Sunday, April 04, 2010

Moving home

After trying out a blog for a little while, I decided that having a full-blown website would be better suited to the material I wanted to make available. In particular, I wanted to be able to have tables of references that could be sorted (e.g. by authors name, date or length of discussion) plus other tools, e.g. a search engine that enables users to search various UFO websites at the same time.

So, any further material from me will either be posted on one of the various UFO forums that I visit, or (while not quite fully up and running yet) on my new website:

www.isaackoi.com

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My articles

Articles by Isaac Koi

My Magnum Opus: A 1,800 page chronology of UFO and SETI events:
Outlined at:
http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2006/mar/m06-007.shtml
Download 1.6 Mb zipped file free: http://tinyurl.com/re7ae
Download 9.1 Mb unzipped file free: http://tinyurl.com/oahe7
A PDF version is available at the end of the page below:
http://www.ufoinfo.com/news/ufochronology.shtml

"Free UFO Researcher Starter Pack"
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread305942/pg1

"ATS Premium: Top 10 UFO Photos (and masses of others)"
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread305751/pg1

A review of the "Condign Report" (by the British Ministry of Defence)
http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2006/may/m14-012.shtml
The Condign Report itself is available online at: http://tinyurl.com/kqll2

"Photos of 'aliens' - online collections"
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread298195/pg1

Top 100 UFO cases
[Coming soon, in 29 parts]
PART 1: Top 100 UFO Cases: Introduction
PART 2: Challenges to produce lists of top cases
PART 3: Existing lists by various individuals
PART 4: Consensus lists : Introduction
PART 5: Consensus lists : Jacques Vallee’s poll (1965)
PART 6: Consensus lists : Ronald Story’s poll (1979)
PART 7: Consensus lists : Paul Kimball’s Vox Populi poll (2006)
PART 8: Consensus lists : Paul Kimball’s expert poll (2005/6)
PART 9: Consensus lists : Fortean Times expert poll (2007)
PART 10: Consensus lists : National Enquirer Panel
PART 11: Consensus lists : The Rockefeller Briefing Document
PART 12: Consensus lists : Conclusion
PART 13: The Top 100 UFO cases
PART 14: Top 10 cases within various categories
PART 15: Qualitative criteria: Introduction
PART 16: Qualitative criteria: Credible witnesses
PART 17: Qualitative criteria: Multiple witnesses
PART 18: Qualitative criteria: Miscellaneous other criteria
PART 19: Quantitative criteria : Introduction
PART 20: Quantitative criteria : Hynek/Berliner/Speiser/Poher
PART 21: Quantitative criteria : Vallee/USI
PART 22: Quantitative criteria : Randles/BUFORA
PART 23: Quantitative criteria : Ballester-Guasp/MUFON
PART 24: Quantitative criteria : Olsen/Ludwiger
PART 25: Quantitative criteria : Figuet/FRANCAT
PART 26: Quantitative criteria : Miscellaneous other criteria
PART 27: Quantitative criteria : An experiment
PART 28: Quantitative criteria : Conclusion
PART 29: Top 100 UFO Cases : Overall Conclusion


Top 50 infamous UFO videos
[Coming soon]


Introduction: Problems within Ufology
http://ufoinquiry.blogspot.com/2005/05/problems-within-ufology.html


Introduction: The need for basic reference documents
http://ufoinquiry.blogspot.com/2005/05/need-for-basic-reference-documents.html


Introduction: Developing basic reference documents for ufology
http://ufoinquiry.blogspot.com/2005/05/developing-basic-ufological.html


Tools of the trade: UFO software and databases:
http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/feb/m13-001.shtml


Tools of the trade: Hardware for field investigations and instrumented sky searches
http://ufoinquiry.blogspot.com/2005/06/tools-of-trade-hardware.html


UFO Petitions: Various petitions seeking disclosure of information relating to UFOs
http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2006/jun/m01-007.shtml


The Lighter Side of Ufology: UFO jokes, cartoons etc
http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/may/m30-021.shtml


Guide to buying UFO books for researchers in the UK
http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2004/aug/m27-016.shtml


Catalogues of UFO cases involving ElectroMagnetic (EM) effects and vehicle interefence
http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/aug/m28-004.shtml


Discussion of UFOs in the Houses of Parliament in the UK
http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2003/aug/m05-003.shtml

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Valuable UK UFO Project

My 25 page long review of the Condign Report can now be found at the link below:
http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2006/may/m14-012.shtml

The Condign Report itself is available online at the link below:
http://tinyurl.com/kqll2

Sunday, March 05, 2006

UFO and SETI Chronology 1877-2006

About two and a half years after starting drafting it (and several more years after starting relevant reading), I am now ready to share a preliminary draft of a chronology of frequently discussed UFO and SETI related events from 1877-2006 ("Koi Chrono Core" for short).

