Friday, 23 May 2008

DSpace: The New Treasury of Wisdom Database

As announced before, we have been very busy on working on a new interface to our archive database. Finally, we were able to switch to the new interface last night. At the same time, we have also changed the weblink to


If you are already a registered user of DSpace, have a walk around the new interface.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

The new Treasury of Wisdom Interface

The new interface of the Treasury of Wisdom Database is now close to being finished. This new version is based on DSpace 1.5 and has been greatly enhanced by our programmer. In the above screen-shot, you can see the overlay that becomes visible when you put the cursor over the reference to another entry. (In this case you can see the information related to a session from the event which the session belongs to).

Treasury of Wisdom Taskforce 2008 Report

Creating a fully-functional research database is one of Rigpa's highest priorities. In order to reach this goal, from January to March 2008, a special task force has been created to transfer all data available on teachings of Sogyal Rinpoche from the years 1996-2005 into the Treasury of Wisdom Database, and to make this data easily available to researchers.

The task force was formed by 5 volunteers from France, Australia, Germany and the USA. Each one of them worked for around 2 months, around 30 hours per week.

They accomplished the following:
• all data of Rigpa events between 1994 and 2008 has been entered (close to 1800 events)
• all data of Rigpa teaching sessions between 2001 and 2008 have been entered (more than 2800 sessions)
• all Daily Session Reports have been converted into Open-Office documents and PDFs and entered (the writing of Daily Session Reports started in 2001, more than 1400 reports in total)

In order to make the database more easily adaptable to our needs, the Software base of the Treasury of Wisdom database has been moved from an outdated older version to the current version of DSpace. While this move has been very work-intensive, it provides us now with a much better platform that allows us to easily update our software as newer versions of this library system become available. Also, the new systems allows us change the visual appearance of the web-interface, and to make the database more user friendly. The new version is currently in a test phase.

What still needs to be done

Changing to the new version of the Treasury of Wisdom Database
Testing of the new system has started, we expect to change over by the end of May 2008.

Entering all transcripts from 2001-2008
Currently only 200 transcripts have been entered. More than 7000 do exist, but they need to be spell-checked to comply with the current Rigpa spelling, and then converted to Open-Office data format to ensure that we still can read these transcripts in 10 years time. We are currently trying to find a retreat volunteer in Lerab Ling to submit around 2400 transcripts for teachings from 2001-2008. This will take around 400 hours, around 20 weeks of volunteer work.

Design of a good search interface
The Treasury of Wisdom Strategy Team is currently interviewing all key Rigpa researchers to find out what their requirement for a search interface are. This gathering phase will be finished by end of May 2008. We can then propose how the new search interface will look, and start implementing it. A new search interface should then be functional by end of August 2008.

Enter the remaining session information
We plan to put together another task-force for the next practice period (Jan-April 2009) to enter the remaining session information of the years 1994-2000.