The policy of the alchemy web site.
The alchemy web site tries to be inclusive of all the different perspectives on alchemy. It recognises the multifaceted nature of alchemy, that there is no single overarching interpretation, and attempts to reflect as many of these viewpoints as possible.
The alchemy web site, though organised by Adam McLean, is in fact a group effort. Hundreds of people have contributed in some way to this web site. The major contributors are listed in a page dedicated to those who have donated material to this site. Many others have made a contribution by suggesting an idea or criticising something lacking on the site, or some view not represented. Adam McLean is entirely amenable to suggestions or contributions that will help improve the site.
The web site strives to achieve high standards of scholarship. However, it has no pretensions about producing scholarly editions of texts. To prepare scholarly editions requires months, if not years, devoted to researching a single text. With fifty or so texts being added each year, it is just not possible to fully research the texts. Also many of the texts prepared for this web site have the spelling modernised, and are edited to make them more readable for a non-scholarly audience. This web site is not oriented just towards scholars, but attempts to reach out to a wider audience.
Adam McLean takes the view that it is better to have a poor version of a text available than none at all. One of the delights of electronic texts (unlike printed books) is that errors can be corrected, and texts modified at a later date. Most of the texts have been prepared by amateurs, rather than by professional scholars, so there will be many spelling errors and typos. With well over 20 megabytes of text it is not possible for Adam McLean to proof-read every word on the web site, so he welcomes any assistance to detect and correct such errors.
The web site focuses on content rather than appearance. There are no textured backgrounds, flashing or animated Java scripted icons, and no unnecessary graphics. This may make the site look old fashioned, compared with those web sites which exploit all the bells and whistles of web scripting technology. The reason for this restraint is to keep the pages lean and quick to load. The web site has a truly international readership, and many users in are in countries with slow Internet connections. This is true even of some major counties in Europe, but especially for Russia, the former Eastern block countries, South America, and most countries in Africa and Asia. To produce beautiful Java enabled pages, with iconic buttons and inline graphics, would merely lock people in these countries out from accessing the material on this site. The alchemy web site is about depth of material not surface appearance.