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aebrown
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#11

Post by aebrown »

kristacook wrote:Obviously, the entire Handbook should not be available online to everyone for the reasons you mention, but a great deal of it does apply to ordinary members. I was sick on a recent Sunday, my husband told me an official letter was read in Sacrament Meeting instructing members not to use visual aids in Sacrament talks or ask the congregation to look up scriptures during a Sacrament talk. My husband is very reliable but I would like to read the official letter or at least be able to look up the specific wording. This guidance is aimed directly at members.

I think this is an excellent suggestion. Those official letters that are specificially designated to be read in sacrament meetings should be available online. There is no issue of confidentiality, since the general public is invited to attend sacrament meetings. But if you miss that one meeting for whatever reason, you miss hearing the message that was important enough for the Church to send out tens of thousands of copies of the letter, and devote several hundred hours of time to reading in all the units of the Church.

So it would be helpful to have a respository of such letters available (and searchable) on lds.org.
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#12

Post by jbh001 »

Alan_Brown wrote:I think this question is heading towards the question of how much of the Handbook is available online,
I thought the entire handbook was online, but required a special login to access, just like the online Church Directory of Organizations and Leaders that only bishops, stake presidents, etc. have access to. Since I have never been a branch president, bishop, or stake president I've not had a way to check this out. Then again, maybe I misunderstood what my bishop was talking about when he seemed to make reference to the handbook being online. Regardless, It isn't something that is ever likely to be posted to the 'Net for general access, so how to search it is a moot point.
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aebrown
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#13

Post by aebrown »

jbh001 wrote:I thought the entire handbook was online, but required a special login to access, just like the online Church Directory of Organizations and Leaders that only bishops, stake presidents, etc. have access to. Since I have never been a branch president, bishop, or stake president I've not had a way to check this out. Then again, maybe I misunderstood what my bishop was talking about when he seemed to make reference to the handbook being online. Regardless, It isn't something that is ever likely to be posted to the 'Net for general access, so how to search it is a moot point.

I'm quite sure the Handbook is not available online. I tend to see every technology-related letter that comes to my stake president, and there has been nothing along these lines.
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#14

Post by lajackson »

jbh001 wrote:I thought the entire handbook was online, but required a special login to access, just like the online Church Directory of Organizations and Leaders that only bishops, stake presidents, etc. have access to.
No, the handbook is not online, even for stake presidents.
kristacook-p40
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What about the other example?

#15

Post by kristacook-p40 »

Alan_Brown wrote:Well, this is not really an example of any portion of the Handbook being available online. Rather, it is a reference to a letter (and not the letter itself) that was sent to bishops and stake presidents (and was not read in sacrament meetings), and which covers material that will almost certainly be in the Handbook, Book 2, when the new Book 2 comes out.

I think this question is heading towards the question of how much of the Handbook is available online, which (as has been previously mentioned) is not the province of this forum. There are many reference to the Handbook throughout the Church's public websites, but that does not mean that the Handbook or even an index to the Handbook will ever be online.
Family, Home and Personal Enrichment IS the better example for the point I was trying to make. I'm puzzled as to why you would ignore it and focus on only one of the three examples I cited. The section I referred to concerning Enrichment has crucial information such as when the new guidelines were issued and when they took effect, the REASONS things were changed and a COMPARISON of the old and new guidelines -- all crucial information for those responsible for implementing the guidelines. ALL OF THIS IS ONLINE. I don't know what I would have done without it. When I bought my copy of the Relief Society Handbook instructions from the Distribution Center I was dismayed to discover it hadn't been updated since 1998. The copyright date was not, and is not, included on the Distribution Center web site or any other clue as to when it was updated. If I had known this I might not have bought it. (Oops, it is free, I might not have ordered it.) I needed to know what additions or alterations there were in order to fulfill my calling. If these Enrichment guidelines had not been online I don't know what I would have done.

From many of the postings on this issue, I'm perplexed as to why people think that much of the guidance in the Handbook should be considered secret, sacred, confidential and untouchable. It is a detailed, working document that should be, and is, updated regularly to meet the administrative needs of a complex organization trying to function on a day-to-day basis in a complex and and rapidly changing world.

