Upcoming Events

Southern Asia Seminar: Awakening the largest digital library of Buddhist manuscripts to AI: The Buddhist Digital Resource Center and the future of preservation and access

October 12, 2023-5pm

Foster 103

Jann Ronnis

Executive Director, Buddhist Digital Resource Center

This will be a story about the Dharma’s newest skillful means: computer vision, machine translation, linked data, and other 21st century technologies. The Buddhist Digital Resource Center in Boston is a leader in the digital preservation of Buddhist manuscripts. Over the last 25 years BDRC has digitized nearly 30 million pages of Buddhist texts in Asia—mainly Tibetan-language texts but also significant numbers of Burmese and Khmer palm leaf manuscripts. They have been archived, cataloged, and are available at for free and open access. BDRC will share its recent experiences processing this Mount Meru of data with advanced technologies in library science and AI in order to transform the flat scans into a resource for machine translation, LLM’s, corpus analytics, and beyond. As the University of Chicago is at the forefront of digital collections, DH, and Asian Studies, this talk is intended to foster a fruitful exchange on the day of, as well as longer term collaborations. A lay audience interested in Buddhist manuscript culture, contemporary Buddhism, and technology and religion are encouraged to attend.