Cross Reference General Authorities ("Modern Scripture")

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JamesAnderson
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#11

Post by JamesAnderson »

Actually, there has been a 'community' effort before regarding a similar project, and that was when they came up with the idea for the original Topical Guide.

They produced a 400-page book with what they had found in the Scriptures already, then in the forward to the book they invited everyone to submit additional things they thought would fit. The book had about half I think or less of what the final Topical Guide appears to have. It was so useful that many used it immediately when it was published, in everyday Scripture studies. You can find the used one on a regular basis at DI or other used bookstores that have an LDS section.

Now for this project, here's an idea I had for doing it if it were to be started in the end. Sure it would end up on the 'net, but I would see the first steps in this type of project be a CD-ROM based set for purposes of developing the content. Here's what I would put in the CD-ROM.

The Scriptures, with all notes and study aids.

Teachings of the Presidents of the Church books.
Other curriculum


Articles (all Conference talks included) from the Ensign, New Era, and Friend that were authored by the following:

First Presidency
Quorum of the Twelve
Members of the Seventy
Other general officers (RS, YM, SS Presidencies)

LDS.org exclusives, such as the 'additional addresses' page contents.

From 1970 to present.

The case could also be made that such a database could be just the 'Prophets, Seers, and Revelators (First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve), and the Scriptures. I think that that track too could be and lead to a very powerful tool to use in teaching what the Prophets have said in our day.

Include on the CD a way to create a file of your bookmarks and notes, and an email address to send that file to. This could be a way of collecting input so that people could share with the editors of the final version of this, and include a way to update things after each conference, update the resulting website once a year with new cross-references from the previous year's magazines and new curriculum, and other additional addresses that were placed on Church websites over that same year. That way old cross-references could be updated to link to newer content.

Does anyone see merit in this idea on this matter?
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mkmurray
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#12

Post by mkmurray »

I like the content, but I don't think the medium of a CD is worth pursuing. It just seems to me that DVD replication would be an unnecessary cost where as an online option would prove more cost-effective. Plus, I'm really starting to subscribe to the idea that the community can gather and tag information better than anything can. I like to use Wikipedia as an example. It is a living organism that is always changing and updating. The community keeps it growing and it is so informative and organized considering it's vulnerability to all of the internet to see and edit. I'm amazed by the detail and accuracy (I know, it's not way authoratative or anything, but you have to admit it has a lot of accuracy). I feel with a DVD product, it would be so static and infrequently updated. Plus I don't want to have to install anything or carry around the DVD.

Just my thoughts...
JamesAnderson
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#13

Post by JamesAnderson »

I see your point with hte CD/DVD issue, the idea of a wiki-driven content gathering approach seems even more the way to gather content than thought.

But how would one version this for the public version? Would it be like say, OK, everything that is put into the wiki by such and such a date goes into consideration for the main site, then have the correlation people review that, then put it out there? Or some other mechanism?

A possible workflow:

1. Wiki started, with articles/talks as they stand as of a certain date.
2. Possible links/cross references gathered via the wiki
3. After cutoff date (lets say, annually, as an example), what is in wiki as of cutoff date goes to correlation
4. Correlation reviews what was input as of cutoff date for doctrinal accuracy.
5. Correlation releases reviewed version, which is published as noneditable version on a more public site, this public version is noneditable.
6. Meanwhile, the wiki is gathering new information for next version, including cross-referencing new material added to wiki since the wiki was started, given new content is published all the time.
7. Repeat process at predetermined intervals.

Does that sound like an idea worth considering for this?
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mkmurray
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#14

Post by mkmurray »

JamesAnderson wrote:Does that sound like an idea worth considering for this?
Yeah it does. I know that the Church has to be real careful monitoring what it presents to the world as official. So your idea would give an extra level so that the community wiki isn't considered doctrine.

However, Wikipedia does do it that way where the wiki is the main site. Any articles that aren't peer reviewed enough or are about really recent or future events are flagged with a big disclaimer at the top. I've even seen disclaimers on a few articles that says the information below is subjective or controversial or speculative.

So we could do the 2nd way having similar disclaimers and such, but I imagine the Church would prefer one level of approval such as you described before any articles go official.

