Bhaktivedanta Archives of the Future
Posted February 27, 2010
Concerning Ekanatha Prabhu's impressive article entitled "Setting the Record Straight On Prabhupada's Audio," without a doubt, the Bhaktivedanta Archives have performed a wonderful service for Srila Prabhupada. Even though they have made some mistakes, such as editing the audio versions of his lectures, I'll assume that it was done without knowing Srila Prabhupada's instructions on the matter, and that Srila Prabhupada is for the most part very much pleased with their sincere service.
However, in my opinion, the time has come for a change. I suggest that the Bhaktivedanta Archives (prabhupada.com/) devotees make a leap into the 21st century by making all digital media, especially Srila Prabhupada's priceless legacy (including the VedaBase), available without copy protection for free on the Internet. As an alternative to the Internet, CDs and DVDs containing the same digital material should be made available to devotees for 10 percent above cost, as I believe Srila Prabhupada has instructed.
The original audio tapes should be made available, singly on a daily basis, on the Internet in a high-quality, lossless format such as FLAC. This is especially important for the tapes that are good quality but that have not been transcribed or released as MP3s because the time-and-place information has been lost. Making these particular audio recordings available to the entire worldwide community of devotees should be the highest priority, but eventually, exact lossless digital copies of all original audio tapes should be made available as free downloads.
Having all of Srila Prabhupada's audio recordings made available as free downloads in a high-quality lossless format would increase web traffic to Krishna.com, thereby increasing book and poster sales. The sales of MP3 CDs, FLAC CDs and movie DVDs would also increase, because not everyone is going to be willing to spend several days downloading them. In some parts of the world, where Internet connections are slow and/or unreliable, it may not even be possible to download them.
It would also allow devotees all over the world to be engaged in very important devotional service by...
1. ... helping to identify the audio recordings for which the time and/or place information has been lost.
2. ... transcribing Srila Prabhupada's newly released lectures and conversations. These transcriptions could then also be published on the Internet, serving to help in jogging devotees' memories so as to help to narrow down the time-and-place information.
3. ... translating the transcriptions into other languages.
4. ... becoming "mini-archives" of Srila Prabhupada's priceless legacy. What if someday in the future, heaven forbid, a fire at the Archives destroyed the originals? Even if that does not happen, the originals will likely be destroyed in the near future, due to natural deterioration.
5. ... "cleaning up" the original recordings (employing advanced digital noise-reduction techniques, etc.). All that is required to do this is an inexpensive computer and software such as Adobe Audition.
6. ... converting the lossless format files into MP3 files with tags designed to be compatible with popular cutting-edge MP3 players such as the iPhone and iPod Touch.