Star of the West: Use of, in Electronic Form
by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice1999-03-03
To: The Universal House of Justice
Date: 3 March 1999
From: Research Department
The Research Department has considered the question raised by Mrs. Erica Toussaint in her email message of 27 December 1998. Mrs. Toussaint states that she and Mr. Chad Jones are involved in a "two-year long electronic scanning project" to make some of the secondary writings of the Faith available in electronic form. As part of this project, searchable electronic text of the Star of the West, volumes 1-25, is being made available, with a feature reminding users that "much of this material falls into the category of 'pilgrim's notes'". Since "some of the material in the Star of the West is not authenticated or is inaccurate," Mrs. Toussaint asks if the Universal House of Justice has any policy regarding republishing the Star of the West in electronic form. We reply as follows;
We have not been able to find any statement by the Universal House of Justice prohibiting the republication of the Star of the West volumes. Mrs. Toussaint may be interested in the following extract from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, giving some guidelines on the use of the Star of the West volumes:
The House of Justice gave its permission for a republication of the volumes of Star of the West with the provision that the reproduction should be exactly as the originals with no additions, omissions, or comment, except for a brief publisher's note.One may thus conclude that making the "exact text" of the Star of the West volumes available in a searchable electronic form would be quite permissible.
Further, we have noted Mrs. Toussaint's statement that the computer program will have a feature reminding the users of the electronic version of the Star of the West that "much of this material falls into the category of 'pilgrim's notes'". In light of the fact that no comprehensive study of the Star of the West volumes has been made, it may be better to state that the authenticity of much of the material in these volumes has not been verified.
Finally, we express the hope that the project will achieve its aims and that its results will prove to be valuable tools for Bahá'í scholarship.