Thank you for the replies.
I am amazed with Sutta Central. It certainly covers a great need quite well and has potential to get even better in the future.
As to a collection of ALL Buddhist scriptures in one full-featured database, I think there are reasons why it would be good to develop even though it would require lots of time, money, and people.
Being superlative in quality to anything else out there in terms of thoroughness and ease of use, it would become preeminent. Like Google. When in need of a search engine, everyone goes to Google because it’s by far the best. For a database of digitized scriptures, preeminence would be very valuable because it would displace dhamma-representations of inadequate quality.
It would appeal to the entire range of Buddhists sects, bringing them together to one place where they can more clearly see a reliable record of the differences and similarities in the evidence of what the Buddha actually taught. This could help reduce ignorance and misunderstandings. It could also make it more difficult for people to misrepresent the dhamma, because a ubiquitous and convenient reference could be easily checked to verify or falsify claims.
In short, it would increase the clarity of the Buddha dhamma in the world.
Humans who have not yet encountered the Buddha dhamma would be more likely to encounter it in a form whose accuracy has been preserved by the consensus of qualified scholars.
Humans who encounter this collection could more easily understand the history and differences of the scriptures than if they browsed through a bunch of repeatedly re-digested misrepresentations on the internet.
Humans who have already encountered misrepresentations of the Buddha dhamma could more easily see the inconsistencies and understand their cause.
It would help decrease the ignorant adherence to sects which are based on incorrect dhamma without hostile criticism.
Analysis of the scriptures would be much easier. For example, I could search for a sutta that I vaguely remember. The other day I couldn’t find the one where a guy asks the buddha if he will go to hell if he gets run over crossing a busy street while thinking akusala thoughts. I tried searching keywords on ATI and couldn’t find it. Also I was looking for a sutta I remember reading about how even a gift given without a particularly noble or pure intention is still meritorious. I searched ATI and I used the index in my Wisdom Pubs volumes and couldn’t find it. A complete database would have helped in those cases.
I could search any topic more easily because I could search across translations. For example, if I want to search for “effluents,” I could choose which scripture(s) to search in, and which translation(s) I want to see. Say I chose to include all available scriptures in the search, and specify that I want to see only translations in English. My search results could include suttas that use the translation “taints,” “fermentations,” etc., and their original sources might include “āsavā,” “อาสวา,” or “流.”
I could search by the date or location of scribing. Sri Lanka, Japan, 100CE, 1000CE, etc.
It could render interlinear versions which could be browsed online or printed with a free license. Here is an online interlinear rendition of Mark 7:15: http://biblehub.com/interlinear/mark/7-15.htm
showing 1) the original Greek script, 2) the original Greek in a romanized script, 3) a word-for-word translation to English, 4) a “parsing key” noting the tense and grammar of each word, and 5) a reference number to a glossary.
I know that what I’ve described would be a huge project, and it may be unrealistic to expect something so good to actually happen. And I know it’s not necessary. As it is, someone who wants to find good dhamma can do so. But I do see what I’ve described as ideal, and I do believe it’s possible. If I had billions of dollars I could just pay people to make it happen. Anyway, I hope that in this world with billions of people, and abundant resources and technology, the clarity and availability of the dhamma will improve.