One of my primary goals in any calling I serve in is to make certain that I follow any guidance given by the church, even when I do not understand it completely. But, in order to follow it, I must know what it is. I have tried to make use of the digital tools the church provides us with in any way I can. These tools are a gold mine of information. I have high expectations that hese tools will continue to improve and evolve in positive ways. http://www.lds.org/pa/display/0,17884,4690-1,00.html is a wonderful example of digital tools that I would like to see more of on the web site.

I thought this was a forum for suggesting and evaluating ways to improve these digital tools. What I have discovered instead, is that it seems to be dominated by those itching for a fight, selective interpretation of comments and ignorance.

If no one knows anything about the challenges of picture indexing, indexing/abstracting, back-of-the book indexing, embedded indexing, creating and managing databases, boolean searching, proximity search tools, wild cards, truncation and other elementary concepts in information science then I am wasting my time. I'll not visit LDSTech in the future.
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aebrown
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#16

Post by aebrown »

Before I respond to any specific issues you raised, let me clarify how this forum works. I fear that you have been sorely disappointed because you had expectations that this forum would operate differently from the way it is designed .

First of all, practically every participant in the forum is a volunteer. We have various callings, experience, and knowledge, but hardly anyone is a Church employee. I certainly am not. Even the Church employees who participate have full-time jobs and manage to carve out a little time to be helpful. I volunteer my time because I like to help people, and I have a desire to help increase the knowledge base of helpful information.

Second, there is no guarantee that any particular question will be answered. However, those of us who have been designated as moderators try to make sure that people aren't left dangling. If we do neglect a question, we appreciate a brief reminder. I've never seen a question ignored when a reminder is posted.

Third, although there are some talented, smart people who participate in the forum, no one is perfect, and we all have areas of strength and weakness. Occasionally someone will post something that is in error; when this happens, usually another forum participant will attempt to get the correct information out. This process requires patience and humility on everyone's part. This forum does extraordinarily well in the level of civility, but even this forum is not the city of Enoch.

Fourth, some questions will be asked where no one on the forum has the expertise or authority to answer it, or the question is just not in the realm of the LDS Technology Forum. When that happens, we just have to move on, and look for answers elsewhere.
kristacook wrote:Family, Home and Personal Enrichment IS the better example for the point I was trying to make. I'm puzzled as to why you would ignore it and focus on only one of the three examples I cited. The section I referred to concerning Enrichment has crucial information such as when the new guidelines were issued and when they took effect, the REASONS things were changed and a COMPARISON of the old and new guidelines -- all crucial information for those responsible for implementing the guidelines. ALL OF THIS IS ONLINE. I don't know what I would have done without it. When I bought my copy of the Relief Society Handbook instructions from the Distribution Center I was dismayed to discover it hadn't been updated since 1998. The copyright date was not, and is not, included on the Distribution Center web site or any other clue as to when it was updated. If I had known this I might not have bought it. (Oops, it is free, I might not have ordered it.) I needed to know what additions or alterations there were in order to fulfill my calling. If these Enrichment guidelines had not been online I don't know what I would have done.

I did try to address two of the three examples you raised. On one of them I made a separate postwhere I completely agreed with you. I apologize for neglecting the third. I agree with you that the Relief Society handled this issue very well, and posted great information to help local leaders with the new policy. I'd love to see more issues handled that way, but I certainly understand that some issues may be more sensitive and won't be handled as publicly. Also, different departments and organizations in the Church may choose to put a different level of emphasis on online resources.
kristacook wrote:From many of the postings on this issue, I'm perplexed as to why people think that much of the guidance in the Handbook should be considered secret, sacred, confidential and untouchable. It is a detailed, working document that should be, and is, updated regularly to meet the administrative needs of a complex organization trying to function on a day-to-day basis in a complex and and rapidly changing world.

I hope I didn't characterize the Handbook that way. I was merely trying to explain that very little of the Handbook is online. That decision was made by those in authority over such matters. Given the tremendous effort the Church has put into the many official web sites of the Church, I am confident that this decision was not made because anyone is lazy or trying to make it hard for faithful saints to do their callings, but that there were very good reasons for that decision. But I don't think anyone on this forum was involved in that decision, and so we can only speculate on the reasons, which doesn't seem particularly useful.

