Integrating Digital Archives and Information Technologies for Building a Digital Research Environment
Following introduction of Buddhism to China, a vast body of Buddhist texts accumulated as time passed. Through an extended period of translation, language thus evolved. These texts not only became valuable data for research on the complexity of Buddhist thoughts and historical development of Buddhism, but also raised a great number of textual questions. Traditional philological work often requires extensive textual comparisons, which is labor-intensive and time consuming. To aid in the effort of scholars to overcome these difficulties and enable them to engage in a larger scale of studies, we designed an integrated digital research platform which willconsist of the compilation of existing scriptural materials and various digital tools. We plan to equip the platform with the following features within two years:
- A complete collection of digitized scriptures for accessible and comparative research.
- A complete collection of various historical Chinese catalogues of Buddhist texts to provide crucial background information.
- A dictionary on characters, names and locations.
- Statistical information which facilitate analysis and comparison.
- Tools to analyze various translation errors that have accumulated over centuries, including incorrect characters, missing words, etc.
This multifaceted project is divided into three sub-projects, with the main objective to utilise new digital techniques to build a “Digital Research Environment for Humanistic Studies”. With Humanities Information as core of the project, each sub-project has its own theme and goal, but also supports the development of other project, which together as high quality virtual archives and research platform.