Many people have asked “what is the intent and/or purpose of this Archive” — or words to that effect. This document should answer almost all of those questions. Other questions will be tackled as the need arises.
What we have here is a Library: just like the community-based libraries that are all over the world, we have books, reference materials, and various printed media for use by its patrons. We also have the tools necessary to find the information that is sought by those patrons. Be it catalogues, indexes, or whatever, the tools are in place. Also like your local library, we are striving to provide what is of interest to the “community”, and to supply the newest and best tools.
The simile continues in that all of the materials presented for patron use are either purchased, or have been donated. The “community” is invited to take advantage of this wealth of information to better the individuals, and ultimately, strengthen the “community”. This will “rub off” on the adjacent communities, and … Well, you know how it goes? We all affect one another.
We are a type of lending institution. Our offerings are for the use of the patrons, not to be kept, but to be returned so that others can take advantage of the materials. If you want to have your own copy of some of what we offer, we suggest that you buy that item. We encourage everyone to create their own library by buying those books, pictures, or other items for themselves. The rule is: use, don’t abuse.
Unlike the library, we are not a charitable organization, nor are we a for profit company. There are no fees of any kind involved here. We are not expecting dollars as donations, gifts, or payments. If someone, or some organization (hint, hint), wants to donate something, let it be materials for the free use of anyone using this library. The Rudolf Steiner Archive is a free service, available to everyone.
Another aspect of the Archive that is unlike the community-based library is that we are all electronic. Instead of going someplace to get the information to bring home to use, we allow the patron to remain in the comforts of home while they get the materials they are interested in. We also allow them to take advantage of the special tools we have here to enhance their research and understanding. It is sort of the library of the future, available now.
To summarize: we are an electronic library, we are a not-for-profit service, we provide information and tools to help with the research and understanding of the individual seeker, we are a step on the path.
If you see merit in this enterprise, or even if you don’t, we’d like to hear your comments — pro or con. We are interested only in providing a service, and filling the needs of our patrons. We would like to know what the “community” thinks of our effort. What do you think?