The Urantia Book Index Project

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Jay Peregrine
Anna Rawson
Anna Rawson
Edith Cook
Edith Cook
Clyde Bedell
Clyde Bedell
Concordex of The Urantia Book
Concordex of The Urantia Book
1964: IBM System/360 mainframe computer
1964: IBM System/360 mainframe computer
Dell Personal Computer
Dell Personal Computer

By Jay Peregrine, Executive Director, Urantia Foundation, Chicago, USA

Work on an index of The Urantia Book began before the book was published, as early as the mid 1940s. In the basement of 533 W. Diversey Parkway in Chicago are stored index cards going back to the mid 20th Century, including early work on The Urantia Book index by Wilfred Kellogg and others. But completing an exhaustive index of The Urantia Book in their spare time proved an impossible task for the early custodians of the book.

By the early 1960s Anna Rawson and Edith Cook were involved in an earnest effort to complete a comprehensive index of the book. They worked in the basement of 533 Diversey Parkway. Notes from their work indicate that they confronted many issues. They suggested that "an IBM machine" would be helpful. In particular, they struggled with the nature of an index as compared to a concordance. Put simply, a concordance is a list of the location of all key words in a text, listed in the context of the phrase in which they occur. An index is an outline of information contained in the work–a list of key facts,, themes, and main points.

An internal memo, dated 1973, indicated that the index project was taking much longer to complete thanhad originally anticipated. During the early 1970s, Clyde Bedell independently produced and printed his Concordex of The Urantia Book. By Concordex, he meant that it was a cross between an index and a concordance. There were several printings of the Concordex, but it is currently out of print. In 1987-88 a professional indexer, who was not a reader, was hired to review the work which Edith and Anna had done. Examples of how The Urantia Book should be were submitted. This critique identified a new issue: Anna and Edith were not professional indexers, and their approach was, from a professional point of view, too wordy and. But in the opinion of Urantia Book readers, the professional's work missed too many key topics and points. How could the two extremes be reconciled?

The index project came to a halt during the troubled times of 1989-90. In the mid 1990s Urantia Foundation published a Concordance, which was created using a computer program and the new electronic version of The Urantia Book. Uversa Press published a short index at the back of their edition of The Urantia Book. But Edith and Anna's grand typewritten work, plus notes and commentary, sat in file cabinets in the basement at 533, mostly forgotten.

In 2007, Marilynn Kulieke, then Associate Trustee, and I decided to give the work of Edith and Anna another look to see if it could be preserved. A major difference between 1964 and 2007 was the materialization of the impossible dream- the availability of an "IBM Machine" (although we used a "Dell Machine"). We determined that the work that had been done by Edith, Anna, Marian Rowley and others, could be preserved by entering it into an electronic database from their last typewritten draft. Their work was not edited, but simply transferred into an electronic format. This was accomplished in late 2007 and early 2008. A formatted print edition was then created from the database.

The first round of proof-reading the print edition was completed by the end of 2008. We are currently one third into the second round. As is normal in the process of printed text creation, keying and database errors which were missed in the first round have been discovered.

We are in need of a few detail-oriented volunteers to help us complete the proofreading. Our plan is to make the corrected text available in electronic (PDF) and print-on-demand formats as an historical document for students of the book. This version of the index is simply presented as Edith and Anna's work. Urantia Foundation is not trying to edit or improve it.

A short introduction with an explanation of the origin, history, and nature of the index (and perhaps an essay on its imagined destiny) will be provided.

After interested readers have had a chance to look at the index and comment on its accuracy and clarity, Urantia Foundation will be in a position to work on an edited and revised version. This new version, intended for the book market, will have a reduced number of entries, simplified language, and added entries for subjects which review indicates are lacking. The use of an on-line "wiki" environment, using the Cook-Rawson-Rowley index as a starting place, will help create an online "Index and Encyclopaedia of The Urantia Book".

Foundation Info

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