I guess one issue I can think of would be how to clearly define and encourage browsing and use of the official site, while prompting contribution to the community wiki site. I wonder if there is a nice way to integrate the two so it seem really intuitive.
The_Earl
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#15

Post by The_Earl »

JamesAnderson wrote:I see your point with hte CD/DVD issue, the idea of a wiki-driven content gathering approach seems even more the way to gather content than thought.

But how would one version this for the public version? Would it be like say, OK, everything that is put into the wiki by such and such a date goes into consideration for the main site, then have the correlation people review that, then put it out there? Or some other mechanism?
...
I think a hybrid system would work best.

It does not make sense to keep the text of the scripture(s) in an online format. This also causes problems with copyright and whatnot. Since the text is static, that info could be compiled to DVD/CD periodically, and sent out. The correlation body could also include non-controverted, correlated indexing on that media.

CD / DVD duplication is CHEAP and scaleable. I worked at a media lab, and could make 20-20k CDs for less than $1 each, as long as I made more than 500 or so in a year. That is still expensive, compared to a large run at a publishing house.

For the actual indexing, I imagine a system sort of like http://del.icio.us/, where the links are shared, and the content is stored somewhere else. This is also sort of the way Google Earth works with shared lists. As a user, I could share an index, or build a private index set. My indices would be stored locally, and could be published for sharing.

You could either build a web client that would build public and private indices, or build a thick app that could find online indices (like Google Earth).

I think it is important that users be able to build non-public indeces. Correlated material tends to be pretty conservative, and I fear that people may be turned off to a system where their contribution is censored because it falls outside of correlation. I see this as a BIG problem with a Wikipedia style system, since outlying references would be removed, and there would be no ability to do public / private marking.
The_Earl
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#16

Post by The_Earl »

mkmurray wrote:Yeah it does. I know that the Church has to be real careful monitoring what it presents to the world as official. So your idea would give an extra level so that the community wiki isn't considered doctrine.

However, Wikipedia does do it that way where the wiki is the main site. Any articles that aren't peer reviewed enough or are about really recent or future events are flagged with a big disclaimer at the top. I've even seen disclaimers on a few articles that says the information below is subjective or controversial or speculative.

So we could do the 2nd way having similar disclaimers and such, but I imagine the Church would prefer one level of approval such as you described before any articles go official.

I guess one issue I can think of would be how to clearly define and encourage browsing and use of the official site, while prompting contribution to the community wiki site. I wonder if there is a nice way to integrate the two so it seem really intuitive.
I am REALLY concerned with how this publishing process works. It would not be hard in my opinion to make a list of references that were erroneous, or worse. If you have read any anti literature, you have seen how easy it is to take a few references out of context and make them appear as something they are not.

The problem then becomes, how do you 'approve' links? I worry that even with 'moderators' or 'correlation', you would end up policing doctrinal discussions and flame wars, instead of getting useful information. That is a best-case, where everyone on your 'public' site has good intentions.

You CANNOT simplify the indexing to make this not possible. If an index is just a title and a list of references, you can still create a reference like 'Women to hold preisthood (1Nephi ...)". Ommiting the title does not change the ability, it just makes it harder to find.

The more aggressive you are with 'moderating' the fewer constructive additions you get, and the closer the information converges to the opinion of the moderator. This is a well documented problem with Wikipedia.

I think the best solution is a combination of private indices, that can be shared. Sharing could be through a moderated or correlated LDS sponsored site. Through community sites, or just email.

The corpus of work, and any well vetted indexing could be published on hard media or similar. You would need a method of submitting indices for inclusion of publishing. This could be tagging a-la Wikipedia, or an email submission, or a built-in part of the app, like Temple Ready'.
The_Earl
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Public / Private

#17

Post by The_Earl »

mkmurray wrote:Yeah it does. I know that the Church has to be real careful monitoring what it presents to the world as official. So your idea would give an extra level so that the community wiki isn't considered doctrine.

However, Wikipedia does do it that way where the wiki is the main site. Any articles that aren't peer reviewed enough or are about really recent or future events are flagged with a big disclaimer at the top. I've even seen disclaimers on a few articles that says the information below is subjective or controversial or speculative.

So we could do the 2nd way having similar disclaimers and such, but I imagine the Church would prefer one level of approval such as you described before any articles go official.

I guess one issue I can think of would be how to clearly define and encourage browsing and use of the official site, while prompting contribution to the community wiki site. I wonder if there is a nice way to integrate the two so it seem really intuitive.
I am REALLY concerned with how this publishing process works. It would not be hard in my opinion to make a list of references that were erroneous, or worse. If you have read any anti literature, you have seen how easy it is to take a few references out of context and make them appear as something they are not.

