As a life-long activist, there came a point in my studies of alternative analysis of historical and current events when a need to act took hold: April 2009. One constant block in my progress was a the lack of a quick resource for the core source documents used to backup select so-called ‘conspiracy theories,’ spread and splintered across the net from various inspiring alternative media outlets. In discussing these ideas with my loved ones, having such mainstream articles to show how information presented through the exact same sources they trust could simultaneously be used to ‘prove’ a completely different narrative. This is difficult to do this quickly/instantly without memorizing hundreds of news headlines and efficiently finding the correct, full or ‘original’ (for the web) version. This was the personal need which sparked the first embryo of this concept, though it surely may not be novel.
Already having my hands full with plenty of after-hours activist work, it didn’t at first occur to me this should be my task. Instead the instinct to coach from the sidelines instead of dive in won the first round. I lazily sent an email to Infowars headquarters in Austin explaining my idea, curious if they knew of any existing solutions or would value dedicating some resources to it. One week later without response (no offense taken), it was clear to me that I needed to build this, if nothing other than a personal educational/research tool.
I consequently hope this can be a lesson to others who are temporarily paralyzed from action: If you are unsure how to help a issue, cause or situation so large no one individual has control over, try…
- Thinking about what you wish the leaders/titans of your movement were doing,
- Checking to make sure it isn’t already happening. – If it is, you can help if you’re motivated to.
- Just start doing it. – If you can’t do it, then why not and is it worth investing in getting to a point you can. Otherwise, keep thinking until you find something you can do and dip your toes in.
It has now been just over one year since the InfowarDocs.org research database was started, and it now contains 4,675 Reference Links, with 6,287 Tags/Keywords, with 45,692 Taggings! According to my basic statistics written in PHP (unintentionally almost three times larger than Google’s stricter Analytics), the database has been queried over 300,000 times by by 44,000 visitors. My very crude automated backup process has already successfully helped to preserve 43 documents which have been removed from their online location since being added to the database. I have nonetheless spent very little time over the last year improving the database’s usability and appearance, and as the site’s primary user became quite used to it. But the time has been overdue for some real improvements to try to open this resource to a wider audience’s interest, while still hoping to accommodate dorkier researchers like me.
The change of name comes largely just from a slow discovering of the identity of this database, there was not a full picture of the end result when it got started. I feel this new name of Alt Bib, the Alternate Bibliography does a much better job of encapsulating this somewhat weird research experiment of mine. For better or worse this lessens the association with Infowars/Prison Planet, possibly the most influential operation in the Alternative Media. I’m happy not to step on any such toes with the name, and really like removing “war” from my domain name as a pacifist.
So there’s no change in how the database is run or who is running it, this is just a re-branding before some much more exciting tools will be launched for much better interaction and collaborative knowledge sharing. Once the new functionalities are more settled, a professional graphic designer friend will be giving the site a visual face-lift. I’m so excited I want to spill those beans now, but please stay tuned for those to be announced in the coming few weeks, as they will truly start to tie together some of the core objectives of the resource.
A big Thank You to all of the visitors who have submitted links, added tags, and shares this resource with their networks. An extra HUGE Thank You to the anonymous artist who sent me the header graphic used for the past year, and the few people generous enough to donate a bit of fiat currency towards my effort. Your collaboration is priceless, here’s to blooming more in the next year as AltBib.Com, The Alternate Bibliography to Learn the New ABCs!