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A Report on the Fourth Meeting of the Electronic Buddhist Text Initiative

The Fourth Meeting of the Electronic Buddhist Text Initiative (EBTI) was convened from October 23-26, at Otani University, Kyoto, Japan, in the midst of the beautiful autumn Kyoto weather. It was the group's largest meeting to date, with 162 delegates registering and 15 nations represented, up considerably from the prior meeting in 1996 in Taipei.


Along with the increase in number of attendees and presenters, was a clearly observable widening in the variety of types of projects, along with increasing sophistication in applications of technology. While the presentation types varied between textual, lexicographical, photographic, audio-visual, database and cartographic (and most presentations included a combination of some, or even all of these types), they all had in common a few vital points. These include (1) the usage of digital media as a means to preserve perishable material objects; (2) the usage of digital media as a vastly superior means of categorizing, searching, and retrieving "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.

Protocol of Presentations of the Fourth Meeting of the EBTI

Thursday, October 23


Digitization of Chinese Buddhist Texts Urs App, International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism (IRIZ), Hanazono University, Kyoto, Japan

Urs App, one of the pioneers in the work of the digital input and standardization of CJK Buddhist textual materials offered a fascinating video presentation of the history and overview of the phenomenon of digitization of Chinese Buddhist texts, allowing us to see just how far we have come in the relatively short history of this endeavor. He related for us the circumstances of the first encounters with the problems of missing characters, incompatible codes, Optical Character Recognition, etc. We found out what has been solved over the course of the last decade or so, and what has not. Urs also related for us some of the anecdotal background relevant to the early formation of the EBTI. Urs' Zen text input project at Hanazono University, the most advanced in the world in terms of Web availability, is still moving along at a high rate of progress.

Glyph Database of the Han Character C.C. Hsieh, Institute of Information Science, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

Dr. Hsieh is one of the world's leading experts on the matter of digitizing Han characters. As long-time head of the Chinese text input project at Academia Sinica, he has been forced to deal with in depth with the matter of incompatible encodements and missing characters, and in the course of this work, has developed an extensive database of Han (CJK) characters. He is presently working, in conjunction with Dr. Tetsuya Katsumura of Kyoto university, on a large project aimed at the development of a system of pan-East Asian encodement, which would, while being compatible with Unicode, offer a systematic method for the inclusion of new characters, based on clearly defined principles derived from the etymological history of the characters. Dr. Hsieh introduced his project, including the development of his glyph database.

Unicode Issues for Input of Chinese Texts Michael Murray, Computer Administration, Hsi Lai University, Rosemead, California USA

Michael recounted very clearly the problems encountered by someone who "simply wanted to produce a Zen prayer book" (in his case, the Lotus Sutra) on the computer. His presentation focussed chiefly on the technical difficulties involved in existing ways of handling complex character sets, and went into some detail about the extent to which these were handled by existing databases like those presented by other EBTI-experts, and in the new Unicode standard.

SMART Project and WWW Databases of Chinese Buddhist Texts Christian Wittern, Goettingen University, Germany

Christian Wittern is also one of the major pioneers of CJK encoding issues, a matter in regard to which he developed considerable expertise during his years working in the IRIZ project at Hanazano University. Christian's work has continued to tread in the area of providing non-proprietary solutions to matters such as code incompatibilities and missing characters, especially in conjunction with the input and retrieval of CJK canonical Buddhist texts. Christian introduced some of his more recent work, most important of which is the development of a CJK Buddhist texts database. Christian is looking toward the implementation of the relevant aspects of Unicode, SGML and TEI in the eventual creation of a comprehensive web-accessible database. On this day, he gave us a demonstration of his prototype database of CJK scriptural canons. Christian also discussed a number of broad issues related to the matter of the interchange of CJK data, markup and encoding.


TEI Structure Lou Burnard, Oxford University Computing Services, United Kingdom

Lou Burnard, one of the world's leading experts on the implementation of TEI and SGML described some basic encoding principles relating to the task of text markup. Mr. Burnard used as an example a transcription of a passage of Beowulf, showing how this could be encoded either to represent the actual appearance of the manuscript source, or to represent the structure read into the text by a skilled scholar. He was then joined by Lew Lancaster for a wide-ranging discussion about various matters related to markup, TEI and SGML.

