The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity at the Dictionary of Mormon Biography (see this post for context). Since hatching the idea, I’ve gone from building a prototype site to rolling out a full Mediawiki instance to mormonbiography.org. A few things in review:
- I secured the mormonbiography.org domain! This will help drive traffic to the site and build a research community for the project.
- In April, I had a database meltdown and lost most of what was added to the previous site <sadface/>, but the new site is running smoothly.
- The site currently has over 60 articles and now has a small group of registered researchers contributing to the project! A tip of the hat to Ardis Parshall, Kent Larsen, Bruce Crow, and David Morris for joining the ranks.
- I am trying to ensure that the content is not a “sausage fest” by culling records from various resources, especially since the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia (the original biographical source for the project) has little female representation within its pages. I am very much open to suggestions for resources to draw upon. See our current list of source projects here.
Also, a few interesting pages to check out:
- Church History Library Digital Collections
Based upon J. Stapley’s work tracking the newest digital item additions to the CHL catalog.
- Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia
A listing of all digital versions of the LDSBE volumes. Eventually, every person listed in those four volumes will be added to the DMB wiki.
- Thomas Greenhalgh (1821-1886)
Take a look at Greenhalgh’s page to get an idea of how the biography template is evolving. I’d like to link to the person’s ID on FamilySearch as well as any other kind of database. For instance: Open Library, VIAF, or WorldCat if the person has published works.
Obviously, there is a lot of work to do and I’m encouraged to have the Mormon history/Mormon studies community’s interest. I think we can provide an excellent service to researchers, professional and amateur alike, to begin or continue online and offline research of Mormon subjects by building out a robust database within the Dictionary of Mormon Biography.
Imagine there was a place on the web where you as a researcher to find nearly any historical person in Mormonism and a brief explanation of their life with appended references to every known primary and secondary source for that person. This is what I want to accomplish with the DMB and I hope you’ll spend a few minutes here and there to make it a reality with me.