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ISHAR Website Launched

INTEGRATIVE STUDIES HISTORICAL ARCHIVE AND REPOSITORY (ISHAR) ONLINE HAS LAUNCHED

We are thrilled to announce the official launch of the Integrative Studies Historical Archive & Repository!  It’s been a long, complex, rewarding journey, but we are proud to finally present the world’s largest single source for academic information on Integrative Studies, including AyurvedaacupuncturemeditationyogaQigong and everything in between.  We hope you’ll enjoy browsing through ISHAR and share your thoughts with us so that we can continually improve the site.

About the Website
ISHAR is designed to allow users to either browse through, reading Topic Summaries as they learn about the subject, or to use a search bar to seek out the specific information they are looking for.  The Topic Summaries are incomplete but are being compiled at the rate of about one a week and will follow the model seen in our completed Ayurveda and Acupuncture pages.  They will all include a link to the topic’s list of sources, a Functional Summary matrix of objective data on the practice, a definitional analysis of what the practice entails, a summary of the current research into the practice and, finally, a list of Perspectives on the topic including links to the views of Wikipedia, supporters, detractors and the medical community.

The search bar allows for specific keyword searches (ie. “meditation telomerase”), drawing results from our library of 25,000+ academic references.  The results can then be refined through advanced search parameters to filter for author, publication and presence of full abstracts. 

All sources, whether discovered through the Topic Summary list or the search bar, include full bibliographic data, any available abstracts, links to the original source, copy/paste-ready academic citation text and, importantly, full Wikipedia formatting for all sources, allowing users to bypass complex Wikipedia formatting language.

How Can You Participate?
This is just the first step in establishing ISHAR as the authoritative source for Integrative Studies, and there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done to achieve that goal.  As mentioned above, Ayurveda and Acupuncture are the model pages, and all other topics will soon be emulating and improving on that approach.  We also have many exciting features that we will be rolling out in the coming weeks (including visual mapping), so stay tuned!

We not only ask you to be patient as we fill in quality analysis on all of our topics, we sincerely want your help in doing so.  Our Academic Liaison Dr. William Bushell will be cooperating with ISHAR Supervisors to obtain their help in writing comprehensive, informed Functional Summaries, Definitions and Research Summaries.  ISHAR will format the pages, all we need is your expert advice, suggestions and critiques.  In addition to your expert assistance, the more feedback, questions and critiques that are posted on the many Comment sections throughout the site help us respond better and faster to issues.

This is your chance to help contribute to a massive codification of terms, positions and relevant research, all of which may help change the way science and the popular world view the topics you specialize in!  ISHAR is currently working in conjunction with major institutions like Columbia University and will be expanding our partnership to many more universities, thanks to Dr. Bushell’s extraordinary work and the objective, scientific rigor with which we have compiled this information.  Supervisors, if you see your area of expertise on the ISHAR library list, or feel it should be and is not, please contact Dr. Bushell to coordinate how we can work together to build a world-class summary for all Integrative Studies topics.

Please Welcome ISHAR!
At long last, www.isharonline.org is live.  We have been awed by ISHAR's many generous, patient and enthusiastic supporters, and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.  In particular, ISHAR would not be possible without the incredible trust and support of the Chopra Foundation, and ISHAR is proud to call itself a Chopra Initiative.  Now is the time to spread the word, to let our friends, colleagues and affiliates know about ISHAR, what it has to offer and what it can yet become.

Together we have all contributed to expanding the scope of human knowledge in some small way.  Together we have built a platform to continue expanding that knowledge far, far beyond this first iteration.  ISHAR already has more data in it than Wikipedia did at its launch, and our goal is to make ISHAR a similarly world-class authority on all matters mind/body.

Together we can do it.

Thank you,
Ryan Castle
ISHAR Project Director & Chief Archivist

Submitted by Esther Konigsberg, MD, CCFP
infin8health@hotmail.com

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