Round Table Discussion Chaired by John Lehman, Director, Office of International Programs, University of Alaska, Fairbanks USA

This open discussion picked up and carried on from a number of the issues raised in the preceding presentations. For what reason were texts put into digital form? Uses might include research, teaching, distribution, preservation, or more than one of these. Conversion between different digital formats was relatively easy, but each format or encoding scheme made explicit one view of what the text might be. At the most basic, it was necessary to encode information about a text distinct from the text itself: the TEI recommended that this be done in a TEI Header which acted as the analogue to the title page on a conventional printed book. At a further level, it was desirable and possible to mark up the basic structural divisions of texts, using a canonical reference scheme so that units from one tradition might be collated with corresponding units from another. At a further level still, it might be advantageous to distinguish proper names and technical terms from surrounding text. Identification and markup of such textual features might well be automated or semi-automated; however, as soon as other more detailed information was to be represented, the work could only be done manually. Examples of such advanced markup discussed included analyses based on particular theories, hyperlinking from one reference point to another, re-ordering of components within a narrative, and syntactic or other forms of linguistic analysis.

Friday, October 24

This day's activities were preceded by a welcome address from Prof. Ichijo Ogawa, Dean of Faculty at Otani University. Prof. Ogawa congratulated EBTI delegates on the fruits of their work thus far, and offered his encouragement for the future development of digital resources in the world of Buddhist Studies.


Visualize Database for Tripitaka Koreana Chongnim Sunim, Hae-in Monastery, Korea

At the last EBTI meeting the delegates from Haein-sa had brought us the momentous news of the completion of the input of the entire Korean Buddhist canon into digital format, which they had in turn made available on a single CD-ROM. That stage of the project however, was not final, as issues of usability still remained. The two most pressing were (1) the need to use proprietary Korean software to access the documents and (2) the lack of an efficient search method. Since that time, they have attempted to solve the problem of searching by employing an independent software contractor to develop a search engine. This program has been developed to a certain extent, but still needs further work, as seen by the difficulties in carrying out their planned demonstration. The Haein-sa Tripitaka Koreana nonetheless remains the most advanced single project in the digitization of CJK canons.

Archive Database for Choson Dynasty Buddhist Historical Records (an Archive database for modern period (1860-1960) Buddhist historical records.) Bon'gak Sunim, Jogye Sangha College, Seoul, Korea

This archive is based on the private research notes of the scholar Lee Hansong. After Mr. Lee's passing away, it was placed in the UC Berkeley library through the efforts of Prof. Lancaster. These were subsequently brought back to Korea, where the project run by the Ven. Bon'gak archived them in digital format and created a database to allow for their handling. The Ven. Bon'gak explained for us how the archive came to be placed into digital format, and then proceeded to offer a demonstration of the search function of the database.

Buddhist Philosophical Text Input Shoryu Katsura, Hiroshima University, Japan

This collection has been developed gradually since over a decade ago, when computers were first introduced to humanities studies at the University of Hiroshima. The input has been done on an unplanned basis as the by-product of the research project (Sanskrit materials) of individual scholars. Some of the more extensive collections include the works of Jñānaśrimitra, Ratnakirti, Dharmakīrti, the Bauddha-nyāya-kośa Raj, as well as the Sanskrit research materials of Dr. Ono. Now, in turning this into a formal, systematic input project, Dr. Katsura would like to start with the works of Dignāga. He is also, concomitant with this input work, interested in creating a digital dictionary of Sanskrit Buddhist terms, especially with a view towards gathering terms which have not yet appeared in lexicons. The eventual goal would be the publication of this material as a CD-ROM.

An additional presentation was added here, that by Prof. Hayashima of the University of Nagasaki. His group has been digitizing of selected portions of the Taisho Tripitaka in concordance format (JIS code). They reported on some of the problems encountered in the process, including that of missing characters, and the strategies that they have been using to deal with these problems.

The Construction of the Sanskrit Database for a New Sanskrit Dictionary Jong-cheol Lee, Academy of Korean Studies, Seoul, Korea

Prof. Lee is developing a Sanskrit lexicographical polyglot database which will include mappings among Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese and Korean. The emphasis on this project will be towards electronic (WWWeb), rather than book implementation. It will be an open-ended project, both in terms of the gathering of content and the nature of the arrangement of data. It is hoped that this project will be able to hook up on a hyperlink basis with other related Sanskrit projects, such as that described in the following presentation. Dr. Lee, as head of the project, is currently assisted by three Indian Sanskrit scholars and a Tibetan monk. Please see the project description on the EBTI home page for a list of already completed texts.

