- This library is a private, independent site. It and its content are wholly unofficial and are not sponsored or endorsed by any Bahá'í body or institution. It is not affiliated with the International Bahá'í Library. For official Bahá'í starting points, try www.bahai.org or us.bahai.org.
- Due to limited human resources, most material at this site is unedited, lacks diacritics, and may contain occasional errors; no items should be considered exact facsimiles of published originals. While all files have been proofread at least once for obvious errors and inaccuracies, no files have undergone the level of proofreading and fact verification to which official publications are subjected. Some articles have also been written by those for whom English is a second language; these may contain irregular style and spelling. As well, every document (save Sacred Writings) should be considered as representing the opinion or scholarship of the author only, and may not reflect either common Bahá'í belief or the opinions of the editors of this Library.
- Every copyrighted document appearing anywhere in the Library has been approved for posting by the author, editor, or publisher. See also notes on copyright for a discussion of "public domain" and "fair use."
- All pieces quoted from this site should be cited to give proper credit and/or responsibility for error to the authors and to myself. Conventions for internet citation are not yet universal, but a good resource of suggestions for citation is Melvin Page's A Brief Citation Guide for Internet Sources in History and the Humanities.
- While some of these documents have since been copied or linked to other web pages and thus appear elsewhere as well or have been html-ed and posted independently of this site, I have for the most part not reposted material elsewhere available on the internet. It is thus not a complete catalogue of academic Bahá'í material on the web, and the reader is advised to visit other academic sites.
- For a detailed discussion of the mandate, future needs, and current limitations of the Bahá'í Library, see Dharlene Valeda's "Organizing Digital Collections: the Case of the Bahá'í Academics Resource Library"
I'm occasionally asked why I began the Bahá'í Academics Resource Library. A few times in 1996 friends asked me to email them copies of some of my grad school papers. When I was asked for copies of one paper twice in one week in January 1997 I replied that I'd just figure out how to publish for the web, so I wouldn't have to email it a third time. That being done I thought, "well, now that one is up, I might as well post my other decent papers!" It then occurred to me that, since I had been collecting all the documents posted on Talisman 1 and other early internet groups, I must have one of the larger collections of articles, provisional translations, and letters from the Universal House of Justice in digital format. Spring break was coming up and I had a week free, and before I knew it or could stop (!) the Bahá'í Library had sprung.
Over the full year of 2003 the website was converted from a fully manual, fully HTML-based site to a dynamic database-driven site, custom programmed in PHP with a MySQL backend. To see an overview of this project and why it was needed, read the Vision Statement
(in PDF) prepared for the International Conference on Bahá'í Libraries and Archives, Landegg University, January 2003.
One can see the evolution of the Library by viewing some of its earlier incarnations:
- May 1997 (then housed at my student account chass.utoronto.ca/~jwinters and called "Bahá'í Academics Resource Page")
- December 1997 (then housed at www.interlog.com/~winters and called "Bahá'í Academics Resource Area")
- December 1998 (moved to an independent hosting account, bahai-library.org, and renamed "Bahá'í Academics Resource Library")
- December 1999
- December 2000
- December 2001
- December 2002
- December 2003 (transformed into a dynamic database site, moved to a dedicated server as bahai-library.com, and renamed "Bahá'î Library Online")
- December 2004
- December 2005
Numerous people have contributed to making this website as broad and comprehensive as it is, and space prevents my making a complete list. I would like to cite some of the earliest supporters and contributors of content, as a thank-you for their early recognition of the importance of the project and their willingness to help get it off the ground in its nascent years (1997-99). In chronological order: Sen McGlinn, Ahang Rabbani, Robert Stauffer, Denis MacEoin, Will van den Hoonaard, Robert Stockman, Thellie Lovejoy, Guilda Mickelson, Alison Marshall, Alan Couper, Duane Troxel, Anthony Lee, John Cornell, Dianne Bradford, Ralph Wagner, Shirley Macias, Seena Fazel, Mehdi Wolf, Alex Christian, and Joyce Raines. Since 2001 the chief assistant has been Brett Zamir
. Other current staff and supporters are included in the list of personal pages
Most of all, I thank the authors of items in the Library. The work of 150 years and hundreds of people is reflected in this site which, no matter how large, is still and always will be the tip of the Bahá'í scholarship iceberg.
Online Subject Catalog of Academic Resources select site