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This site originated from two resources on Richard Lawrence's personal website. In March 1999, these resources were expanded into the Objectivism Reference Center, and a long-term hosting site was secured. In subsequent years, the resources available have grown to over 250 distinct web pages of material, plus hundreds of links to resources on other sites.
The whole thing started through discussions on the newsgroup, humanities.philosophy.objectivism. I had a dispute with another regular there about the circumstances of the group's founding. So in April 1998 I developed some pages that documented what had happened and put them on my personal website. In a separate instance, someone wanted some information about articles in The Objectivist. So I worked up a list of the articles and put that on my personal website as well.
From this small seed came the idea for the Objectivism Reference Center. I realized that there was useful information about Ayn Rand and Objectivism that could be put on the web, but just wasn't there yet. In March 1999, I set up an account with Addr.com, and the ORC was born.
At first, I focused on developing the ORC as a place to house informational resources that could not be found elsewhere. As I gained experience as a "webmaster" over time, I began to see more clearly the deficiencies of some of the existing Objectivism websites. Some of them were rarely (if ever) updated, even when they contained time-sensitive information. For example, one site had announcements for long-past conferences listed as if they were current news. Some had disappeared entirely, leaving dozens of useless, outdated links at other sites.
Beyond the problems with some existing sites, I also realized that there was a serious gap in the type of sites available. Many sites gave more space to promoting the views of the individual authors than to providing factual information about Ayn Rand or Objectivism. Most sites were slanted towards particular views of Objectivism, often filtering out or denigrating rival "factions." While there is certainly nothing wrong with personal opinion or selective presentation -- both these things are very much needed in any robust and active intellectual community -- I wanted to provide resources that were more comprehensive and less editorialized.
This new focus inspired the development of new features for the ORC. A few notable additions and changes over the years included:
Copyright © 1999-2009 by Richard Lawrence. All rights reserved.