Buddhist Sanskrit Text Input Project Lewis Lancaster, University of California, Berkeley USA and Supachai Tangwongsan, Mahidol University, Thailand

As mentioned, this project is already coordinating itself with the above-described project of Jong-cheol Lee in terms of eventual implementation, and the two sharing an input center in India. Lew and Supachai gave us a list of texts already inputted, and demonstrated the sophisticated search engine for romanized Sanskrit, which returns page numbers. The database currently contains approximately 12,000 pages and contains a viewing mechanism allows for a screen-shift to Devanagari script. There are eventual plans for a CD-ROM. Lew also mentioned the fact that he has done an extensive search for Sanskrit materials on the Web and will try to make this information available on his own Web site.

The Chattha Sangayana Tripitaka CD ROM Dr. Dhananjay Chavan, Vipassana Research Institute, India

The Vipassana Research Institute is a Vipassana meditation organization committed to the spread of the dhamma who are attempting to use digital means. They have compiled scriptural texts on a CD-ROM, which are viewable in three script formats: Myanmarese, Devanagari and Roman. Their program allows for keyword search, simple navigation through documents and a sophisticated search engine which works in all three script formats. Input is not complete, but is steadily progressing. New typescripts are also planned.

BUDSIR for WINDOWS and BUDSIR in Thai Translation Version (Buddhist Scriptures Information Retrieval) Dr. Supachai Tangwongsan, Computing Center, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Thanks to the rare combination of technical expertise and personal devotion in the person of this project's supervisor, Dr. Supachai Tangwongsan, this is probably the most sophisticated digital Buddhist canon presently available in within the EBTI group. Supachai gave a history of the project (which has already passed through a number of stages), which was followed by a demonstration of the CD-ROM. They have now installed a complete Thai translation of the Pali Canon on CD-ROM and have included a new search engine. With a smooth and user-friendly search, the text can display in five kinds of script, with numerous possibilities in terms of simultaneous multi-script, interlinked displays. Another multimedia aspect of the program allows for study of the text along with related pictures.


Publication and preservation of Tibetan texts Lew Lancaster and Hahn Tuan, UC Berkeley, California.

Lew and the Ven. Hahn Tuan pinch-hit for Tony Duff and Leigh Brassington of the Drukpa Kagyu Heritage Project (Kathmandu, Nepal). They reported upon the technical developments of that project, such as the connection of Tibetan texts to a dictionary for lookup.

The Asian Classic Input Project (ACIP): 100,000 Pages of On-line Classical Buddhist Texts and Reference Material Robert Chilton, Asian Classics Input Project, New York USA

Robert filled us in on progress of this ongoing project since his last report in Taipei. ACIP, which began their input of Tibetan Buddhist canonical materials over ten years ago, has now input over 100,000 pages, with the rate of input steadily increasing. Most recent of their accomplishments, is the completion and distribution of a CD-ROM which includes the St. Petersburg Catalog. Their goals include the digitizing of all Tibetan Buddhist texts along with commentaries, which includes the location and cataloging of important texts and the dissemination of materials for scholarly use. They have recently developed a basic user interface, including search functions.

The Otani Tibetan Project Dr. S. Miyashita, Otani University, Kyoto Japan

Prof. Imaeda, the original founder of this project, originally faced with the problem of the total lack of a Tibetan platform, worked together with Apple to develop a language kit. The main programmer at Apple who worked with them on this project is still helping. They have, as a result of the establishment of this basic platform, developed a catalog of Buddhist texts, searchable with a Mac-based database program. In seeking a way to combine the various Tibetan collections to create a critical edition, they have needed to develop a program that is a type of hybrid word processor and database, which allows for automated markup. In this effort, they have received support from Prof. Fukuda of Toyo Bunkyo University, who has created a few utilities: 1) a Tibetan-Roman script converter; 2) A search and text comparison tool and 3) A database, which is an extension of the popular Mac database app named 4D, which allows for sophisticated sort functions.

Electronic Catalogues of the Tibetan and Mongolian Collections of Buryatia Tsymzhit Vanchikova, Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Xylographs Institute of Mongolian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of sciences, Ulan Ude, Buryatia

Dr. Vanchikova, a first-time presenter at the EBTI, offered us a rare view into the efforts to collect, categorize and digitize the rich repository of Mongolian and Tibetan Buddhist documents which are unique not only to the Buryat region, but to the world academic community. Although many works have been lost during the period of religious purge in the former USSR, the Oriental library of the institute of Mongolian, Tibetan and Buddhist studies, where she works, possesses one of the largest Asian collections of Tibetan, Mongolian and Buryat xylographs and manuscripts, as well as a collection of Buddhist religious art.

