Modern Technology – Ancient Wisdom
The Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center (TBRC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to seeking out, preserving, organizing, and disseminating Tibetan literature. Joining digital technology with scholarship, TBRC ensures that the ancient wisdom and cultural treasures of the Tibetan literary tradition are not lost, but are made available for future generations.
TBRC was founded in 1999 by the late E. Gene Smith, the extraordinary scholar and archivist who is revered by the spiritual leaders of Tibetan Buddhism, and by scholars of Tibetan and related area-studies around the world.
Today, the TBRC Library contains more than 9,615 works (25,115 volumes totaling over ten million digital pages), making this online repository the most extensive collection of Tibetan literature that has ever existed in one place.
Each year between 500,000 and 1,000,000 additional pages of text are scanned and added to our digital library.
Thanks to the kind support of our patrons, as of 2016, we at TBRC have:
- Sustained a network of affiliated scholars and collaborators who are committed to our goals and contribute to the TBRC Library.
- Maintained a diverse, talented and dedicated staff of American, Tibetan, Indian, Bhutanese and Nepali scholars, librarians, engineers, and technicians.
- Entered more than 500,000 bibliographic, biographic, and geographic documents and mapped them to texts in the library.
- Supported 8,017 active user accounts in 127 countries; the TBRC library supported 153,000 user sessions in 2015.
- Scanned and made accessible over 10,605,000 pages of Tibetan texts, more than 20,800 volumes.
- Made accessible over 99,700 eText pages of Tibetan texts.
- Distributed the library to universities and monasteries all over the world.
Preservation, Organization and Access
Since its inception, TBRC has worked to scan, organize, and make available Tibetan literature. What began as Smith’s personal collection of texts today includes many other significant collections from disparate locations around the world. In addition to preserving and bringing together these fragmented collections, TBRC continues to develop advanced cataloging systems that capture and bring to light the breadth and depth of Tibetan literature.
Since no definitive methodology (historical or modern) exists for organizing Tibetan literature on this scale, developing organizational systems to provide comprehensive access to these texts and their contents is an ongoing part of our work.
The TBRC Library uses innovative knowledge models that mirror Smith’s groundbreaking intellectual approach to the study of Tibetan literature, but which also utilizes contemporary library science modalities. Thus the library reflects an understanding of the contents informed by Smith’s deep immersion in the indigenous Tibetan knowledge base, delivered in a cutting-edge digital library system.
Fundamentally, Gene Smith believed that Tibetan literature should be made available, free of charge, to all who are interested in it. TBRC continually works to embody this vision.
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