CR future

iBrian

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I made a rather large number of submissions to the DMOZ directory a while back - namely for individual texts on the CR site itself.

After a while I received a reply effectively asking if I could clarify something of CR's use of textual material, and future aims, for consideration of links in the DMOZ directory itself.

I made the following reply - and effectively stated my current future vision of CR. I thought I'd repost it here, so people may be well aware of my intentions and current thinking. :)


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Hi Stephen –

And thanks for the reply, and apologies also for the lateness of this one – I did wonder about the entire issue of linking up the Apocrypha from omparative-religion.com via DMOZ, and your patience in formulating such an extensive reply is certainly appreciated.

The site www.comparative-religion.com (CR), is indeed a private site, but there is every intention of it having a long-term future.

The primary aims of CR are two-fold:

1/ to bring about major spiritual textual collections in a single place that no other site does
2/ to be as accessible as possible to the general lay reader

Although other sites do a remarkable job of bringing so many religious and spiritual texts together, CR tries to keep focussed on the central core texts of any particular religion and/or faith. We also make a point of using copyright-free works, as well as chasing up copyrighted translations and using them with permission only.

In that respect CR aims to be single carefully focussed collection. Although this may mean there is some repetition with other online libraries, CR differs in being more comprehensive where it needs to be.

The issue of the NT Apocrypha is a case in point – there are a number of collections on the internet of apocryphal writings, but none of them actually seeks to be a single comprehensive and authoritative source of all known NT Apocrypha. Although CR does not yet host a complete collection, so far as I know, it remains by far the most extensive on the internet – hence why there were so many submissions to DMOZ..

The frustrating thing is that educational institutions, with far less complete collections, are often given particular prominence on the internet. On the one hand, this is obviously because CR is a relatively much newer site, and so it has yet to properly earn a wider reputation on the internet for its successes. On the other, though, it does feel a little unfair that educational establishments – often with smaller collections, and less focussed aims towards specific texts and categories – should enjoy some degree of favouritism simply for being a public education establishment. I do quite appreciate the reasoning on this, though. DMOZ linking is something I see as helping to make CR – and it’s collection of NT Apocrypha – much more accessible and visible to the wider internet.

On saying that, though, there is a lot on CR that is woefully incomplete – I *do* need to update various sections. The NT Apocrypha specifically needs updating with missing texts, and I also need to write at least a short introduction to each text, providing a short background to each – history, usage, translator notes as available. etc.

Things have been a bit slowed on the admin side these past few months, after my becoming a father again, and also starting self-employment. CR as a project remains constantly attended, though.

The future of CR involves focussing on building and adding new required content, specifically where major religious texts are absent or not properly annotated. There is also room for essays on various other religious paths to be covered. A near aim is to also to develop a much bigger body of articles, and focussing on developing that through user contributions.

So far I’ve been exceptionally cautious on loosing control from the one-man operation that it has been, namely because I consider it highly important that the project continues to move on and grow. However, this is changing, and a core multifaith team of staff is developing nicely via the CR interfaith forums. This is an asset I’ll be looking to use in the near future with regards to them helping develop textual collections for their own specific faiths.

Ultimately, CR is and will become more of a community project – more akin to something “open source” than “institutional” – a group of dedicated individuals working with enthusiasm outside of the advantages and disadvantages of the institutional model.

There are also some limited but serious plans to take on private sponsorship, to help develop specific areas – paid article submissions, for example. However, this aspect is being considered as something to add to CR as a site, rather than control it – which has to remain user-based in terms of contributions.

This is where it’s ultimate future lies. There is already a strong community growing via the CR interfaith forums, and I really see this as being the main source of future contributions, as well as being the source of the future shared administrative rights – to take this project truly into a project of international interfaith co-operation, where each path can be represented fairly and with due respect on a content-rich site.

I hope that answers something of your questions. :)

As to submissions – you are welcome to delete all current submissions for CR in the early Christian writings section of DMOZ. Some of the URLs may well have changed since first submission, and I would be happy to resubmit as required once I properly update all of the files in question.

If you would like my help on an editorial level I would also be happy to contribute – I did actually apply a while back for one of the early Christian writing sections, but never recorded an answer in reply. Resource-zone suggested this would almost certainly have been a rejection, I would imagine as a result of submitting links to the category I submitted to edit – though I would actually be perfectly happy to help with any of the religion sub-categories in DMOZ. Just thought I’d mention that.

Best regards,

Brian
http://www.comparative-religion.com
 
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