This Chronology, like my heart, is dedicated to my wife.

I originally had in mind preparing a chronology about 20-30 pages long. The Chronology quickly became, um, considerably longer. The current draft is approximately 1,800 pages long (much of which is taken up with references).

Due to the technical wizardry of Joe McGonagle and Gary Anthony (for which I am very grateful) the download is available as a zipped Word document of about 1.6 Mb. Using a broadband service, this should download in about a second or two. Unzipped, the file size is approximately 9.1 Mb.

Following various technical problems, the webmaster of UFO Updates (Errol Bruce-Knapp) kindly stepped in and offered to host the relevant files on his webspace. The full draft Chronology should (fingers crossed!) be available at the links below.

The first link (below) is to a zipped Word copy of the full Chronology (around 1800 pages long, much of which is taken up with references), which is about 1.6 Mb:
http://tinyurl.com/re7ae
[http://koi.com.virtuallystrange.net/Koi%2520Chrono%2520Core/koichronocoreh.zip]

The next link (below) is to an unzipped copy of the same Word document. This is quite a bit bigger, so I wouldn't recommend trying this one unless you have a rather fast internet connection and don't have unzipping software (or if you, like me until recently, don't know what zipped files are). It is about 9.1 Mb:
http://tinyurl.com/oahe7
[http://koi.com.virtuallystrange.net/Koi%2520Chrono%2520Core/koi%2520chrono%2520core.doc]

The download is free. This document, or extracts from it, may be freely used (including being distributed, printed or cannibalised) for non-commercial purposes subject to a couple of minor conditions, included in the first footnote to the document). If it isn't used, I've wasted quite a bit of time!

The Chronology gives the dates of various frequently discussed events, incidents, individuals and documents in the history of ufology and is cross-referenced to related material.

I have concentrated on references to discussions in UFO and SETI books. As part of the preparation of this document, I have read a little over 1,000 such books noting relevant discussions.

So that others can see which books I've intended to cover already and carry on from where I've already reached, I've tried to follow the self imposed Rules when drafting the Chronology:

(A) If the footnote to one entry refers to a book, that _entire_ book has to be reviewed for material relevant to the footnotes for _any_ other entry or entries;

(B) Each book reviewed for relevant material _must_ be listed in the Chronology with an entry in the following format "[Year of Copyright] - Book: [Author] [Title]"

(C) If a new entry is added, each of the books that has already been reviewed must be reviewed again to check if they contained material relevant to the new entry.

I have not stuck rigidly to the last of these "Rules". As a result of that Rule, after reading the first 50 or so books I re-read each of them to look for references relevant to entries that had been added. However, when I added entries after reading (as happened in several instances) about 900 books, I was (to put it mildly) rather reluctant to re-read all the earlier books. Thus, the references for various late additions are relatively incomplete. Fortunately, the number of such entries is rather limited.

I have also made a start on cross-referencing events to underlying primary material (including US Air Force, CIA and FBI documentation) and included a limited number of hyperlinks to material available on the Internet.

This Chronology is intended to act as an efficient way of organising references and hyperlinks to relevant material, in the interests of more fully informed debate and reducing the amount of reinvention of the wheel.

Under the present civil litigation procedure in England in large commercial cases, the parties to litigation are expected to co-operate in various respects so as to make a case fit for trial in as efficient and fair a manner as possible. This commonly involves, at the most basic level, producing various agreed (and therefore non-conteniously drafted) documents so that the trial judge will be able to understand the nature of the dispute and the issues in dispute as efficiently as possible. These non-contentious documents typically include:

(1) a chronology (giving the dates of key events, a few words to identify the event and cross references to further material relied upon by both sides in relation to that event;

(2) a List of Issues (listing the main issues agreed and not agreed between the parties);

(3) a case memorandum (summarising the case in just a few pages);

(4) a dramatis personae (listing the names that the Judge will come across at trial, with a few words to identify them);

(5) a glossary (listing technical terms or terms of art that will arise during the trial, with an agreed definition of those terms);

(6) a reading list (of material to be read in advance of the trial).

I believe that ufology would greatly benefit from adopting some elements of this approach. All too often, the debates regarding UFO reports do not focus on the real issues (or even identify the issues which should be addressed).

The English High Court's "Admiralty & Commercial Court Guide" (commonly referred to as "the Commercial Court Guide") contains the following in relation to chronologies:

"3. As far as possible chronologies and indices should not be prepared in a tendentious form. The ideal is that the court and the parties should have a single point of reference that all find useful and are happy to work with.
4. Where there is disagreement about a particular event or description, it is useful if that fact is indicated in neutral terms and the competing versions shortly stated.
5. If time and circumstances allow its preparation, a chronology or index to which all parties have contributed and agreed can be invaluable.
6. Chronologies and indices once prepared can be easily updated and are of continuing usefulness throughout the life of the case."

