Wednesday, December 17, 2003

BSW developments

I've sometimes expressed my disappointment over the BSW: Biblical Studies on the Web site recently because a once fine site has been badly in need of an overhaul -- its links pages years out of date, the Multi-Library Search having disappeared and so on. I've also found it impossible to communicate with them -- emails simply bounce. (The one thing that has remained up-to-date has been their free on-line version of Biblica, a very useful contribution). But the good news is that there is some movement on the site. Some of you may, like me, have received a circular yesterday advertising their service to provide "a new means of sharing biblical links and allow you to insert your own contributions into our site Biblical Studies on the WEB". The idea is to build a directory by soliciting contributions:

WWW Biblical Theology Index

I've had a go with it myself and have submitted a handful of links (of my own, I'm afraid!) and it works well, instantly adding them to the site. It looks like I am one of the first people to do this -- there are only a few other links currently available.

It's a great idea and has the potential to be pretty useful. But at this stage my main concern would be that it is potentially open to abuse. Will the site simply fill up with dodgy submissions and self-promotions? The site maintainers are hoping to overcome this problem by checking the site on a weekly basis and weeding out anything that is inappropriate. But it will need some devoted and knowledgeable staff to do that if the number of submissions does rise. There is also the problem of the marginal cases -- the site could get filled with sites that are in that fuzzy area of are they / aren't they quality academic resources. But I don't want to be negative; I'm just mentioning some potential qualms; let's hope that these potential problems are easy to overcome. All strength to their arm for coming up with the innovative resource. I would want to encourage people to submit their quality links to the site, and ideally not just their own materials but those of others that they find useful.

Email contact to BSW does seem to be working again now, and I hear from Roger Boily that the site is in the process of moving hosts so that further fixes should be on the way.

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