(Latest from Jayadvaita Swami’s website)

Submitted by jswami on June 17, 2009 – 3:19pm The BBT has a lot of valuable stuff—books, manuscripts, letters, photos, paintings, audio, videos, and more, some of it in the Bhaktivedanta Archives, some of it elsewhere. A lot of it is in digital form, some of it not.
Following the model for an Open Archival Information System, the BBT has begun a “Digital Repository” project.

Among its purposes:

  • To put all the BBT’s stuff (as far as possible) into an up-to-date digital form, with suitable “metatags” to help in finding things.
  • To archive all the stuff in one digital repository—one digital “box” (of course with backups).
  • To keep all of Srila Prabhupada’s books in digital files we can supply to printers for publishing or use for ebooks and other formats.
  • To provide a free, open-source, up-to-date replacement for the Folio VedaBase, both online and for personal computers (Windows, Mac, Linux, and so on).

Pancharatna Dasa is coordinating the project, greatly assisted by Sarva Thulasingam, a devotee in the Seattle area who works as an engineer for Microsoft.

They have decided to host the repository using DSpace, the open-source software platform most widely used by libraries and research institutions for purposes like ours.

Here’s a diagram showing what a DSpace repository is about.

Customizing our DSpace repository for our needs and getting all the stuff into it is a big job.
Here are some of the tasks for which we could use help right now:

  • uploading various kinds of content as experiments
  • designing XML schema (incorporating Dublin core metadata and complying with open eBook standards)
  • writing a simple program to parse existing files, which encode diacritics and Devanagari with old standards, and convert them to Unicode
  • figuring out a good taxonomy for content to be placed into the repository
  • modifying CSS stylesheets for a custom look and feel

If you’re tech-savvy and would like to volunteer your help, please email

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