LTWA archive main page
A Proposal to fund this
archiving work of THE AUDIO-VISUAL ARCHIVE of the
LTWA - the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
submitted by Lama Karma Khedup ---- VOLUNTEER
[I'm going to put up the info on where to send money
and how very soon. - DC]
Transfer of Audio/Visual Information to Digital Media
Statement of Purpose:
The purpose of this project is to transfer Audio/Visual Information of
Tibet's religions, culture and people to digital media. Digital media will
replace the existing media (gramophone, audio, video, reel tapes, &
film). This will allow us to have far greater reliability in terms of
storage, consuming less space and saving time, thereby making possible the
preparation of research for audio and visual documentaries that record
vanishing and evolving aspects of the Tibetan way of life and culture. It
is our belief that the visual record prepared will uniquely preserve
visual information as a permanent scholarly and cultural resource on many
important developments in human effort and organization.
The Oral History Department's Audio/visual Section at the Library of
Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA) is the only active Tibetan Oral History
Program in the world. In operation since 1981, the collection has holdings
of more than 25,000 hours of gramophone, films, audio, video, reels, DATs
and CDs in Tibetan of personal interviews, Tibetan cultural and Buddhist
religious activities, and works by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. It is
by nature a long term project, and one of the most important projects at
the Library. It is critical to the preservation of the Tibetan culture,
the recordings of new refugees from Tibet and dialogues with older
residents of Dharamsala, which will be invaluable in the future for the
education of youth and different programs. The gathering of valuable
materials by the Library will be able to continue as an integral part of
the preservation program of the Tibetan community.
Since inception in 1981, the Department has gathered over 25,000 hours of
recordings. The program's growth over the last decade is a result of the
rapid rise in the influx of refugees from Tibet, the active cultural and
religious life around the Tibetan Government in-exile, and the Library's
mandate to record as much as possible of the existing Tibetan Culture.
This is all credited to the Ford Foundation for funding this program from
1981 until 1991.
The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives serves as a National Library to
the entire Tibetan community in-exile (150 0 population) and to the
various international scholars interested in Tibetan Studies/Tibetology.
Fulfillment of this project will greatly benefit the Tibetan community and
the various international scholars on a full range of Tibetan culture and
Tibetan Buddhist religious knowledge.
Statement of Need:
With the funding provided by Ford Foundation and the resources and
dedication generated in the Library the program was able to record 25,000
hours of teachings and interviews
However, this vast store of knowledge, which is yet to be made, known to
the world is presently stored on gramophone, audio, reels, video, DATs,
CDs and films whose reliability is a big question mark ! As the life span
of an audiotape is 12-15 years this means the wealth of knowledge stored
in these media in the near future faces danger of being lost forever. The
concerns of the Oral History Department's Audio-Visual Archive therefore
is serious and immediate and it requires to combat such fears by using
alternative and more reliable media i.e. copying and transferring this
information using the latest state-of-art technology that is now available
in the market-digital technology.
A concerted analysis of the needs of the LTWA has established the
following basic needs that the Oral History Department's Audio-Visual
Archive is charged with meeting:
Transfer knowledge contained in audio, reels, gramophone, video, DAT, CD
and films to digital media.
EXPANDING USER APPLICATIONS:
The transfer of our vast but fragile holdings of Oral History
(Audio-Visual Archives) to a durable medium will enable us to expand our
service to a wider range of Library users. As well as being the library of
deposit for the collective remembrance of Tibet, we will be able to make
our holdings more widely available, without jeopardizing the integrity of
Who are the new users of our oral history repository, once it is
accessible on-line? We envisage several new markets for our holdings:
* Young Tibetans are increasingly curious about old Tibet, which in-exile
they have not seen, yet cherish, the more so since recent feature films
have so thoroughly recreated the sights and sounds of Tibet for mass
* Researchers around the world, both scholarly and in search of authentic
detail for movie set design.
* The mimesis of artists: Tibetans staging operas, modern artists seeking
inspiration, composers, exhibition designers.
* Tibetan public servants engaged in planning for future Tibet seeking
precise details of economic, political or cultural arrangements in old
Tibet as their baseline.
* Popular demand for tape copies of CD masters can now be met.
* Radio producers can access our holdings and download them in formats
conducive to editing for broadcast. There are now four Tibetan
broadcasting stations. broadcasting into Tibet from India, Norway and the
US, which have constant need of new materials.
These are examples of new users identified by our research. In the longer
term, we look forward to making our holdings available to Tibetans in
Tibet when it becomes possible for many millions of people forced into
amnesia about the past to begin the long process of remembrance. One day
our oral history holdings will be vital to the reawakening of all our
people, not only those presently in exile. After decades of compulsory
amnesia, where will they turn to plug into their roots ? With the oral
history of a highly oral culture safely preserved on durable CD-ROM, we
will be ready, whether or not it takes a long time for this or the next
generation of Tibetans to use our resources to rediscover their identity
Other, but significant advantages as below:
* Reliability, Life span of CD is ten times that of audiotapes, (see
Technical specifications in support of digital technology).
* Forty hours of audio record in one single CD. New media are (such as DVD
disks) that will allow the Library to archive about 20 times more (800
hours per disk)
* Once audiotapes are copied into digital media, it is very easy to make
backups and therefore minimize almost to zero the risk of losing them.
* Once the Audiotape has been transferred in the computer through the
Audio card, the sound may be modified, transformed and adjusted.
* This format can easily be used on a LAN(Local Area Network) and
therefore can be accessed from any PC.
The goal of this project is to transfer all the audio and visual
information into digital media which are more reliable.
By the year 2012 the entire holdings of the Oral History Department's
Audio-Visual will be restored in digital media which will meet the goals
of the Project.
25,000 hours of recorded audiotapes and visual information will be
transferred. In order to have good or better reliability plus speed in
recording the CD's, SCSI CD recorder DVD Video Recorder and hard disk or
hard drive would be used.
The Oral History Project at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives is
one of the most important programs currently under way to preserve Tibetan
Culture for the future. Generous funds from the Ford Foundation, (the
Tibet Relief Fund of the U.K., the Tibet Fund of USA), enabled the program
to run for ten years. Interviewing newly arriving refugees,
recording the teaching of His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, taping the
cultural and religious life around the Tibetan communities, and preserving
folk tradition, Arts and Crafts, which are in danger of dying out, all
these are important aspects of the program's work. New equipment purchases
and adapting to technological changes, will allow the department to work
more efficiently, and more people around the community can be retained for
the project and trained in it's use. The Oral History Department's
Audio-Visual Archive at the LTWA is the only Tibetan Language Oral History
Program in the World that actively acquires new holdings each year and as
such should be able to continue its important work to the community and
the world at large. But these holdings in their present state (audio and
visual media) are under threat of disintegrating, and need to be copied
and transferred to safer and reliable media using the latest state of art
technology i.e. Digital technology if they are to survive.
Karma Khedup submits the above information after consulting with Mr.
David Chadwick for fund raising of this Institution.
In Charge Audio/Visual Section
Library of Tibetan Works & Archives
Dharamsala - 176215, INDIA
Tel (Off): +91-1892-222467,226095,201347
This proposal was written by Alain Bywaters working with Karma Khedup