This work is especially vital for reasons of cultural continuity, since, from the time of the establishment of the Soviet Union, Mongolians had been forced to abandon their native language in favor of the Russian cyrillic script. Thus, a major part of their task involves the re-connection of modern Mongolians with their cultural-linguistic heritage. They are presently engaged in the input of the catalogs of both Mongolian and Tibetan texts, taking as a model the techniques used by the Princeton-based Asian Classics Input Project (introduced above).


The Project of Computerizing the Vietnamese Buddhist Canon Ven. Hahn Tuan, University of California, Berkeley/Vietnam

This project was only six-weeks old at the time of the first presentation eighteen months ago. During the interim, the Ven Hahn Tuan has been working to gain support for his project by showing various Vietnamese groups the other CD-ROM canons, such as BUDSIR and the Tripitaka Koreana. He is planning to build a database structure, into which will be included a selection of the best available canonical translations. A dictionary will be embedded into the text of the dictionary through hyperlinks.

Saturday, October 25


The Fo Kuang Shan Buddhist Chinese Dictionary CD ROM Ven. Huiray, Fo Kuang Shan, Taiwan

The Ven. Huiray demonstrated the CD-ROM version of the Fo Kuang Shan dictionary, one of the most extensive CJK Buddhist lexicographical compilations presently available. This electronic dictionary, which was also demonstrated at the Taipei meeting, has a fast and sophisticated search engine, which can be used in conjunction with the on-screen reading and editing of CJK Buddhist texts in Big5 code. The dictionary's user-defined characters have been supplied by Academia Sinica. They are also planning to develop a WWWeb version of the dictionary.

The Usage and Development of Digital Reference Tools in Working with CJK Buddhist Texts: Interlinked CJK and Buddhist CJK Dictionaries Charles Muller, Tōyō Gakuen University, Chiba, Japan

Charles demonstrated the application of his hyperlinked CJK-English and CJK-Buddhist-English hypertext dictionaries, both in terms of search through the Web browser environment and as tools to aid in textual study and editing inside a CJK-supported word processor. Both dictionaries have been significantly enhanced in terms of both content and programming structure since their last presentation at the Taipei meeting.


The Tianhou Temple Project Joseph Bosco, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China

The development of a CD-ROM containing a wide variety of multimedia information, including photos, maps, and audio-video clips. The resource contains detailed information on such things as temple rituals and architecture.

The International Dunhuang Project Susan Whitfield, British Library, London, United Kingdom

Susan Whitfield provided for us a review of the Dunhuang project's history, along with news of more recent developments. The project was founded to promote the study and preservation of pre-twelfth century manuscripts and printed documents. Collection of images, which are databased using the Mac program 4D (relational database). During the past eighteen months, improvements have been made in the functionality and content of the database. Susan gave a demonstration of how they have used this database program to organize the wide range of information such as manuscripts, wherein all the wide range of attributes connected with such a manuscript are readily accessible. Plans for further development include further scanning, linking to other sources and internet availability.

Central Asia/Silk Road Mapping for the Electronic Cultural Atlas Sanjyot Mehendale and Bruce Williams, University of California, Berkeley, USA

The Silk Road group is one of the numerous regional teams working on the atlas. This team is led by Bruce (texts) and Sonjyot (archeology). The inclusion of the Silk Road area in this atlas has special importance, due to the fact that the vast area of Central Asia has heretofore been largely neglected in the course of research in area studies. But because it is an region which is the medium between so many different cultures, the study of it yields much in the way of fascinating information. The map consists of sites, routes and artifacts which are situated as increasingly detailed views. In using the tool, one can go from a view of an entire region to a single room in a house. There is also extensive hyperlinking within the map.

Buddhism in the Aizu Region: An Internet Project Janet Goodwin, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Also known as the Aizu History Project the main focus of this work is on the development of a Web site, which attempts to relate a comprehensive history of Japan from the perspective of the Aizu region in Japan, which Prof. Goodwin understands to be in many ways more typical of the whole of Japan than many of the better-known areas such as Tokyo and Kyoto. The reception of this information site has been exceptionally good, and it is being translated into Korean by Ehwa University. In character, this project is quite similar to that of the above-related cultural atlas project, except that it is much more localized in scale.

