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What is the EBTI?

The EBTI is an open, expanding liaison group, comprised primarily of representatives of academic institutions and Buddhist clerical organizations from around the world. EBTI members have a common interest in meeting the new challenges, and taking advantage of the new opportunities presented with the advent of the electronic age into the area of humanistic studies.

The EBTI was started with the main focus of sharing information, and providing a system of organization for the task of inputting Buddhist canonical text collections. Over a short period of time however, it has rapidly widened in scope in response to the growing need to deal with a wide range of issues connected with the input, preservation, organization and access of digital research data for use in the humanities fields.

While projects of the EBTI are quite diverse in content, delegates to EBTI meetings have shared a number of common specific interests, mainly the desire to use digital media as a vastly superior means for categorizing, searching, retrieving and analyzing "texts" (to be understood in both traditional and postmodern senses of the word), both for use by scholars in their research, and for religious organizations who seek to preserve and disseminate their teachings. There also many instances where digitization is far more than a matter of mere convenience, as there are a number of projects whose intentions are to use digital media as a means to preserve perishable material documents and images.

The attempt to engage in this work of transference of information in and out of the digital media brings with it a broad range of new problems, which require careful, well-coordinated solutions, without which the work of digitization can quickly turn into a quagmire of incompatible platforms, codes, categorization systems, unnecessarily repeated work and so on.

It was with the solution of these sorts of concerns in mind, that the EBTI was first convened at a small informal meeting at UC Berkeley in 1992, with 16 persons meeting at the home of Lew Lancaster. This has been followed by a more or less annual sequence of meetings, each of which marks a clear development in both scope and sophisticated digital projects. If you or your institution is involved in a related digital project, or is considering the possibility of starting such a project, we will be happy to have you come and attend, and even present, at one of our conferences. We are also able to offer advice to such prospective projects by e-mail communication, etc. without necessarily having met at one of our meetings. Please refer to the contact list on the top page of this site.