Digital Resources for Buddhist Studies

Song gaoseng zhuan project interface online

Posted by marcus.bingenheimer on 2011/08/11

The project A Critical Digital Edition of the Song gaoseng zhuan 宋高僧傳 funded by the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange 蔣經國國際學術交流基金會 (RG001-D-09) has a new interface available:

The project aims to create a best edition of the text with annotations and an interface that allows for geo-spatial and social-network visualizations. The interface is still under development and the social-network part is not yet realized.


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Social network view query results as GraphML

Posted by marcus.bingenheimer on 2011/07/27

The social-network view of the Buddhist Biographies project ( now allows users to download their query results in GraphML format.

The social-network view was never intended to provide the many features a full-fledged SocNet analysis tool offers. With the new function (click “Download as GraphML”) users can import the biographical nexus-point data from their queries into more advanced tools.

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Place authority data available for download

Posted by marcus.bingenheimer on 2011/07/07

Over the last few years we have worked on an authority database of Buddhist place names. Building on a large database of historical place names provided by the Center of Geographic Information Science at Academia Sinica, we have added some 18,000 entries of mainly Buddhist places. In April we imported c. 6000 entries from the Database of Taiwanese Buddhist Temples into the authority and recently we have decided to publish the data that we have contributed.

The zip-archive provided here includes those entries of the place authority database that were created by DDBC (c.15.000). The archive is distributed as XML/TEI file. The complete database is accessible through the online interface and API. It contains an additional 38.000 entries that were provided by Academia Sinica.

Here is a timeline of the recent growth of the place authority:















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Open Glossaries for Buddhist Studies

Posted by marcus.bingenheimer on 2011/07/07

Recently we added 3 new Buddhist studies glossaries to our glossary project.

1. Seishi Karashima: “A Glossary of Kumārajīva’s translation of the Lotus Sutra.” Tokyo: Soka University, 2001.(2,409 entries)

2. Jeffrey Hopkins: “Jeffrey Hopkins’ Tibetan-Sanskrit-English Dictionary” (18,441 entries).

3. Dan Martin: “Tibskrit Philology” (Bibliographic information on Buddhist authors c. 10,000 entries).

We thank the authors for their permission to distribute the data in this way. All glossaries are encoded in TEI/XML. From this master file we produce the HTML, PDF and StarDict versions. The latter works with dictionary platforms such as StarDict,GoldenDict, or mobile applications such as ColorDict.

The transformations of Karashima sensei’s most recent glossary on the Dao Xing Banruo [\Bore] Jing (T.224) (Tokyo 2010) are in work and should be ready for distribution in about 2 months.

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Person authority data for download

Posted by marcus.bingenheimer on 2011/04/04

The DDBC Person Authority Database includes almost 19,000 entries now and we have decided the time has come to share the raw data in one single file. The Person Authority Database, which we use in various projects that involve biographical information, is by now the largest biographical dataset for Buddhist studies. Special attention has been given to ascertain the life dates of a person, though much remains to be done. The database includes information on alternative names, gender, place of origin, gravesite, occurrences in primary sources, and a short description with references to secondary print or online resources.
Users of the raw data should be aware of the fact that the database is constantly edited, improved and expanded. The downloadable archive will be updated with every additional 1000 entries or so. The database is made available in XML under a CC 3.0 (Attribution Share Alike) license. Download page:

The data is also available, as before, through the web-interface ( and the API (

If anybody has biographical data on Buddhists of any time or place, I will be happy to consider including it in this database to make it more widely available.

For the techies out there: You are welcome to fork the data, but we recommend and invite you to merge your data in via our GIT repository (


Growth of the person authority db

Steady growth of the person authority database

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Biqiuni zhuan dataset available

Posted by marcus.bingenheimer on 2011/01/28

We have recently completed an advanced digital version of Baochang’s 寶唱  collection of Biographies of Eminent Nuns (Biqiuni zhuan 比丘尼傳, dated 516, T. 2063). The collection contains biographies of 65 nuns and shorter biographical notes on another 51. Together with the four collections of eminent monks the DDBC Buddhist Biographies project now visualizes information on more than 2250 monks and nuns.

The markup identifies all person and place names as well as dates and connects them to authority databases. The modern punctuation in this digital edition follows (with slight changes) the 2006 edition “Biqiuni zhuan jiaozhu 比丘尼傳校註” Beijing: Zhonghua 中華. Wang Rutong.

You can browse the biographies in a GIS interface next to a map at:

(To browse the Biqiuni zhuan please click on the open-book icon top-right in the left panel.)