Educational Multimedia on Japanese Culture Thomas Price, State University of California-Humbolt USA

Thomas Price once again enthralled the audience with his incredible 3D panoramic photography, put together on his CD-ROM, which is designed primarily as an instructional tool for school children--thus falling firmly in the category of "educational multimedia." Along with the superb photography of temples, gardens and a variety of other scenes of natural beauty, are presentations of demographic information, geography and case studies. The CD also includes numerous audio-video clips rendering sublime natural scenery.

Electronic Access to the Visual Culture of Asia: The Huntington Archive of Buddhist and Related Art and Its Projects Susan Huntington and Jan Glowski Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Jan and Susan conducted a joint presentation of some of the extensive resources of the Huntington archive, which is housed at Ohio State University. Jan's focused on the home page, while Susan presented some examples in slides. The origins of the archive go back to a trip taken to India by Susan and John Huntington in 1969, when they began to photograph everything in sight. Later on, when they returned to India, they noticed that many of the artifacts that they had photographed were no longer in existence, which provided an additional incentive to their project. Since that time they have continued to take photographs all over Asia. In this presentation, Susan paid much of her attention to monuments--many of which are disappearing. After this Jan began her presentation of the Web site, showing some of the content of on-line exhibitions, as well as maps which are used for classroom education. These maps are hyperlinked in the manner of some of the cultural atlases we saw earlier, revealing details of various artifacts (architecture and structures), as well as AV clips.

Image Repositories and Image Presentation on the World Wide Web Thomas Duncan, Museum Infomatics Project, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Thomas' presentation introduced some of the technical problems related to the presentation of images on the web, along with some suggestions for their solution. Quite often high-resolution images can range from 20 MB up to as much as 150 MB, and therefore there are cases when these need to be compressed for actual presentation. There are various groups working to deal with these matters, such as a company called NetImage, located in France. The ISO also has a working group which is dealing with image compression. Kodak has also developed a new image format, called JTIP. One of the prominent new strategies for dealing with image compression is termed "pyramiding and tiling," generally done in five stages. As this technology develops there will always be a distinction between the digital "master image" and the "presentation image." There is also an internet imaging protocol being developed by Hewlett-Packard.

The Newar Buddhist Photographic Documentation Project John C. Huntington, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA

John's presentation was in a sense an extension of that being done by Susan and Jan, since it dealt with projects being undertaken by the Huntington archive. John's presentation however, focused more specifically on a newly initiated project, a photographic documentation of the Kathmandu Valley Newar people of Nepal, for which no systematic documentation project has ever been undertaken. First efforts in the development of this project began during 1994-96, when some 33,000 photos were taken, along with video tapes. Many natives of the region have recognized the importance of this project in maintaining a continuity in their own culture, especially in terms of the value of videotape recordings in preserving local rituals. After explaining this background, John presented some fascinating slides, many of which were of local deities which can only be seen once a year during pujas. John also explained the necessity for, and gave examples of telephoto shooting, which comes into play in the documentation of structures to which close access is limited. They plan to take a total of some 100,000 to 150,000 images which will be installed on their web site.


On the evening of Saturday, October 25, a buffet-style banquet was held by Otani University for the EBTI delegates. The banquet began with a welcome speech by Otani's president, Prof. Teruo Kurube, which was followed by a presentation of gifts to Prof. Kurube from the various EBTI delegates (mainly productions from the fruits of their respective digital works). Next, all were entertained and edified by a talk on the future of SGML by Lou Burnard, and the remainder of the evening was spent in the consumption of delicious food and fine conversation.

Sunday October 26th

Buddhist Materials in China: Future Projects Fan Guang Chang, Institute of World Religions, Chinese Academy of Social Science, Beijing, China.

Professor Chang's presentation was a report on the state of electronic Buddhist textual developments in China, a topic regarding which little is known to the outside world. According to him, input of Buddhist e-texts began in 1986, with the formation of a "bureau of the Chinese Buddhist canon." During the earlier stages, they were severely lacking in terms of such things as technical support and fonts. But now 106 volumes have been fully published. They are undertaking four further projects: (1) the creation of a multimedia database related to Guanyin texts, artifacts, pictures, etc. After they finish the development of the data in this Guanyin project, they will make it available as a CD-ROM; (2) the creation of a database of Buddhist culture, including paintings, sculpture and ritual implements. The database design having been completed, they have started input, and there are already 120,000 pictures included; (3) publication of said materials on the internet. This has already been initiated. (4) the input of the Ming edition of the Dazangjing, along with tables and indexes. As part of this same work, they are inputting Buddhist documents arranged according to dynastic period, as well as creating a glossary.

