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Updates on the DRH!
Written byJane Friedmann on July 23rd, 2019
Pieoneers is proud of our ongoing partnership with the UBC DRH (Database of Religious History).
What is the DRH?
The Database of Religious History (DRH) is an online, qualitative and quantitative encyclopedia that collects information from religious studies scholars, historians and archeologists on the religious historical record, providing a novel resource for academics, teachers and the general public. It solves at least two pressing needs. For the religious studies community-facing information overload, it serves as a forum for scholarly debate and an instantly accessible record of current scholarly opinion, sourced from a global community and brought together on a multilingual, open-source platform. For scientists testing hypotheses about the cultural evolution of religion, it provides an infinitely-expandable, standardized, expert-sourced database of unprecedented scholarly quality.
As of July 2019, there have been just about 246 published entries written by 127 experts. In aggregate this comprises just under 36,000 independent answers. These are spread across a wide time range (from early pre-history up to the modern day). An editorial board of 23 scholars manages the collection of data and recruitment of new experts within their subject areas.
The DRH, together with Pieoneers, have spent the past few years building and refining the platform and website. Although originally focused on collecting data through a structured questionnaire or poll organized around what we call a “Religious Group”, the DRH have been gradually adding other units of analysis—the “Religious Place” poll and are currently drafting a “Religious Text” poll. These DRH-created polls form the core of the religious data component of the database. In the coming weeks, they'll be launching their first external poll, which covers information on the agents of mystical harm from a cross-cultural perspective. The plan is to use the DRH as a platform for scholars interested in large-scale questions about religion to design and host their own polls (i.e. lists of questions) on the DRH platform.
UBC DRH & Pieoneers
Pieoneers worked with the DRH to build the platform in Python, Django, and React. The next steps will be helping them launch linked-open data so that they can start sharing their content so that it becomes usable by other projects throughout the academic community all over the world. We look forward to continuing the journey!