Thursday, November 19, 2009

How and Why the NT Gateway was Rebooted, Revitalized and Relaunched II

In this post, I will begin exploring the history and evolution of the NT Gateway as part of a series of posts related to my forthcoming presentation at SBL.

I am actually tempted to subtitle my talk, "How the Logos changed my life". This is a story about how I came to the brink of despair with the site I had created, nurtured and developed over many years. I had devoted countless hours to the NT Gateway. I loved the site. I was proud of it. Everyone seemed to know about it. Students in their thousands were using it regularly, and even the crustiest technophobe scholars were recommending it as a kind of one-stop shop for finding reputable online resources on the New Testament. It won awards. Libraries all over the world were linking to it. People used to tell me that if you googled for "New Testament", and hit "I feel lucky", you'd end up on the NT Gateway. I would get daily emails thanking me for the work I had done. I felt lucky.

All this time, a problem was brewing. The site was getting bigger and bigger as internet resources expanded out of all recognition. And as my career progressed, I was getting less and less time to devote to the site, with the kind of demands that suck the time and energy out of the academic's life. The NT Gateway was beginning to suffer. I began to worry that the naysayers might have been right all along. Perhaps, after all, it is too much work for one person. Perhaps I should have been concentrating only on my research. I knew that if I had devoted less time to it, I would indeed have published much more. I had become a victim of my site's success.

But I did not want to call time on the site. I had already had to retire its sister, the All-in-One Biblical Resources Search. That site was born ten years ago, and in 2003 I announced the latest version to CARG. Not long afterwards, I had to concede that I had been overtaken by changes in technology and my own inability to pour the hours needed into maintaining it effectively. It would be an admission of defeat to let the NT Gateway go too and by now I felt a kind of responsibility to keep it going for the sake of my colleagues who were still telling me how useful they found it. But what was to be done?

In my next post, I will explain how Logos came to the rescue, and what happened next.

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