Many books are written in chronological order. Some of those books contain a recap of many of the facts and matters covered in this Working Document. However, those books also contain evaluations of the relevant events and are rarely (if ever) written in a non-contenious style.

If the chronology is to be a manageable document, the information about the relevant event contained within the chronology must be kept to an absolute minimum. Since the chronology will only cover well-known key dates and incidents, in most instances the information may only need to be a few words (e.g. "Sighting by Kenneth Arnold") rather than a full description of the relevant event. Therefore, the chronology is _not_ designed to:

(a) act as an encyclopedia. There are already several encyclopedia relating to UFOs (e.g. those by Jerome Clark, Ronald Story and Margaret Sachs).

(b) act as a survey of the history of Ufology. Again, several books of this nature have already been written (e.g. by Jacobs, Dolan and Peebles).

(c) set out primary material. The Chronology is not designed to duplicate the work done by others, particularly by Loren Gross.

(d) act as a comprehensive bibliography. Book length bibliographies have been published already, and the AFU has recently released on the Internet a fairly comprehensive bibliography of UFO books.

(e) act as a list of all UFO sightings, or even all allegedly significant sightings. Various large databases already exist (including UFOCAT and Larry Hatch's *U* Database).

I'd like to stress that the current draft is just that - a draft. The Chronology is far from finished. Indeed, it never will be completely finished. There will always be more references that could be added. The amount of further work done on the present draft, and the form that it takes, will depend at least in part on the amount and nature of the feedback obtained on the present draft.

The draft chronology is intended to be easy to edit (whether by adding to the present draft, or to delete existing entries). In particular, it is important to note that it is not necessary to insert any entry at the relevant point in the main table or the endnote tables. An entry can be inserted at any point (including the beginning or the end) and then the table can simply be sorted. Many of the endnotes contain tables of references. Those tables can be cut and pasted into a new document, and then sorted alphabetically, chronologically or by length of discussion.

Assistance and suggestions from other individuals or groups would be more than welcome. In order of priority, I would particular welcome input in relation to the following:

(1) any concerns (however slight) about any ethical issues arising in relation to the draft Chronology;

(2) any concerns about any apparent bias in the content of the draft Chronology;

(3) suggestions as to the way forward. I am considering a number of ideas, including getting a small group together to discuss relevant issues and/or raising specific queries on the UFO Updates List (if the moderator, EBK, has no objection). Another possibility is simply abandoning further work on the Chronology so that I can concentrate on other projects;

(4) mistakes in the dates for an entry. This sort of mistake is easily corrected, and given the title of the document it would be embarrassing if errors in the dates are not corrected. Please note that the dates for an incident can vary from source to source, so suggestions of corrections to the date of the incident should ideally refer to primary source material. (I'd estimate the error rate in UFO books in relation to dates to be approximately 5-10%. In particular dates for alleged sightings by astronauts vary to such an extent that I'm sorely tempted simply
to delete the whole damn lot of them);

(5) mistakes in the short summary given for each entry;

(6) mistakes in the existing references;

(7) further individual references to _primary_ source material available in published books in relation to existing entries (e.g. where an entry exists in the Chronology for a CIA document, I would like to include multiple references to images and/or the complete text of that document so that it can be located by other
researchers as quickly as possible);

(8) material missed for existing entries from books _already_ listed in the Chronology. I currently own all the books listed in the Chronology in the format "[Year of Copyright] - Book:[Author] [Title]" and thus can quickly access those books;

(9) suggestions as to the priority of further books to be reviewed (particularly those containing significant primary source material). I read a lot, so feel free to give recommendations. If the relevant book is not listed in the Chronology in the format "[Year of Copyright] - Book: [Author] [Title]" then I probably haven't bought that book yet;

(10) further individual references to discussions in published books of events in existing entries in the draft Chronology;

(11) suggestions in relation to referencing internet material. Please note that this item is deliberately placed at the end of this list, because of the distressingly short period of time most links remain valid. Many of the links I inserted in the earliest draft of the Chronology in 2003 became invalid before the preliminary draft of the Chronology was completed in February 2006.

Various chronologies are already available online, including the following:

(a) A chronology entitled "Chronology of UFO History" by FUFOR at:
http://www.fufor.com/ufo_chronology.htm

(b) A chronology entitled "UFO Chronology by Year", apparently
prepared by a chaper of MUFON at:
http://www.westmassmufon.org/ufochronology.htm

(c) A chronology entitled "Government Involvement in the UFO Coverup" by "PEA Research" at:
http://www.think-aboutit.com/ufo/government_involvement_in_the_uf.htm

(d) A short chronology entitled "A Century of UFOs" at:
http://www.qtm.net/~geibdan/a2000/jan/a2.htm

(e) Several pages, starting at:
http://ufos.about.com/library/bldata/bltime.htm

(f) "A Brief SETI Chronology" by Owen, Robert M on the SETI League website, at:
http://www.setileague.org/general/history.htm

(g) Last but certainly not least, an ambitious chronology is also in preparation by Fran Ridge on the "NICAP" website.


