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Early history

TaoTao-Project begun when the project developer, Mr. Mikael Ikivesi, decided to study Traditional Chinese medicine in Finland. Availability of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture material were limited in Finland. In Finnish language there was only one good book. Availability of English books was better but it was still necessary to order them aboard. And even then only the best known classics were translated to English.

Many Classics of the Chinese medicine and acupuncture were easily available in Chinese both in electronic and physical form. The natural solution for a nerd was to create a computer programs to ease the laborious task of studying classics in their original language. The first tools were crude forms of the dictionary and word for word matrix translator. These first tools marked the beginning of TaoTao-Project in year 2003.

At the beginning the project was small textual database with command line programs to search and translate. While trying to study medical classics one constantly needs to refer Taoist and Buddhist texts for deeper understanding of concepts, terms and philosophy. As Ikivesi fell more and more in love with Taoist philosophy the decision was made to add Taoist and Buddhist texts as well. Before TCM Ikivesi had started comparative religions studies and collected English texts about mysticism, esoterism, religions and folk/alternative medicine practices. These texts were also added for comparative reasons. During these first years TaoTao-Project was invite-only project with small user base from other students and friends with similar interests.

Going public

During 2007 the first “public” version was demonstrated in Pozoamargo, Spain.
The Taoist Neijing -school of Finland sponsored demonstration at international seminar of Chinese Medicine in Tian (Chinese medicine school and research center), Spain.

The project was finally published in 2009. To ease user interaction the forums were created and dictionaries including Shuowen and A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms by William Edward Soothill and Lewis Hodous was added. Few thousand texts were also included at this stage.

New direction

The International Taoist Forum (2011) sparked again the old dream of collaborative translation of Taoist Canon and medical classics. During the forum people showed interest in translating classics in collaborative manner. Since then the project has been rewritten to use MySQL for better scalability and faster development. The aim is to create more Wikipedia-like platform where the texts are available for everyone without registration or fees.

Now all the pages are user editable to enable means for shared proofreading in both Chinese originals and the translations. Proofreading is crucial as the texts in the database have usually gone through optical character recognition (OCR) and even the best OCR software make errors in recognizing some characters. Every page can also have multiple discussion threads about the text. The page history and ability to review and revert changes both safeguards against accidental destruction of pages and also provides a way to follow work of other editors.

The old version of the TaoTao-Project is still available from Old TaoTao-Project
The old version has not been maintained during 2012. Most dictionaries were removed while converting them. Some of the search indexes are also now a bit aged. The old version is available for documents only and will be removed after the material is moved to new site.

Old user accounts are not being directly transferred to new site because of the policy changes in visibility of user accounts.