Internet as a source of information for Academic purpose with special reference to Buddhist Studies (part One)
The purpose of this research is to explore the information source available on the internet for the Academic destination which helps the successful completion of research on Buddhist Studies and life-long learning.
In the world of today information plays a vital role in the field of research and day to day life. All resources related to research have increased dramatically over the last several years with reference to the demands of the information and the technology. Developments in the system of computer technology provide the means for the production and storage of ideas, thoughts, research, methodological research and experiments in digital form.
Among the available information channels the internet has become a popular resource and it is increasingly used as an alternative to printed resources. The book production process has been changed and largely digitized. Nowadays, readers heavily depend on e-versions. The dissemination of information through this medium has three main advantages over publication in the traditional manner, as cost, speed, and ease of access. Other advantages of an electronic medium include keyword searching and the use of multimedia and hypertext formats. The Library professionals have identified the new trend and started to acquire the e-resources to cater to their patrons effectively.
Nature of Internet
The internet is a global system of computer networks. It began in the late 1960s. It is becoming increasingly widespread. The Internet contains a wealth of information on a variety of subjects and it allows rapid transfers of data, messages, documents, sound, and images. The Internet consists of huge information as an encyclopedia of whole branches of universal knowledge. The volume of information you will find on the internet is amazing. Mostly sources on the Internet are often more up-to-date than sources in paper format. Sometimes, user has ever wondered at the information available on the net in many different perspectives on a single topic. It is visible that some particular topics or key words on internet are enriching with accurate, applicable, and informative information while some are overwhelming with inapplicable information. The reason for that is anyone can publish anything on the internet without considering their capabilities or code of ethics. Hence user must assess the validity of the information available on the internet.
Why people use the Internet?
There are number of reason such as:
To find general information
To find information for a particular subject
To conduct surveys
To conduct research
To correspond with far away friends (e.g. e-mail)
To meet people, virtually (e.g. facebook)
To discuss their interests with cyber friends (e.g. chatting)
To have fun (e.g. games)
To learn (e.g. online courses)
To read the news
To find software (e.g. virus guard)
To buy and sell things
Information seeking via the Internet
Proliferation of information resources coupled with a lack of Internet skills leads some users into difficulties when attempting to search and retrieve useful information. But the Internet is an attractive medium for seeking and obtaining information, for the following reasons:
The Internet is accessible throughout the day.
The end-user (reader) does not have to visit a library.
It is possible to find and obtain information relatively, quickly and conveniently.
The end-user can choose between saving, printing or reading information from the computer screen.
One of the great things about the internet is that it puts information at finger tips, but it is not easy to access information which user need and available elsewhere. The Internet provides access to unlimited sources of information and search engines are continuously being upgraded to provide efficient way to help users to find what they want.
Internet usage for Academic purpose
Obtaining and handling information efficiently is one of great importance to Academics to do a research proficiently. Researchers follow different ways and means to obtain and handle information efficiently. To success this process mostly they get help from libraries and computers. Now computers have become an integral part of the lives of scholars and researchers. Especially Computers with internet connection have changed the information seeking behavior of Academics in advance.
Internet is an information source which is used as a vehicle for higher education, to seek information by Academics. It has become an integral element of Academic research and study. Internet has radically changed the global availability of scholarly publications. Today, a substantial part of the resources accessible for researchers and university students are offered through electronic sites and supply of easily obtainable information larger than ever. It is open twenty-four hours of the day and communication can be carried on at all hours without considering the distance. Modern today, internet is very much popular as an excellent research tool.
The most important form of education is the exchange of ideas and opinions between students and lecturers, and among researchers. Internet makes a great contribution to success of this process. It enriches with more scholarly information generated by Academics. Further it can be found that there are a number of digitization projects of historical, primary documents on the Web, many of them sponsored by Academic institutions.
Sometimes, a large amount of information is available but it does not have systematic editing or expert review of web-published material. Academic user must be aware of this and need to critically analyze the retrieved information before applying it in any way, in particular for research or any other Academic purpose.
Academic can locate “scholarly information” on the Web through the followings and the facilities available under those sites are listed.
Searches library catalogs for book and monographs.
Find articles from online scholarly journals
Full access to these publications may be restricted to subscribers*
Directory of Open Access Journals
Selection criteria are in place within these publications, consistent with copyright, editorial review, authority, and other ideas linked with traditional scholarly publishing (in print)
(400) Journals are searchable
A searchable directory of Open Access Initiative compatible resources includes:
Digital Repositories (research produced by members of a scholarly community, i.e. research publications by faculty members at a University; here is a link to pace digital repository, the DigitalCommons@pace)
Open Access Journals
Images and other primary sources
As well the Internet allows study group to work online, and tutorials can be carried out as electronic discussions. In all these ways, the Internet creates an environment where energetic discussion and debate. Internet is faster means of acquiring knowledge to compared books.
Usefulness of the internet to scholars depends on their competency in copying with the technology and their ability to search effectively to select required, appropriate information. On the other hand, Web can be searched typically hundreds or thousands of pages with some relation to the topic, within seconds. Some pages present news and results of the original researches to scholars and professionals. In this manner, Internet enhances the Academic quality of the educational activities and researches.
Internet as a source of Information for Buddhist Studies
Buddhism is the fourth largest world religion with around 376 million followers. Buddhism has a strong influence primarily in East Asian religion such as Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao, Japan and parts of India. There are two major sects of Buddhism which are Theravada (124 million) and Mahayana (185 million).
Buddhism is a religion which can be viewed from many angles and embodied with the vast primary and secondary literature. In the past three decades, personal interest in Buddhism has dramatically grown in the world and it has been accompanied by an increased number of Buddhist books and scholarly studies. As a result an increasing number of Buddhists and non-Buddhist have become Academic scholars. In come non-Buddhist countries, there is lack of printed information sources to disseminate the Teachings of the Buddha. But now it is very much easy to download the required information though the Internet sources.
Past researches revealed that in early eighty’s humanity scholars such as Buddhist Studies scholars were viewed as anti-machines. They did not involve much with technology. Presently it is changed and they are adjusting to the new trend. The Internet plays a significant role to promote all Buddhist traditions and disseminate the Buddhist literature throughout the world. Hence, researchers can easily browse all of the relevant and available literature of Buddhist studies on the Internet as an endless source of information. Internet supports the globalization of Buddhist education, the systematic development of the Buddha Dhamma, and establishing partnerships with Buddhist institutions and Buddhist scholars in the worldwide. The researchers who are engaged in Buddhist Studies can locate scholarly information on the Web through the followings.
E-book is a type of reading material which can be read in virtual environment. A narrow definition treats an e-book as a digital object designed to be read on a hanheld reading device or to be listened to a speech-generating tool. The core of this definition is a digital object containing an electronic representation of a book. In its digital from the content of an e-book escapes the pages of an ordinary book because simply the content is no longer tied physically to paper. An e-book can in principle be available anywhere through the Internet accessed any hour of the day.
Scholars can find the vast number of e-books for Buddhist Studies. Especially, most books can be accessed free of charge. The buddhanet.net and urbandhramma.org have provided the facility to access and download more than 1000 e-books related to Buddhist Studies. Some of them are written by prominent writers of Buddhist studies.
An encyclopedia is a comprehensive written compendium that holds information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge. Encyclopedias are divided into articles with one article on each subject covered. As a scholar of Buddhist studies you may need Encyclopedias in advance as a reference tool. Physically Encyclopedias are heavy volumes which are difficult to handle manually. But one can use online encyclopedias for Buddhist Studies which helps to find terms within seconds and no need to bother with thousands of pages too. There are many free encyclopedias while some are offering a subscription service. The concept of a new free encyclopedia began with the Interpedia (the first proposals for an Internet encyclopedia). Some free online encyclopedias will allow anyone to submit articles and that would be freely accessible.
Unfortunately, there is no single online encyclopedia fully dedicated to Buddhism. Wikipedia is a comprehensive online encyclopedia which covers many disciplines. It includes over 2,896,130 scholarly articles and many for Buddhist studies too. It is possible to find detailed information for Buddhism under following headings; Life of the Buddha, Buddhist Concepts, Practice, History, Schools and traditions, Buddhist texts and Comparative studies.
Microsoft Encarta is another online encyclopedia published by Microsoft Corporation since 1993. Academics can find number of terms related to Buddhism.
A glossary is a list of terms in particular domain of knowledge with the definitions for those terms. Internet provides the facility of access to glossaries and scholars can find out some terms related to Buddhism too. The seekers glossary of Buddhism is example for an online glossary and it is a compendium of excerpts and quotations from some 350 works by monks, nuns, professors, scholars and other laypersons from different countries. It will assist to find the definition of unfamiliar terms; to gain a broader understanding of specific Buddhist concepts.
A glossary of Pali and Buddhist terms is another glossary edited by John T. Bullitt. This provides the facility to find some terms easily.
Represented By တကၠသုိလ္ျမတ္မင္း
(Online Research Methodology)