The problem then becomes, how do you 'approve' links? I worry that even with 'moderators' or 'correlation', you would end up policing doctrinal discussions and flame wars, instead of getting useful information. That is a best-case, where everyone on your 'public' site has good intentions.

You CANNOT simplify the indexing to make this not possible. If an index is just a title and a list of references, you can still create a reference like 'Women to hold preisthood (1Nephi ...)". Ommiting the title does not change the ability, it just makes it harder to find.

The more aggressive you are with 'moderating' the fewer constructive additions you get, and the closer the information converges to the opinion of the moderator. This is a well documented problem with Wikipedia.

I think the best solution is a combination of private indices, that can be shared. Sharing could be through a moderated or correlated LDS sponsored site. Through community sites, or just email.

The corpus of work, and any well vetted indexing could be published on hard media or similar. You would need a method of submitting indices for inclusion of publishing. This could be tagging a-la Wikipedia, or an email submission, or a built-in part of the app, like Temple Ready'.
Josiah-p40
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#18

Post by Josiah-p40 »

I am in favor of keeping this project online. Beyond the financial gains, I feel the the collaborative efforts are greatly enhanced when we can build off each others' contributions daily. The opportunities for bringing more people in on the project are many fold greater as well, in my opinion, as is the ease at which new content or marking features can be added.

I am curious about copyright. If this isn't an "official" project, what are our permissions to use the scriptures and talks? If we were to "import" them into a site (with credit/links, etc), that would give the project the advantage of being able to display the talks with the cross reference overlays on top without much work. However, if the copyright does not allow this (and of course we will always honor those rights), what other options do we have?

If we simply link between sites, how do we display the exact parts we are referencing? What happens when the referenced site URL changes?

I note that "LDSlibrary.com" and even Deseret Book's "Gospelink.com" refer conference report content to LDS.org.

Does anyone know of anything "off the shelf" that could overlay these cross references onto other sites when users "opt-in"?
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mkmurray
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#19

Post by mkmurray »

Josiah wrote:I am curious about copyright. If this isn't an "official" project, what are our permissions to use the scriptures and talks? If we were to "import" them into a site (with credit/links, etc), that would give the project the advantage of being able to display the talks with the cross reference overlays on top without much work. However, if the copyright does not allow this (and of course we will always honor those rights), what other options do we have?

Here is a quote from the Rights and Use Information on the LDS Scriptures site:
LICENSES AND RESTRICTIONS

This site is owned and operated by Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All material found at this site (including visuals, text, icons, displays, databases, media, and general information), is owned or licensed by us. You may view, download, and print material from this site only for your personal, noncommercial use unless otherwise indicated. In addition, materials may be reproduced by media personnel for use in traditional public news forums unless otherwise indicated. You may not post material from this site on another web site or on a computer network without our permission. You may not transmit or distribute material from this site to other sites. You may not use this site or information found at this site (including the names and addresses of those who submitted information) for selling or promoting products or services, soliciting clients, or any other commercial purpose.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, we reserve sole discretion and right to deny, revoke, or limit use of this site, including reproduction. It is not our responsibility, however, to determine what "Fair Use" means for persons wishing to use materials from this site. That remains wholly a responsibility of the user. Further, we are not required to give additional source citations, nor to guarantee that the materials are cleared for alternate uses. Such ultimately remains the responsibility of the user. However, the Church maintains the right to prevent infringement of its materials and to interpret "Fair Use" as it understands the law.
It appears from this statement that it is ok to link to the official site in order to view the scripture data, but not to copy and store it on an unofficial site. There's an open source project mentioned on this forum where it is a desktop application that facilitates the download of the scripture data for you on to your local computer for scripture studying (the project can be found at https://sourceforge.net/projects/scripstudyplushttp://scripturestudyplus.sourceforge.net/). That seems to also be in line with this policy. Of course, you're talking about an online solution. So I imagine you could either just directly link to the official scripture site or have a little AJAX popup viewer that actual views the scripture from the original scripture site.
Josiah wrote:If we simply link between sites, how do we display the exact parts we are referencing? What happens when the referenced site URL changes?
The church has developed a link "schema" that I imagine they will stick to for quite a while, found here under Technical Documents on this LDS Tech site.
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