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Abstract:
Guidance from the Baha'i World Centre to two NSAs, that the process of "literature review" does not apply to the Internet for informal publications (like personal blogs), but it does apply for formal ones (like e-journals).
Notes:
Letter #1 submitted by and posted with permission of recipient, who was inquiring about sharing a book-length compilation from and reflections on the Sacred Writings. Letter #2 excerpted only. Both originals on file.

While these letters were not written "on behalf" of the Universal House of Justice, they do have the imprimatur of having been issued by the Baha'i Internet Agency, an agency of the World Centre serving the House.

See also a compilation, Reviewing: Practice and Functions of Literature Review.


The Internet and Literature Review

by / on behalf of Bahá'í Internet Agency

2011-02-17

1. Letter #1 from the World Centre to an NSA: review "does not apply to the Internet medium"

"Publishing on the Internet"
From: Secretariat of the National Spiritual Assembly of ...
Date: Thu, Feb 17, 2011

Dear Mr. ...:

Concerning your request for the NSA of ... to review the material you wish to publish on the internet, we have received guidance from the Baha´i Internet Agency at the World Centre. They have clarified that the policy of pre-publication review does not apply to the Internet medium where "content is amenable to easy change and revision". They also mention that "individual initiative is encouraged, and learning through trial and error is valued", however, "the standards of accuracy and dignity should still of course be observed".

As it was explained on an earlier message, the NSA of ... does not have the resources to review and formally approve the document. Therefore, if you wish to proceed with the efforts of publishing on the Internet, as it is mentioned above the standards of accuracy and dignity must be observed.
    With loving regards,
    Secretariat@...

2. Letter #2 from the World Centre to an NSA: review is required for "electronic books"

Excerpt from a letter of the Bahá’í Internet Agency to a National Spiritual Assembly, as emailed to an individual by the U.S. Review Office
[date of source unknown; quotation shared by Review Office in October 2012]
The emerging category of "electronic books" is subject to the usual pre-publication review process, and manuscripts intended for publication as electronic books should be submitted to the National Assembly. In general, though, the policy of review does not apply to the Internet medium, where content is amenable to easy change and revision, and individual initiative is encouraged. In essence, a distinction should be drawn between informal efforts of individuals who might post content on a personal Web page, blog or social networking feed, and more formal undertakings such as an "electronic book," or an online journal that has some sort of institutional sponsorship (whether Bahá’í or non-Bahá’í). In the latter two circumstances, adherence to the spirit of the policy of review would still obtain and the appropriate committee of the National Assembly should be contacted. This also would be true of substantive revisions to content in e-books that have previously gone through the review process.

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