Baha'i archives inaccessible -- not for long!

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Posted by Jonah ( on October 03, 2002 at 20:14:05:

In Reply to: Re: Baha'i scholarship is academically sound posted by Dawud on October 03, 2002 at 19:19:27:

mention should be made of the Baha'i authorities' reprehensible practice of opening their archives only to the extent that it is likely to further their goals
I'm not necessarily agreeing with that statement, because I know that many of the obstacles to accessing archives are merely practical: it takes significant time, money, and staff to allow open access to archives. But I'm chiming in to observe that the limited access to materials is gradually becoming a non-issue, thanks to the internet and sites such as this one or H-Baha'i, which features a large number of Arabic and Persian texts. I personally am limited only by time and money -- if funding came in, I'd promptly hire a handful of eager assistants to help post things, and within a year we could have a tremendous amount of archival material online, free, for global use. I venture to guess that by 2010 this site and others like it will have such a large percentage of archival material online that no-one will be complaining anymore about limited access to sources. Just look at for example, a catalogue of 180 fairly obscure articles which have been provided to me in high-resolution digital format and are only awaiting OCR assistance before going online. If another 100 such scanned collections come in, we'd have 90% of everything ever published in English online! The limitations are merely financial (volunteer help is great and I get lots of offers, but to get enough reliable, dependable, skilled labor I really have to pay for it).


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