Well here goes, my first post as Librarian! I figured as what is going to happen to the Library here is a complete new beginning, it would be best to start a brand new thread rather than have any new ideas we have mixed in with the other thread which LOTR kindly moved over from AM earlier on today.
Before I set out my vision for the library I just want to make one thing clear. Although I am 'the Librarian' as it were, this Library will be a team effort. This is not to say that it was in the past but, part of the reason it has been in limbo for so long is, in my view, that all the work or the bulk of the work had been left to one individual which was an insane amount of work for one person. This Library will be for the plaza, by the plaza and I encourage everyone regardless of length of membership, rank or any other factor to come forward with their ideas and share them here. All are welcome.
That said, where do we go now? Well, the thread in AM had some rather useful ideas as to the progress of the Library which I will try and incorporate into my vision of the library which is set out below:
First, something that came out loud and clear from the AM thread was that the encyclopedia format of the Library in the past was now outdated. As many have said, there are countless other sites out there which have that format and there is nothing that we can do with that format that wouldn't make the library just another of them and, as I said, I want this library to stand out from the herd. So, what do we do if not the encyclopedia format? Well, it was proposed by I believe wiebkes among others that we have a new format which incorporates material from all over the plaza. The lore forums, the Regions, the COLP so that it is quite literally a plaza library and not just another Tolkien encyclopedia. Obviously, this encompasses a lot of material and, in order for it not to be confusing and to maximise its potential, I am proposing that the new library be split into sections. Just like a RL library is. Something like this:
The Annals of History
This section would comprise of material from the plaza's history and the
Archives. I know the archive links are there but I really do think the plaza has a history
to be proud of and bringing that history to the forefront of current plaza life would be a really
neat way to make this library a real plaza library. So new members can see what the Old
Plaza was like back in the day.
This section would comprise of material from the Lore Forums. That is to say BL, AL, the Books, People and Races, Languages, Tolkien the Man and (depending on permission fromits contributors) the Scholars Forum. It will not be a comprehensive catalogue of everything that goes on there however. What it will be isa collection of essays/articles based on the most interesting and lively threads in the forums. For example,there is an ongoing thread regarding the psycology of Gollum/Smeagol in AL. Older members will know this has been going on for some time and this is where the library would be most useful. It would draw together that discussion with its myriad of ideas and theories into one article so that people who haven't been here since the genesis of the discussion can participate in it more fully. This would also, perhaps, have a positive effect on how the lore forums are viewed. I know when I first entered them it was a bit intimdating simply ebcause there were discussions going on that covered masses of ground and so it was very difficult to get involved in them. Thus, in addition to this section being living proof of my addage "enlighten not inform" by providing fresh inisghts as well as old ones into matters of lore, it will also make some of the more complex discussion in AL and so forth more accessible to new members. In this way, the Library enhances the plaza as well as the other way round.
This section is where COLP material comes in. How many stories, poems, photos, paintings and similar creative projects are on the plaza in this forum and others? Alot and it is my view that these should be stored for posterity in our library in this section. Again, it will not be an exhaustive listing of every single item but of the best art and compositions that are to be found in the COLP. A real chance for it to shine!
The Lands of Middle Earth
This section will take advantage of the wealth of activity going on in our regions. Since they were revamped, I have seen some pretty cool stuff going on in them and each region has a distinctive character of their own which I really would like to see in the Library.
Right, that is the structure as I see it. It is by no means set in stone and I am more than happy to revise it (in fact I very likely will revise it as we go on) but it should be enough to give you a brief idea of where I want the library to go. Right, now on to the $1000000 question, how do we get there?
Well, the answer is simple. Members. I cannot do this on my own and as I started by saying, I want it to be made by the plaza for the plaza. Something else I want to improve on from previous incarnations of the Library is the accuracy of its content. Some of the articles in the library were not 100% accurate and our new library needs to be. Therefore, I have sent PMs to three of the plaza's most knowledgable lorists who will act as, essentially, quality control. When content issubmitted, I will check it over and they will to and, if necessary, facts will be tweaked so that it is 100% accurate. I know it was suggested that "group editting" might work, however with the sheer volume of material we will have I can honestly see that getting out of hand and being more of a help than a hindrance so, for now, only the aformentioned people will be doing this kind of work.
Coders are also needed. I want to make the Library more user friendly and organised. I will draw up some diagrams of the kind of the thing I am after but I really want three-four coders so if anyone is good at coding and is willing to assist here then do drop me a line via PM.
Most importantly however, is content! As I said at the beginning anyone and everyone can submit content and I would encourage people (when the time comes) to do so. Right now though, I will wind up and open the discussion up to everyone else. It is, after all, for the members this library and so I would welcome any comments/questions you may have.