Last Updated: 2004, July 2

Scholarly Societies Project


Timeline of the Scholarly Societies Project
1993, October The notion of creating a set of links to gophers of scholarly societies was discussed by the Internet Resources Committee (IRC) of the University of Waterloo Library. It was pointed out that, in addition to the usefulness of such a resource to the UW campus, it would represent a resource that the IRC could give to the Internet in exchange for the valuable resources to which the UW Library gopher made links. The IRC approved the project.

Later that month a collection of about a half-dozen resources had been assembled.

1994, February By February 1994, after several months of performing Veronica searches, and monitoring announcements of new gophers, the number of resources was increased to about twenty. At this point, the collection was considered rich enough to be announced to the public. Announcements were sent out over various listservs and newsgroups. Some readers of this announcement evidently cross-posted it to other listservs or newsgroups, so that the total audience was even wider than originally expected. As a result, Project staff were notified of several new resources.
1994, Summer By the summer of 1994, a WWW version of the Scholarly Societies Project was being created. After the first few months of the summer of 1994, the ratio of gophers to webpages in the Project was about 2:1, and remained so for a couple of months. But by November 1994, the ratio began to approach 1:1; the number of new webpages was continuing at a steady rate, but the number of new gophers had slowed considerably.
1994, November (late) The web version of the project was announced to the public over several listservs and newsgroups. Soon after, Project staff were occupied in a flurry of correspondence with readers of the announcement. As a result, a number of new and interesting resources (virtually all webpages) were added.

Other information on the period from 1993 to late 1994 is found in Development of the Scholarly Societies Project.

1995 -1996 The Project went through a period of rapid growth, passing from 115 websites at the end of January, 1995 to 968 websites at the end of October, 1996 (less than 2 years later).
1995, Summer In 1995, work on constructing a database containing all the information in the HTML files was begun.
1996 (late) The database was completed, but it was not yet made available to the public via a search engine.
1996, November 20 Late on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 20, 1996, a milestone in the Scholarly Societies Project was passed when the Editor added the 1000th society to the Scholarly Societies Project.
1997, October 22 On 1997, October 22, the Editor announced that No Additional Websites Without Permanent URLs Will Be Added.
1998 February 6 The editor announced that a Database with Search Engine was Now Available. This represented a major improvement in access to the resources in the Project.
1999 (Summer) The Editor began to create a sub-project entitled the Repertorium Veterrimarum Societatum Litterariarum (Inventory of the Oldest Scholarly Societies), to contain society information likely to be of special interest to historians. This sub-project was restricted to societies founded up to and including the year 1799.
2000, Spring The Project acquired its own domain name,
2000, December 22 The Editor added the 2000th society website to the Project.
2001, Summer The Editor learned how to use the Unicode Standard to encode society names that require either the use of diacritics, or non-Latin scripts, if they are to be properly displayed. By the end of Summer, over 130 society names had been thus encoded in non-Latin scripts.
2001, July The Editor added the By Country area, to make it easy to retrieve the records for societies based in particular countries, or other geographical areas.
2001, September The Editor added the By Language area, to make it easy to retrieve the records for society websites with a significant amount of text in particular languages.
2002, April For five months, beginning in November 2001 and ending in April 2002, all regular maintenance on the Project was suspended as the Editor undertook a review and re-assignment of subject headings used in about two-thirds of the societies in the Project. Because of this, (1) the total number of subject headings increased by a half, from 46 to 70, and (2) the average subject-file size decreased. As a result of this, the Project now uses a larger proportion of more specific subject headings than previously, so that on average the subject files load more quickly and are easier to browse through.
2002, September 13 The Editor added the 3000th society website to the Project.
2003, May 9 The Editor unveiled the new Search Engine running on Cold Fusion. This introduced a number of improvments, which are explained at A New Search Engine, A New Look: Phase 1.
2004, July 2 The Editor added the 4000th society to the Project.


Published 2001, September 25
Jim Parrott, Editor
Scholarly Societies Project
Sending Email to the Project