Padma Karpo Translation Committee
Digital Tibetan Library: Overview
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Background
Lama Tony is well known for his pioneering work in the field of Tibetan word-processing and text publishing; his software and fonts have been the mainstay of Tibetan text publishing for many years.  As explained at our software site, he has created a suite of software for the Windows environment consisting of three programs made specially for handling Tibetan text: TibetD, TibetDoc, and TibetD Reader.  Moreover, large amounts of Tibetan texts have been published using these programs.  For example, the entire Drukpa Kagyu Heritage Project was produced using this software.  The combination of the software with its special features and the existence of many Tibetan texts in the software’s format makes it possible for you to create your own, very powerful, digital Tibetan library.

The software for a digital Tibetan library
TibetDoc allows the creation of documents, TibetD allows the creation of dictionaries and reference works, and the TibetD Reader is a single piece of software that will read all of those documents, dictionaries, and so on.  To give you the basis for a digital Tibetan library, we provide TibetD Reader free on this site.  Some people want to create their own Tibetan documents for inclusion in their library; for them TibetDoc is available for purchase at a modest fee.

The content for a digital Tibetan library
We give you six ways to get content for your digital Tibetan library:
  On this site, we provide for free a wide range of important Tibetan Buddhist texts, dictionaries, and other reference works.
  On this site, we provide for free a range of major Tibetan text collections.
  On this site, we provide for free and for purchase a range of important Tibetan dictionaries and glossaries.
  TibetDoc software is available for purchase so that you can create your own documents to add to the library.
  TibetDoc software also enables you to import Tibetan documents created in other programs and create the text in the needed format.  Unicode, Rich Text Format, Sambhohota, Tibetan Resource Centre fonts, Wylie, and so on can all be imported.
  We have a text input service in Kathmandu who will input your Tibetan text for a modest fee.  Many of the texts on the free page on this site were sponsored by Westerners through this service.  If you would like to use this service, please read this page.
Thus we provide a wide range of important Tibetan Buddhist texts, dictionaries, and other reference works to be used as the content of a library, much of which is for free.  We encourage you not to overlook the products for purchase; amongst them you will find the world’s foremost Tibetan-English Dictionary called The Illuminator and other essential reference works for scholars and translators.  You will also find large collections of texts containing the basic needs of those studying Buddhism through the texts of the Indian tradition, such as Shantideva’s Entrance to the Bodhisatva’s Way, the Nineteen Main Texts of the Indian Tradition, and so on.

Special advantages to a digital Tibetan library made with our software
The real value here is not the ability to make a digital Tibetan library per se.  After all, it is possible to make a library like this using Adobe Acrobat PDF files and that was done extensively by Gene Smith before he passed away.  However, as Gene himself once said to a gathering, “I can only manage to scan Tibetan texts and make PDF documents out of them.  There are significant shortcomings with my approach but this is all that I can do.  Tony here will go on the next, required step and produce fully digital forms that can be easily searched using the power of personal computers”.  That is a true quote from a conference held in the year 2000 at the University of Virginia and it shows clearly how much respect Gene Smith had for the work being offered here.

Everyone who has seen the power of our software immediately switches to using the system where possible.  We provide very efficient and fast searching tools that cannot be matched by using PDF’s and the like.  Much more than that though, we have added special kinds of search features that allow you to search through all of the texts in your library to find specific items of interest.  All of these features were designed by Lama Tony based on his enormous experience within the world of translation and scholarship.  We give you a full set of instructions for using this feature here.

We have often thought that these are the tools that should be in use by all serious translators.  Unfortunately, some people in the translation world have spread myths about our software in an attempt to denigrate it.  It is sometimes said that our software should be free: we provide the needed TibetD Reader software for free!  It is sometimes said that our software is proprietary and closed: our software allows full import and export of all current formats such as unicode text, and so on!  It is sometimes said that our software does not support unicode: it does, fully!  In short, there is no valid complaint that can be levelled against our software.  Try it out for yourself: download the reader using the link above, download some texts from the free text page, and see what can be done with it.  And remember that anything in these texts can be immediately exported to any other program for whatever purpose because of the open nature of the software!