I remember around 6 years ago thinking of an idea of somehow merging Gurbani in a textual format with the audio recordings of the same Shabad. This way whenever you read a text version of Gurbani you can hear many different recordings of that shabad sung, and vice versa when you are listening to Gurbani that you could easily see the meaning and actual shabad text. Back then it just seemed too big of a project, so every year I just pushed it into the back of my mind with the hope that "one day" we could create such a system.
I always find that everything comes at the right time. Often when I want something to happen now it doesn’t, no matter how hard "I" try to "MAKE IT" happen. When you do things for the greater good then the Guru always makes sure things happen at the right time & only if it should happen. It’s great to know the Guru is looking out for you and helping!
Many years ago at SikhNet we started the Gurbani Archive project which was there to provide a large archive of Gurbani audio for people to listen to as well as archive/digitize old recordings that are on cassette tapes and audio reels. This system has served the online community for MANY years, however was badly in need of improvements since it was getting out-dated and had many limitations. For many years we had put off these improvements because we had too many projects going on, however this year we decided to make it happen!
When you create something totally new that has not been done yet, it is quite challenging because you are in essence "inventing" something new and don’t have reference to compare with. We had to think of all the potential uses of the new system and figure out what would be useful for people. There were many technical issues in relation to Gurbani that we had to consider for the system in order to provide different ways to organize/browse the Gurbani, as well as uploading, search and adding of Gurbani "lyrics".
These days the problem is not having information, but being able to process the information because there is just too much of it! If you are like me and have a lot of audio mp3 files on your computer you’ll know the the challenge is not having music to listen to but finding and deciding WHAT to listen to. There are must too many choices and it is overwhelming! Most of the time I just use random shuffle or listen to SikhNet radio so that I don’t have to think about it.
With the Gurbani Media center we are attempting to have a much more organized system to browse and discover new audio. There are so many new ways that you can now explore Gurbani, like browsing by Writer, Raag, Ang, or just hearing other recordings of the same shabad. The A lot of time and thought went into all the parts of the Gurbani Media center, much of which might not be apparent at first glance, but hopefully after using it for a while you’ll appreciate more.
One of the goals of the Gurbani Media Center was to make it open so that everyone can be a part of the project and contribute Gurbani to the website easily. Now everyone can upload Gurbani and help build the site! You just login, upload your files and then add details to your audio. Through user profiles you can make new friends, discover new musicians and explore Gurbani in many ways.
The other part that I feel was lacking was recognition and information about musicians. Whether you are are local musician who plays kirtan in your local Gurdwara from time to time, or are world famous, there is a place to share this kirtan and have a "page" on the internet. Now each musician has their own profile page with information about them, links, pictures, music, etc.
This project which was expected to take about 2 months to finish (May-Jun) took over 7 months! This is one of the reasons I have not been able to post much on MrSikhNet.com because I have deep in development work for this project as well as juggling the other SikhNet activities that we do during the year.
I know often times we enjoy technology and and have no idea of what went into creating it. This one particular project I sincerely hope that people enjoy and benefit from. I hope you take the time to explore the new website and share ideas and feedback. Check out the Gurbani Media Center at: www.sikhnet.com/gurbani
I also ask for your help, because every year at this time we ask for your financial support in any amount so that we can continue to provide services such as this. So, I hope that you will take a moment right now and make donation to support SikhNet. Only an extremely small number of regular sikhnet visitors support SikhNet (0.33%)and we really do need your support. So, please give whatever amount you can afford and help us keep serving the global Sikh community!
I made some videos to help give an overview of the new Gurbani Media Center website. Watch the overview video below: