Chinese Buddhist texts for the new Millenium — The Chinese Buddhist Electronic Text Association (CBETA) and its Digital Tripitaka

Christian Wittern


This paper deals mostly with work by the Chinese Buddhist Electronic Text Association (CBETA) in preparing an electronic edition of a large collection of Chinese Buddhist texts. A short opening section about the history and significance of these texts is followed by a sketch of the digitization efforts prior to the CBETA project. The main part of the paper provides some background on the organizational structure and aims of CBETA, and then describes key aspects of the CBETA project, which are, among others: focus on quality assurance of existing electronic data, not foremost on input; reliance on open standards like the TEI Guidelines, XML and Unicode. The paper closes with an assessment of open questions, including the different formats for distribution of texts currently used by CBTEA, the reasons for their choice and the problems encountered. This will also touch on some more general questions concerning the distribution and continuing development of electronic ressources.

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