| Jun 3, 2022
Berzin Archives Report: March through May 2022
By Dr. Alexander Berzin | Founder and Author of Berzin Archives
Buddha statue in Nissankamallapura, Sri Lanka
Over the spring, we’ve been engaged in intense work here at the Berzin Archives headquarters, and we’ve made impressive progress on our Study Buddhism project.
Over the last few months, our various translators, editors, and assistants, who are based all over the world, have prepared over 250 article translations and more than 500 subtitle files. This work, such as that on preparing subtitles for our videos on YouTube, which are also embedded across the website, is proving more and more invaluable for our audience. Over the last three months, 51% of our videos have been watched with subtitles turned on. When compared with the 29% of videos watched with subtitles during the same period in 2021, it is heartening to see that our hard work is going to good use. Meanwhile, the videos themselves continue to perform well. During March, April, and May, we had over 340,000 views of our videos on YouTube, which is a 25% increase from the previous three months. This was in part due to great interest in our interview with Venerable Thupten Ngodup, the medium of the Nechung Oracle, the Chief State Oracle of Tibet, which we released at the end of April. Engagement on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has also been increasing steadily as we post more specific content, not only more frequently but in formats suited to each platform. All in all, over the last three months, our content has been seen more than 3.8 million times on the social media platforms we use.
We have worked hard over the last few years to create a rich resource which is as accessible as possible – to people of all backgrounds, cultures, and abilities. And this work continues now. We are very excited to announce that we have a new project: the creation of beautiful, read-out-loud versions of our articles. As usual, we like to make use of current technologies, and so the articles have not been read out loud by a human, but by ultra-realistic AI-generated voices. These recordings will be of great use to our visually impaired audience, and also to those who simply want to listen to articles about Buddhist wisdom on their journeys to and from work. You will see some of these recordings pop up in the Essentials section over the next few weeks and months, so please do take a look and share with your family and friends!
You’ll find all the details of what we’ve been up to in the bulleted list below. Here are some of our accomplishments over these last three months:
- Preparation and publication of 251 translations into our various languages
- Preparation and addition of 4 new English articles
- Preparation of 10 further parts of “Details of Karma,” containing extensive translations of Sanskrit and Tibetan primary sources
- Copyediting of 20 English transcripts and files
- The creation of 527 subtitle files in our 32 languages, for use on our YouTube channel
- Preparation and addition of the third set of new descriptions and abstracts in English, completing the task of providing them for all our articles
- Preparation and addition started of translations of the new descriptions and abstracts into our various languages
- Expansion of the Spanish glossary to more than 1000 terms
- Preparation of a working list of all articles already having and those still needing images
- Editing of 13 videos of our interview with Venerable Thupten Ngodup, the medium of Nechung, the Chief State Oracle of Tibet.
- English translation of the interview with Venerable Thupten Ngodup based on a thorough editing of the Tibetan transcript.
- The subtitling in Tibetan and English, and addition to the Study Buddhism YouTube channel of the above-mentioned interview clips with Venerable Thupten Ngodup.
- English translation of the interview about Kalachakra with Jhado Rinpoche – retired Abbot of both His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Namgyal Monastery and Gyuto Upper Tantric College – based on a thorough editing of the Tibetan transcript.
- Video interview with Dr. Philippe Goldin – professor of cognitive-affective neuroscience at UC Davis and consultant at Google – about the neuroscience studies conducted on meditation
- Creation of AI-generated ultra-realistic text-to-speech audio files for 30 articles from our Essentials section
- Preparation of 12 different video clips and uploading them to social media channels. Each video was prepared for posting on Facebook with 32 language subtitles, on Twitter with embedded English subtitles and a maximum length of 2 minutes and 20 seconds, and on Instagram and TikTok at 9:16 format with embedded English subtitles.
- Preparation of 12 quotes taken from our video interviews and other sources from the website, accompanied with graphics, and the uploading of these to social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).
- Preparation of 12 article posts for our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) along with introductions.
- Creation and design of User Accounts for the website, including pages for signing up, signing in, authentication of emails and passwords, “remember me” function, utility functions for serializing the user into a cookie and retrieving the password from the cookie, locking function of an account after a specified number of failed sign-in attempts and unlocking it after a specific time period, forgotten password, sending email with reset password instructions, and changing the Study Buddhism Google email configuration to send emails from the studybuddhism.com domain.
- On User Accounts pages, automatically creating favorite lists for every user, require sign in or sign up to accesses account page, logout link, user image taken from Gravatar service if available, feature for editing user profile, links for saved (bookmarked) articles, and features for creating and managing custom lists
- Addition of account and bookmark icons on all pages of the website, ability to save an article to the user account after clicking on the bookmark icon
- Testing and debugging of all the above features of User Accounts before deployment on the website.
- Fixing and maintenance of various issues with our content management system.
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.”