Buddhist Internet Database Retrieval and Chinese Buddhist WWW Resources Aming Tu, Center for Buddhist Studies, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Professor Tu, another of the group of previous presenters, offered us an update of further developments in the NTU Buddhist Studies Web Site, which is perhaps the most extensive single site of its type in the field of Buddhist Studies. He opened up the main page of this site to show us the wide range of materials available, including Buddhist canonical texts, articles, an extensive bibliography of Buddhist studies, instructional materials, Taiwanese Buddhist newspapers, etc. Prof. Tu focused briefly on the home page of the upcoming Third Chung-Hwa conference, to be hosted by NTU. The bibliography of Buddhist studies now has over 80,000 entries, and database search can be done on a multilingual basis, with numerous index categories. Texts from the Taisho canon are available, as are voiced study tools for learning Sanskrit.

South Asia Resources Database: A New Tool for the Study of South Asia Ian Dawes, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia

Ian Dawes' project covers a variety of media and disciplines, ranging far beyond the basic work of preservation and cataloging of Buddhist texts. Ian demonstrated the function of the database, which, in addition to texts, documents cultural/religious practices on slides. He also explained to us some of the underlying theory which was developed in the process of the work, including such matters as how the preservation of manuscripts is related to, but also different, from regular digitization.

Fragile Palm Leaves: Scanning Horizons Peter Skilling, Nonthaburi, Thailand

The traditional method of copying and transmitting Buddhist texts in Thailand was writing them on palm leaves, which, amazingly durable, were then bound into volumes ranging in thickness from anywhere between 100 and 600 leaves. Prof. Skilling's project is attempting to preserve the content of these palm-leaf scriptures by scanning. He therefore gave us an extensive slide show of the wide variety of types of bound texts found in Thailand. The files created from this scanning work are now being developed in the form of a database.

Manuscript Preservation in Cambodia Olivier De Bernan, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

In much the same manner as the prior presentation, Dr. De Bernan's project is concerned with the preservation of perishable documents, but with a special urgency, in view of the political instability which has persisted in Cambodia. Having made significant progress in the initial stage of image-preservation, they are now setting out on the effort of textual digitization.

Buddhological Studies in Russia: Prospects for Electronic Format Alexander Stolyarov, on the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Social Sciences, Moscow, Russia

EBTI delegates were fortunate to receive for the first time, a report on the condition of Buddhological efforts in Russia. Dr. Stolyarov's presentation, rather than being an explanation of the content of single project, was a broad summary of the wide range of Buddhist Studies projects where are being engaged at the various academic institutions in present-day Russia. He provided a detailed chart for us, which is available for browsing here.

Electronic Chronological Table for Japanese Religious and Cultural History Shigeru Handa, Jinjya Honcho Research Fellow, Nagoya, Japan

A project which is reaching advanced stages of development, ultimately aimed for installation on the internet. Its basic organizing format is that of a Shinto dictionary, but which makes wide use of a broad range of multimedia elements. With Shinto being such a broad-ranging Japanese cultural phenomenon, the dictionary naturally contains a wide variety of cultural information. There are also various other forms of information attached, such as a classical Japanese texts like the Kojiki and Nihonshoki. There is also an extensive bibliography, along with audio-visual clips in Japanese and English. One of the central functions of this database is the chronological table, which one can search via a number of methods. It also includes a tool for converting Western dates into the sixty-year cycle of the traditional Chinese calendar.

Business Meeting

The Otani Conference business meeting was called to order at 1:55 p.m. on Saturday by John Lehman, to settle the matters of (1) selection of administrative officers of the EBTI for the period up to the next meeting; (2) the date and time of the next meeting.

A proposal was made, and quickly accepted, for the present two co-chairs, Lew Lancaster and C.C. Hsieh, to remain in these positions for the next term period.

Regarding the location of the next meeting, the proposal was made by Dr. Hsieh for the meeting to be jointly hosted by Academia Sinica and Taita, sometime during the winter of 1999 (December or January). These locations will be confirmed shortly.

In addition, an invitation was put forth by the Ven. Chongnim of Haein-sa for his temple to host the following EBTI meeting, likely to be in 2000.