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Initial idea for this index
18/Apr/2006

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From: Kent Smith
Reply To: kent@westside.org
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 1:07 PM
To: Stanley, Christopher
Subject: re: a conversation at the SBL Annual Meeing

Dear sir,

I'm the person that accosted you moments before the second Seminar at the SBL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. I will try to spell out my idea a little more fully or clearly. If I can be of help I would be glad to offer what little I can. My particular area of interest is original context meaning vs recontextualized meaning of the citations. You can see why I find all your work so important.

My idea is an outgrowth of the same frustration that was being expressed in the Seminar: Once we get started digging around in any part of this field it turns into a labyrinth of related issues. Each scholar (and other interested people like myself) have their own specific focus and interest, but it is difficult to keep from branching out in all directions. We need the information and some conclusions from these other areas in order to properly study and research our own area.

As a result of this situation each scholar and student is having to develop at least partial bibliographies in a wide range of fields. Undoubtedly there are scholars who have a thorough bibliography in each of these areas but we have no mechanism for sharing or comparing.

From this situation comes my suggestion of creating a shared, on-line bibliography. The technology is available, it is merely a matter of deciding which option to take. Free but sometimes uncontrolled methods such as Wiki, RSS feeds or Blog software could handle such a shared system. A more formal, flexible and controlled method would be through a University, using their database system (Oracle, Db2, or SQLServer) and whatever HTML front-end that is standard for that school. Using modern tools such as MySQL and Eclipse would allow customization but, even though I could set up such a system, I would advise against this approach since that then becomes proprietary.

If making a bibliographical entry on-line was quick and easy, we would then need only to get a commitment from 12 scholars to make 1 entry a day, 5 days a week (1 minute of their time each day) to have almost 800 entries in a quarter.

Some decisions that would need to come from a steering committee of scholars would include: What topics would be included, or who decides > when a new topic is allowed; are there any limitations on who makes entries; are annotations allowed and if so are there controls to be placed upon them > -> or are multiple annotations encouraged; is there to be any recognition or acknowledgment for those participating; will some kind of acknowledgment be expected for users of this bibliography in their writings.

[By the way, a side suggestion, somewhat tongue in cheek and somewhat seriously: As a part of this Bibliography could we include a glossary? As noted in the meeting and in various writings (especially by Dr. Porter) a lot of scholars use a lot of different words for the same thing and a lot of different meanings for the same word...]> I hope you find this suggestion useful.

Kent Smith

Minister of Christian Education and Youth
West Side Presbyterian Church
kent@westside.org <mailto:kent@westside.org>
201-652-1966x12
AIM: westsidekent

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