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Abstract:
Some structural or systemic improvements necessary for future Bahá'í Library expansion (excluding minor changes or new content), projected for 2022.
Notes:

Proposed Changes for Version 5

by Jonah Winters

2013/2023
Updates:

2023 July: The 501(c)(3) application is being processed this month, and after a 3-month pause we're beginning planning for the final steps of the migration.

2023 May: We have just filed incorporation papers for our non-profit! Continuing development on Version 5 is on hold at the moment, but our programmer has completed the migration of all content to AWS and we are again posting update and additions (though still using the legacy server).

2023 April: All of the site files and index pages, current to 2/23, are now functional in the cloud! Temporary URL: bahai-library-online.s3.eu-north-1.amazonaws.com.

2023 March: Our initial site migration to AWS is taking longer than anticipated, due to the sheer size of the Library (est. 79,000 distinct files, 141,000 internal links, an outdated database, and archaic code). But it is almost done! We have a new Patreon membership page to help support this extensive effort, which cannot be done without paid labor.

2023 March: Incorporating a 501(c)(3) non-profit is in process, and should be done by May.

2023 March: Set up facebook.com/bahai.library.online and patreon.com/bahai_library_online.

2023 February: The redevelopment is proceeding well, and we have issued our first-ever call for call for donations to pay for it.

2023 January: The redevelopment has begun in earnest, and the new Version 5 (beta) will be online by March!

2023 overview: Here is our roadmap for this year. Phase 1 is migrating the entire site from a dedicated server to AWS cloud hosting, and coding a wholly new, original backend, and writing specs for a future API — time estimate 6-8 weeks, completion date March. Phase 2 is creating the API, which will allow the new backend to interface with new and future front-ends — time estimate 1-2 weeks, completion date March. Phase 3 is creating new front-end interfaces, starting with mobile — time estimate unknown, completion date hopefully fall. Phase 4 is adding the much-needed new features to bring the site up to current Library Science standards — time estimate unknown, completion date hopefully December 2023. Phase 5 is data entry, specifically adding tags and other metadata — time estimate two years, completion date spring 2025.

2022 May: Behind-the-scenes changes have been coming along steadily; see Bahá'í Library Online at 25.

2021 September: Initial programming has begun! Updates will be posted when I receive them.

2021 August: Progress has begun on coordinating a team of programmers to build Version 5.

Update 2021 March: Version 5 initial development and planning has begun.

Every few years the Library grows enough to warrant a sub-version number. Once every 5-10 years the Library evolves enough to require a whole new version; see past versions. This document will track proposed changes to Version 5, circa 2021-2023. It will not include all requested changes, as there are too many to possibly consider; see all those in Brett's and my To-Do list. Rather, this document will list changes that are more feasible or more necessary.

Some planned changes:
  1. Mobile interface
  2. From-scratch rewrite of desktop interface
  3. Unified database, e.g. wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_public_access_catalog and wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_library_system
  4. Authority control for authors: wikipedia.org/wiki/Authority_control, which would also solve the problem of multiple spellings, e.g. "Masumian" and "Ma'sumian", name changes, and items with many authors
  5. Edit/version history
  6. Licenses and permissions. Separate editor/publisher. Change "open copyright". See http://opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical
  7. Make public metadata search options, e.g. search Abstract or Parent or Publisher, plus full-catalogue output
  8. Tag table / master subject index
  9. Native push notifications
  10. EndNote and Marc export
  11. Crowdsourcing-capable multi-editor system with versioning and rollback functions, à la Wikipedia
  12. Incorporate diversity awareness, e.g. disclaimers on certain documents with now-outdated racial or non-inclusive terms
  13. Document-submission portal, scanned with VirusTotal, allowing for receiving, categorizing, vetting, editing, tagging
  14. Ensuring accessibility, e.g. for blind users
Design proposals:
  1. Logo, fonts, and colors concept art: zein_logo_design_concept_2022.pdf
Mistakes and other to-do:
  • multiple-authorship issues, e.g. Cole and UHJ
  • check "published as" fields
  • loss of initial punctuation in titles in Editing window
  • deal with redirects, e.g. bahai-library.com/ruhiyyih_passing_shoghi_effendi (should be khanum_passing_shoghi-effendi)
  • move "ed." from volume field to new "editor" field for books
  • deal with surname fields e.g. "van den" / "Hoonaard"
  • Begin archiving regional newsletters, including sending requests to the Institutions
  • Title search issues: how search for a title that has embedded HTML (italics, ampersands, m-dashes)?
  • Make other language documents more prominent
  • Combined searches, e.g. search for Tags "Philosophy + Free will", or search Author + Date
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