The Buddhist eLibrary is an initiative of Buddhanet.net, run by the Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc. (BDEA), which is located at the Bodhi Tree Forest Monastery, NSW Australia, currently in partnership with Mahachulalongkorn University, International Buddhist College (IBC), and the Buddhist Maha Vihara (BMV).
Primarily, the eLibrary is a Digital Resource Library of Buddhist study material that can be freely downloaded via the World Wide Web. Further, as it expands, it aims to develop a web-based interactive learning environment to disseminate the Teachings of the Buddha Dharma.
Its policy is to support the globalisation of Buddhist education and the systematic development of Dharma based pedagogy by establishing partnerships with Buddhist institutions worldwide. The eLibrary follows the principle of 'One Dharma', that is, promoting all Buddhist traditions and the diversity of cultures and languages they represent.
Buddhist eLibrary Objectives:
Develop a Digital Resource Library - in a MSQL database, being a repository of Buddhist content, including text, audio, artwork, and video clips in all traditions, which can be freely downloaded from the Net.
Teaching the Buddha Dharma Online - using the Learning Management System (LMS) ‘Claroline’, which is used for teaching and learning on the Internet through a web browser.
Buddhist eLearning System - creating online Buddhist Studies that organize study material into a graduated course of study. Three streams of study to follow: the Historical Buddha, His Teachings, and Buddhist History and Culture. The material can range from introductory teachings and texts to advance scriptural and meditation texts as web pages, PDF documents, audio and video clips. The LMS has inbuilt web-interactively that allows for Forums, Chat, Wiki, Skype, Blogs, and Emails, etc.
Online Buddhist Teacher Training - a Teaching Training Programme would have the students doing online research using online Buddhist Studies Guides, which can be vetted online - culminating in a face-to-face examination by a panel of experts: an educationalist, a qualified Dharma teacher, and a psychologist.
By cooperative arrangements with Buddhist Educational Institutions formalised by ‘Partnership Agreements’. In this way, resources can be shared, ie, people with IT expertise, digital content, and regular funding, which is the rationale of the Buddhist eLibrary Project.
What Has Happened So Far (September 2007)
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Secured a server in the USA through the ISP Exabytes;
The domain name – www.buddhistelibrary.org (also ‘com’,’net’);
Set up a MSQL database on the server;
Have put up a graphical front page (with a sampling of content)
Set up an Buddhist eLearning Studies System on the server;
Made ‘Partnership Agreements’ between Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc (BuddhaNet), Mahachulalongkorn University the International Buddhist College and the Buddhist Maha Vihara.
Immediate Work Plan
BuddhaNet will soon post much of its digital material, eBooks, artwork, audio files, etc
Collect currently available digital content from other Buddhist organisations, e.g. the Singapore Buddhist Library.
Develop an up-to-date Directory of Buddhist Studies, at all levels, primary, secondary and tertiary - both online and ‘bricks and mortar’ institutions.
Develop online interactive eLearning Buddhist Studies courses using the open source software ‘Claroline’
Invite Buddhist Studies students and academics to post their dissertations online
Set up a catalogue system, e.g. ‘Web log’.
Use ‘Mind Map’ software, which will diagrammatical illustrate the eLibrary content.
1. Assist Buddhist organisations to convert their existing Dharma material - either text or audiotape – into quality digital content.
HOW? By running practical workshops and training young monks and nuns to this end. We hope eventually to set up a multimedia-training centre to do this work at BuddhaNet’s new home, the Bodhi Tree Forest Monastery, Tullera, NSW near Lismore, Australia.
2. Translating existing Dharma material into a variety of languages.
HOW? This requires the pooling of skills and bringing together interested people and/or organisations - with perhaps the need for financial incentives to support this work.
3. The implementation of a community based real time Calendar of Events - Notice Board (by regions, traditions and date of events).
HOW? Using the existing database we can set up online forms that allows organisations worldwide to post their teachings and events. For example, see BuddhaNet’s World Buddhist Directory database: http://www.buddhanet.net/wbd/
4. Develop a web-based interactive learning environment.
HOW? This is now achievable with the widespread use of broadband. The eLibrary partners would need to cooperate with material using a learning management system, such as Claroline or other open source software.
5. Develop Buddhist Multimedia content.
HOW? This is even more ambitious as it requires high-end resources and skilled people. But using the Net’s ubiquitous multimedia software ‘Flash’ makes it an affordable option. See the example of BuddhaNet’s Multimedia collection: http://www.buddhanet.net/multimedia.htm
How is the eLibrary being organised?
It is organised on a partnership basis with other Buddhist institutions. The eLibrary partners have their own section on the server where they can develop their own content or alternatively the partner can pool some or all of their content on the main section of the server in the public domain.
Also it can be arranged that the main site be mirrored on a partner’s server using a sub domain URL, e.g. www.yourname.buddhistelibrary.org
The funding and maintenance cost for the Buddhist eLibrary project is through a ‘Partnership Agreement’ where a monthly contribution is made.
- Who is running the eLibrary? Staff and volunteers from BuddhaNet.net are currently maintaining the server and its database.
- Where is the funding coming from? The eLibrary partners will contribute a monthly amount for the maintenance of the site. Thus allowing it to be free for end users.
- Where will the digital content be sourced? Buddhist organisations and the eLibrary partners as well as online users.
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR THE BUDDHIST E-LIBRARY PROJECT
Buddha Dharma Education Association
78 Bentley Road, Tullera, via Lismore NSW AUSTRALIA
Telephone: +612 6628 2426
Webmaster: Ven Pannyavaro <firstname.lastname@example.org>