Due to the political turmoil of the 1950s and 60s, the wealth of Tibetan literature (over 100,000 texts), was scattered destroyed or lost. In order to preserve and restore the Tibetan texts that remain, there is a major effort in place to create a digital library. This ambitious project was initiated by the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center under the guidance of scholar Gene Smith. Based on over 30 years of work by Gene Smith, the project to complete a digital library is now a major endeavor that involves the cooperative efforts of three organizations – The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center, Khyentse Foundation and Palri Parkhang – Glorious Mountain Printery. (To see a short video on this project click on this link, or on the images.)
Major book scanning ventures are making the news a lot these days, especially, Google’s “moon shot” – their project to “scan every book ever published, and to make the full texts searchable. But, while Google has been focusing on how to scan and make searchable major Western collections, The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center has been overcoming the challenges of scanning and formatting Tibetan pecha texts. The TBRC website, currently, features a large collection of digitalized Tibetan texts available as images on CDs and to universities on-line. TBRC addresses the inadequacies of Western methods of cataloguing through the use of a topical index, and a user-friendly search engine that provide a way to navigate through an immense body of Tibetan literature. TBRC has made 1782 distinct works (some have many volumes) available already.