I personally would love to see much more of the Handbook and updates to it posted online, but I respect the authority of those who made those decisions. The information regarding updates flows to local leadership, and those stake presidents and bishops and other local leaders have a responsibility under the current system to distribute that information. The Church makes great efforts to make sure that people have the information they need, but it does not always come in the ways that we might prefer.
kristacook wrote:I thought this was a forum for suggesting and evaluating ways to improve these digital tools. What I have discovered instead, is that it seems to be dominated by those itching for a fight, selective interpretation of comments and ignorance.

I truly apologize if I have appeared to be "itching for a fight"; my only goal was to share what I know and to try to help. I am sorry I gave you that impression, and I freely admit that I am ignorant on many subjects.
kristacook wrote:If no one knows anything about the challenges of picture indexing, indexing/abstracting, back-of-the book indexing, embedded indexing, creating and managing databases, boolean searching, proximity search tools, wild cards, truncation and other elementary concepts in information science then I am wasting my time. I'll not visit LDSTech in the future.

I dare say that these skills exist among the nearly 3000 users, but not all are active every day or every week. I have experience in three or four of them, but am completely ignorant on others. Of course, I am no expert in information science; I have many years of experience in software development. The idea of the forum is that lots of people pool their knowlege to help each other, but it's an imperfect system.

If you do decide to leave, we'll be sorry to see you go. You have raised some important issues, and I thank you for that.
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#17

Post by jdlessley »

kristacook is expressing some concerns about the availability, or lack thereof, of published Church guidance and other materials on-line and the ability, or inability, to do searches for that information. I agree with her now, and have for some time, that it is really frustrating to find that not enough of very important published information is available on-line or is not in a searchable form. I also think the search tools are not robust enough or very user friendly as is available in numerous other web sources outside the Church.

With that said I have learned to be patient and understanding of the Church’s growth in the area of technologies that have become commonplace or even ubiquitous in the rest of the modern world. The Church is an extremely large organization. Unlike other organizations that can quickly adopt and adapt the latest technologies for their needs, our resources must be and are more frugally managed. I am surprised that the Church has progressed as far and as fast as has been done in the past four years.

Yes, there is room for improvement. The technologies forums are a tool being used to do just that.

There has been discussion about the availability of the Church Handbook of Instructions on-line. I agree it would be nice to have it available. I also understand there are issues that keep it from being available on-line. Most of my thoughts about those issues are speculation and therefore I will not address them. What is evident is that the Church Handbook of Instructions is an evolving document. It has been years since Book 1 was released yet there still is still no companion Book 2. Because the two books are not in sync I can see why the Church has not made either available on-line. (OK, so I let slip some speculation.) Once Book 2 is released I would expect to see sit available on-line some time after that (Ooooh – more speculation).
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#18

Post by WelchTC »

kristacook wrote:
4. I'd also like to be able to search scriptures specifically -- I mean ones quoted in materials like Sunday School Manuals and church magazines. I've tried to manipulate the "Search Gospel Library" to do what I want but I don't have much confidence in my searches given the limitations of the search interface. Some church materials use abbreviated scriptures like 2 Ne for 2 Nephi. I'm also concerned about whether my searches can access things like 2 Nephi, chapter 5 verse 4 if the quote is listed as 2 Nephi 5:1-6 in the materials. A sensitive scripture search feature would be much appreciated on lds.org -- something like http://scriptures.byu.edu/ which is marvelous, but where it searches other materials besides Conference addresses.
If you go to scriptures.lds.org you can do all kinds of fancy searching. For example, try search for:

2 ne 3:3-4
2 nephi 3:3,4
2 ne. 3:3-4

You can even combine searches so you can type in (for example)

2 ne 3:3-4; Alma 1:2; Mosiah 4:1-10

And it will search for all references together.

It does not do this from the gospel link search but once you are on the scriptures web site it does.

Tom
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#19

Post by WelchTC »

kristacook wrote: From many of the postings on this issue, I'm perplexed as to why people think that much of the guidance in the Handbook should be considered secret, sacred, confidential and untouchable. It is a detailed, working document that should be, and is, updated regularly to meet the administrative needs of a complex organization trying to function on a day-to-day basis in a complex and and rapidly changing world.
This is by direction of the Priesthood leaders of the Church in cooperation with the correlation department. Your best bet would be to contact them for a clear understanding if you need. Also, you can talk with your local ecclesiastical leader for more input as he can escalate concerns as he sees fit up the ladder to one of the general authorities.
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