There is also a Social Network view of the data at:

As usual the XML source of the dataset is made available at:

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DDBC Library searchable via Catalogus Bibliothecarum

Posted by marcus.bingenheimer on 2011/01/15

Richard Mahoney’s work on combining existing resources in Buddhist and Indian Studies is well known. He is pioneering a development that in the next decades will gain  in importance as the data deluge grows: the aggregation and re-mixing of available digital data. That this is not a derivative, secondary activity, but a creative endeavor well worth the involvement of scholars will become clearer as all information moves into the digital, and digital-born users explore new ways to interact with it.Richard’s Catalogus ( allows users to search catalogs of libraries with significant holdings in Buddhist studies. Recently he has added the DDBC library catalog to the set of Asian libraries that can be accessed through the Catalogus. To my knowledge, outside of Japan, the DDBC library is the largest Buddhist Studies library in Asia (70,000+ vol., lots of special collections). Concerning the catalog one should know that by default it also returns hits from a bibliographical reference database (100,000+ entries), we built with NTU some years ago. This confuses first-time users sometimes, but has proved helpful for research which is what this library is about.

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Gazetteers as downloadable archives

Posted by marcus.bingenheimer on 2011/01/15

The 234 temple gazetteers are now available as downloadable archives at Both the 13 full-text and the image-only archives come with copious metadata. Next to the TEI Header, there is MIX data for all images, and, crucially content related metadata concerning the structure of each gazetteer. As the TEI and the MIX metadata, the content metadata is included in the METS metadata wrapper that comes with each archive. It includes all headings as well as the first three characters of each page thereby allowing for a shallow search across all gazetteers.
To make these archives available in a distributable documented format is an important step forward for us. It enables other researchers to use the data in their own projects and digital librarians to include our datasets in their collections. Though the zip-archives might not be all that attractive for the general user, who will probably prefer to access the data via the online interface, they represent what we have been aiming for all along: free, distributable, and documented datasets.
With the production of these archives the first phase of the temple gazetteer project has come to an end. The second stage will close the circle and turn the digital objects back into print in a way that will show how much information was added in the encoding process. The 13 full text gazetteers will be published with Xinwenfeng 新文豐  in 2013. This gives us time to improve the text, the punctuation, the person database, and further identify relevant places. The set will include a person name index, CE dates for all Chinese calendar dates, as well as maps. All gazetteers will be introduced by a scholar in the field in English or Chinese.

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Integrated Search of DDBC Digital Archives

Posted by marcus.bingenheimer on 2011/01/15

To make things easier Joey has developed a integrated search interface ( that now can search over 11 different projects hosted at DDBC. So far iSearch searches eleven projects/archives:
1.   Authority Database   2.   CBETA   3.   台灣佛寺時空平台   4.   CBETA concordence   5.   經錄資料庫   6.   佛寺志   7.   瑜伽師地論   8.   東初老人全集   9.   台灣佛教期刊  10.   佛典詞書數位典藏系統(杜老師進行中專案)  11.   別譯雜阿含經版本比對

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Korean Calendar Data

Posted by marcus.bingenheimer on 2011/01/15

We finally managed to make the Korean Calendar data part of our time authority database, which is now the first open-source CJK calendar dataset available. As usual we provide a simple interface (, but the main value is that with the downloadable archives
and at GIT hub
it is possible for researchers to use the data in their own way.
The construction over the last three years of the CJK-calendar database has proved again one of the principles of digitization: complexity arising out of seemingly simple tasks. To map East-Asian calendar systems with their combination of astronomical and historical ways to mark time to the (proleptic) Gregorian calendar via the Julian Date used in astronomy proved to be more difficult than expected. This in spite of a wealth of previous scholarship, comparative tables etc. on the topic.
We wish we had a complete documentation for this project, alas few of the decisions made are explained anywhere in a standardized fashion.
The CJK-calendar database is limited in the range of the dates covered. Our sources are concerned with Buddhist history and to make the project easier for us we have not included the earlier periods. Since the database is open-sourced, we hope that one day someone will add the data for these periods.
As it is the CJK-Calendar Database provides dates for the following periods:
China: 220 BCE and 1912 CE
Korea: 56 BCE and 1885 CE
Japan: 593 CE and 1872 CE
The Korean calendar dataset here should be considered an extension of the Chinese calendar data. The Korean calendar has a special relationship to the Chinese calendar and sometimes retained era names beyond their use in China, and, as the Japanese calendar, shares the same cyclical stem-branch count. In order to make full use of it you will need both the Chinese and the Korean set.

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