For the last two years we have sustained a remarkable ascent up the sometimes treacherous trails of our digital Himalayas. The monks were urged forward (in good weather and bad) by your unmistakable appreciation of our publications and websites and the generous responses to our Digital Dharma Drive. In 2010 the drive reached $59,600; and in 2011 it raised $64,600. These funds have made an enormous difference in the digital projects that we have undertaken these past 24 months. http://dev.himalayanacademy.com/donate/ddd/ddd-faq.shtml
During 2011 and 2012, a major focus of our team and the primary application of your contributions has been to redesign, re-engineer and renovate the monastery’s website and reformat publications for today’s multitude of digital devices. Last year we showed you a preview of the new, professional design. This year we have been working to move all our content into the modern, database-driven system and get all the new features up and running—those that will help visitors discover and make use of the resources on the site in easier, more organized, more intuitive ways.
We’re almost finished, and with Bodhinatha’s blessings, we will inaugurate this year’s Digital Dharma Drive on December 1, at the same time we bring the new site online for you all to experience. Following the Wikipedia model (an annual fund effort to provide information and resources for free, without ads), the drive will run for 60 days. We hope you will set aside part of your year-end giving to help the team in Hawaii keep this strategically important momentum going in 2013.
This year (and only this year) we will use the funds somewhat differently. As you may know, between December and May, we will be renovating the Media Studio, the humble facility in which the monks produce all of the books, magazine, art, websites and teachings. We last made major improvements to the space 28 years ago, setting it up as a print shop, with two printing presses, a folder, a phototypesetter, process camera and light tables. In the nineties, we converted the space into a digital publications center using salvaged goods from a defunct hotel sale. It is a quaint space, but weary and worn.
The Ganapati Kulam publications facility is just 100 feet from Kadavul Temple. Aside from being the nexus of the monastery’s world outreach activities, it is a key place for hosting visitors to the monastery. The time has come to bring it into the 21st century. The work will be done by the monks and a task force of volunteers, rather than by costly hired carpenters. We are even using our own lumber, milled from island trees, for the wooden elements. But it will still take a lot of work and money. To allow this improvement to happen, one half of each dollar from this year’s Digital Dharma Drive will go to the Media Studio renovation and one half to innovative web improvements, digital assets, ebooks and other projects. We hope you are inspired by all of this. We are!
Editor, Hinduism Today