Read: Baha'i Library Online notes, history, statistics

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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:
  1. May 1997 (then housed at my student account and called "Bahá'í Academics Resource Page")
  2. December 1997 (then housed at and called "Bahá'í Academics Resource Area")
  3. December 1998 (moved to an independent hosting account,, and renamed "Bahá'í Academics Resource Library")
  4. December 1999
  5. December 2000
  6. December 2001
  7. December 2002
  8. December 2003 (transformed into a dynamic database site, moved to a dedicated server as, and renamed "Bahá'î Library Online")
  9. December 2004
  10. 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.

Awards (1997-2002)

Key Resource
Online Subject Catalog of Academic Resources select site v2.7 (213613) © 2005 - 2015 Emanuel V. Towfigh & Peter Hoerster | Imprint | Change Interface Language: DE EN