Online Babi and Bahai Studies

A suggested template for OBBS blogs

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About this blog

Posted by Sen on December 31, 2008

This blog exists simply to reserve the OBBS name and address; it will not operate as an academic abstracts blog. The idea is to reserve the “root” name, so that other blog owners who would like to apply the model of an academic abstracts blog (described below) in the field of Bahai studies will have to give each of their blogs a more specific name. For instance, if I wanted to run an abstracts blog on Bahai Theology, I could call it OBBS-theology, or OBBS-McGlinn. Someone else might like to start an OBBS-history-Persian, or OBBS-translations-French. By reserving the root name OBBS and then not using it, I ensure that no single abstracts blog in Bahai Studies appears to be the Bahai Studies abstracts blog. This, it is hoped, will avoid the objections which the Universal House of Justice has raised to an international online Journal of Bahai Studies. It ensures that each blog is visibly a personal effort in a specific field.

So what is an abstracts blog?

There are several places where papers in Babi and Bahai studies can be posted, for example to the bahai-library site:

http://www.bahai-library.org/

and the similar library in French, or to the author’s own web sites.
An OBBS blog selectively announces the new and existing papers available in such repositories which are of scholarly interest. The blog publishes abstracts, and the blog owner or owners warrant that the paper meets their standards for ‘scholarly interest.’

This avoids the name ‘journal’, and the claim-to-status, of having a referreed online journal, and avoids the implication of sponsorship or approval by any national or international Bahai institution.

Authors are free to send their paper to a relevant blog owner before putting it online, or to first workshop it on Tarikh or Tarjuman or elsewhere, but are not required to do so. The blog owner can search for content, or the author can submit an abstract and url to the blog owner by email or publicly, as a “comment” on a page reserved for newly submitted papers.

I suggest we need four blogs, for history, exegesis and philology, theology (thematic studies), and for translations, because the blog owner needs to have the expertise to evaluate work in the field, and so that rss subscribers can be selective. Those who don’t want to subscribe by rss can always go to the blog and use its search function and tags to locate the abstracts for a particular topic.

My experience with my free blog at wordpress (senmcglinn.wordpress.com) has been very good, although there are some bugs to correct in the new dashboard design. I learned how it worked quite quickly, and only changed the design once to get something satisfactory, which I have found to be a 3-column layout with a search function: the “Andreas09” theme designed by Andreas Viklund. I suggest that the OBBS blogs should all use the same theme, in different colours. I’ve chosen black for this “dummy’ version, since I suppose no-one will be wanting to use black.

Naturally this is a free-market idea: there is nothing to stop multiple competing blog-owners using the same working model on the same subject area, for example two on Babi-history, one with a “high academic standards” policy and one with an “encourage Bahai scholarship” policy. In that case the blogs can be differentiated by the owner’s name: we might have an OBBS-theology-Sen blog and another OBBS-theology-Peter.

I suggest getting started, using the existing material on Bahai-library, Moojan’s site, Ahang’s site, H-bahai, the OJBS and elsewhere. When one or two of the blogs have some content, Ismael or the individual blog owners can check back with the UHJ to see if this is now in line with their vision for the development of Bahai scholarship.

I have just enrolled for a Masters degree in Persian Studies at Leiden, and I have an application in for a PhD project, so for the next year at least I am going to be too busy to be an OBBS blog owner myself.

Please feel free to use the comments to this page to discuss things like a common ‘theme’ (page format), for questions about working the wordpress interface, and to announce your own OBBS blogs. I can add links to them, under a separate category for OBBS blogs

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OJBS moved

Posted by Sen on January 18, 2009

Although this blog is not meant to function as a blog, but simply as a demonstration of how a blog format could be used as an alternative to the academic journal format (by selecting and abstracting content hosted by the authors or elsewhere) – it seems appropriate to report here that the Online Journal of Bahai Studies has moved from
http://www.ojbs.org/
to http://oj.bahaistudies.net/

The content is thus saved for future readers. Whether the journal can continue to publish at that high standard remains to be seen

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