The Theosophical Society in America

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2012 Year in Technology

This has been a very busy year for us in the National Headquarters with many things to show for our work. Our IT department has been focused on transitioning Quest Books to a new open source ERP system. Next year after we finish the transition we will be building a new website for Quest Books as well. 

Archivist Janet Kerschner and Pablo Sender have developed an incredible Theosophical Wikipedia site which should not be missed. The site has been under construction for the past few years, but it was unveiled to the public at the Summer National Convention. Early in 2012, the team realized that the wiki could serve as a tool for study of the Mahatma Letters. The TSA Archives had a set of about 1300 color slides that had been purchased by George Linton from the British Library in 1984. The slides had been scanned as a preservation measure, and the images turned out to be stunningly realistic. Viewing them brings a sense of immediacy, a connection to the writers and their time that is inspiring.

Our Work

chris bolger at mixerThis article was originally published in Theosophy Forward, and is republished with permission. Original link http://www.theosophyforward.com/index.php/theosophy/547-our-work.html

Working at the A/V and IT departments at the national headquarters for the Theosophical Society in America has given me the unique opportunity to help focus the direction of our internet development with wide reaching potentials. The TSA website development has been the focus of my work over the last two years. 

Now that we have transitioned our website to an open-source software (OSS) content management system (Joomla!) we are in a good position to keep up with the quickly changing technology online and adding more functionality to the website. Open-source philosophy is one of truth, communal development, and the freedom to make necessary changes, and I consider it to be in line with the theosophical world-view, so I try to incorporate using OSS whenever practical. Many times this software is free to use, so this helps us spend money where we can get the most impact with it. In the near future we will be compiling a list of recommended software for lodges or groups to use so they don’t have to redo all the research we did to find it!

In addition to website development, I am also involved in the the Audio/Video department. We have a huge inventory of audio and video programs built up over the past 30+ years and much of it has not seen the light of day since it was recorded. This amount of material has been slowly transferred to digital format over the past 7 years and a small percentage has been available online.

We are now beginning a major project to get all A/V content uploaded to a new media library, which we hope to get online in 2012. With this migration we want give members and the public access to a vast range of resources to further their own path of studies. In addition to the upcoming media library, we have continued to expand our online live programs through the webcast lectures and more interactive virtual classroom webinars. Offering these programs online is one of the best ways we can reach a worldwide audience, often times doubling the number of attendance here at our national headquarters. As more people around the world get access to the internet, we will be in a strong position to reach a much wider audience than traditional forms of media.

Creative Commons

cc-logo

We are proud to announce that we are going to be changing our terms of use on the website. That may sound ominous, but I think the changes we are making will be agreeable to everyone who uses our website! We are going to license our audio programs under the Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Non-Derivatives license. What this means is that we want you to download our audios and share them! Just as we are giving them away for free, we want you to share them as well. Post them on your website. Email them to friends.

 

This license means we are waiving most of the typical copyright “all rights reserved” junk. Let me explain the rights we are reserving. Attribution means that you give us credit for producing this material. That means you point a link towards our website if you are using it on yours. Non-commercial means you don’t sell it. Non-Derivatives means that you can’t modify it. You can read more about the details of this license and how it works here. 

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ 

We feel this license is perfectly in-line with our mission, and we will also be looking at ways we can further impliment this license in other areas of our website.

New Technology Blog

this is my magical keyboard... sweet!

This is a new blog to explain what is going on behind the scenes in the technology world of the Theosophical Society in America. We will be posting on here to update you as to what is going on in the work of the TSA IT and AV departments! This will be a great way to stay informed of what kind of things are in the works for the website and beyond. 

 

We hope you will check back often to find out what new things we are tinkering with! 

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