the most prominent Tibetan and Western teachers from all the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. This way, we’ve been providing a multimedia-rich user experience for our over 3,500 visitors to the site each day.

Complementing our website, we’ve been continuing to expand our social media presence, in tune with the enthusiastic response of our followers. We now have almost 24,000 followers on Facebook and over 4,700 subscribers to our YouTube channel. The videos we’ve been promoting on Facebook have been receiving up to 164,000 views and the photos up to 43,000 likes.

Have a look at what we’ve accomplished these last three months:

  • Migration and publication of our Arabic section, having resolved all the technical issues involved in switching our complex layout and format to operate smoothly from right to left
  • Addition of code to the language sections, so that their structures operate independently of each other
  • Manual redirection of over 2,000 urls from the old site to urls on the new one that could not be done through an automated script – enabling search engines to correctly connect users to the articles they’re seeking
  • Addition to our YouTube channel of 18 videos from an interview with Geshe Lhakdor, Director of the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, Dharamsala, India
  • Editing of 18 videos from an interview with Dr. Chönyi Taylor, Tibetan Buddhist nun and psychologist specializing in addiction treatment
  • Video-recording of an interview with Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, renowned Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and teacher of the Kagyu-Nyingma traditions, author of the best-selling book The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness
  • Video-recording of an interview with Geshe Tashi Tsering, resident Buddhist teacher at Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London, England, and newly appointed abbot of Sera Mey Monastery, Mundgod, India
  • Video-recording of an interview with Tashi Mannox, internationally-acclaimed Tibetan artist and calligrapher.
  • Translation of 472 subtitle files into our various languages, with the embedding of them in their video files and in our website articles an ongoing process
  • Translation of 163 articles into our various articles

All this progress by our 55-person-strong team is made possible through the help of your continuing support. Join us in our epic journey to “Make the Ageless Wisdom of Tibet Available to All.”

Links:

 
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