Berzin Archives Year End Report 2010

Dr. Alexander Berzin
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As the year draws to an end, I want to thank every one of you who has helped contribute to the continuing growth and success of the Berzin Archives project. Through your hard work and support, we have continued to be the largest provider of authentic, free-of-charge information about Tibetan Buddhism and culture on the Internet.

The past year has seen the largest annual growth in the nine years that we have been online. Let me share with you some of the exciting details. In 2010, we added our French, Arabic and Urdu sections, so that now the website is available in nine languages – English, German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, French, Arabic and Urdu – with all of them complete with internal search engines and almost totally accessible to the blind. I am especially delighted that, with the groundbreaking launch of our Arabic and Urdu sections, we have been able to contribute to fulfilling His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s wishes to reach out to the Islamic audience to help foster religious harmony and mutual understanding.

In the course of the year, we have had nearly 0.8 million visits to the site from 213 countries and territories and nearly 2.25 million items read (87%) or listened to (13%). This represents a 36% increase in visitors and 39% increase in items accessed since the end of 2009. The main sources of our visitors have been USA 26%, Germany 10.7%, Russia 10.2%, Brazil 4.3%, Great Britain 3.5%, Canada 2.4%, and China 2.3%.

In the last year, through the tireless work of our 63 active team members, the website contents have grown by 23.1%, with the addition of 458 new items (241 written articles, 81 audio transcripts, and 136 audio files). We now have a total of 2034 written items and 703 audio items online.

Not everything that has been done this past year is online yet. Translations need to be edited and edited versions of unpublished material in my archives need to be copyedited. New audio files need to be not only edited but, if bilingual, an English only version needs to be separated out. New audio transcripts need to be proofread and copyedited, especially so that we can meet the needs of our deaf visitors. We have made great progress in all these areas, but more is left to be done.

In addition, we hope this coming year to get our simplified and traditional character Chinese sections online. We already have 98 articles translated into Chinese that need editing and more are in preparation. Our technical team is already working on the challenges presented by this next addition.

As for our audio files, a great deal of work awaits us for the coming year. We have 55 audio files needing editing and possible separation of an English only version, 248 unedited audio files of weekly classes separated into English and bilingual English-German files ready to go online, 300 audio transcripts needing proofreading and 75 proofread audio transcripts needing copyediting.

Our various language teams have been busy compiling glossaries and adding terms into the internal web glossary application that our technical team has developed. This wiki-style tool enables our translators to maintain consistency in terminology and, eventually, will enable us to generate online glossaries automatically in all our languages. The glossary contains three sections: technical terms, proper names, and text titles. Altogether, the data base for these glossaries now contains 13,179 terms.​

In addition, we have integrated into our system 1197 technical terms from Jeffrey Hopkins English terminology, which now appear both in our online glossary and in the popup windows within the articles. We are also in the process of moving to a larger and speedier server in order to meet the needs of our ever-growing traffic.

There are many more exciting plans that we have in mind and, of course, still only about one-third of the English material in my archives has been worked on.

To maintain the website and sustain work on the Berzin Archives project not only for the next year, but, more importantly, on a secure long-term basis, will require considerable personnel and financial resources. We are continuing our efforts to find this much needed support; but, with your continuing help, I am confident that we will succeed in fulfilling the hopes of so many.

Thank you once more and I wish you all a healthy and happy holiday season and new year.