Various chronologies have also been included in several books,
including by the following authors:
(1) Flammonde, Paris in his "UFO Exist!" (1976) at pages 426-445 (Appendix 1 generally) of the Ballantine Books paperback edition.
(2) Hall, Michael David in his "UFOs : A Century of Sightings" (1999) generally.
(3) Randles, Jenny in her "Little Giant UFO Encyclopedia"
(4) Hall, Richard "The UFO Evidence" (Volumes 1 and 2).

Also, an interesting "Parrallel Time Line" by Martin S Kottmeyer and Ronald Story provides an outline timeline showing developments in:
(a) ufology and SETI,
(b) science and technology,
(c) science fiction, and
(d) politics and religion.

That timeline is printed in "The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters" (2001) (edited by Ronald Story) at pages 401, 403-417 (in an entry entitled "Parallel Time Line") of the New American Library softcover edition, at pages 392, 393-407 of the pdf edition (with the same page numbering in the Microsoft Word edition) and in "The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters" (2001) (edited by Ronald Story) at pages 486-487, 488-502 (in an entry entitled "Parallel Time Line") of the
Robinson softcover edition.

I hope this Chronology is found to be useful.

Kind Regards,

Isaac Koi

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Tools of the trade - Software

I find it useful to split up the various
types of software/databases that ufologists use. In this email,
I'll divide my comments into the following categories:

A. Databases of UFO reports;

B. Databases of other information;

C. Expert systems to assist in identifying possible stimuli for
a report;

D. Other software to assist in investigations and research.

At the very minimum, I consider this exercise to be worthwhile
because it may assist some of the various individuals that
appear to be putting considerable time and effort into
developing their own databases/software. Also, the usefulness of
databases and other software merely as bibliographical tools
should not be underestimated given the sheer mass of literature
and documentation relating to UFO reports. However, before
launching into these topics, I'll just note a few cautionary
remarks in relation to the use of computers within ufology:

(1) "Computers are a powerful tool which properly used will give
enormous assistance to ufologists the world over... but it
should be recognised from the outset that they alone will not
answer the questions. [T]he UFO enigma will not be answered by
computers but by the talented and intuitive thinking of human
minds" per Spencer, John and Vallee, Jacques and Verga, Maurizio
in "UFO: 1947-1987" (1987) (edited by Hilary Evans with John
Spencer) at page 245 of the Fortean Tomes softcover edition (in
Chapter 3.6, entitled "Computers in Ufology").

(2) "Poor data will merely produce the wrong answer more quickly
on a computer. No technology or technique will compensate for
deficient data." per Peter Hill, quoted in Phenomenon (1988)
(edited by John Spencer and Hilary Evans) at page 224.

(3) "The well-known phrase "garbage in, garbage out' applies
equally well to ufology." per Gamble, Stephen and Wootten,
Michael and Danby, J and Smith, Willy and Kuhlemann, Bertil in
"Phenomenon" (1988) (edited by John Spencer and Hilary Evans) at
pages 224-237 of the MacDonald hardback edition (in Part 3, in
the unnumbered chapter entitled "Harnessing the Computer").

(4) See also the remarks by Brad Sparks on UpDates at the
following link:

http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/jan/m09-010.shtml

With these caveats firmly in mind, I turn to the categories I
outlined above.

A. Databases of UFO reports

Given that many ufologists (and non-ufologists) in modern
society appear to be almost compulsive list-makers, it is not
surprising that there are already a wide variety of dabases of
UFO Reports.

Heck, there are already a considerable number of lists of
databases (in effect, databases of databases - or "databases
squared").

What is more surprising is that these databases rarely seem to
be referred to by other individuals that are considering
developing their own databases.

If I were to attempt to prepare a comprehensive list of
databases from scratch, I would attempt to divide existing
databases into various categories (e.g. according to the method
of storage or access (such as online, computerised and paper
based), or according to the type of data stored (e.g. worldwide
reports, regional reports, or specialised (e.g. pilot sightings,
EM reports) and gradually build up a comprehensive list of
databases within each catagory.

However, given the existence of some attempts to list databases
already, I think a more efficient and systematic approach would
be to begin by starting by producing a list of references to
lists of databases (in effect, a database of databases of
databases, or a list of databases squared, or a "database
cubed").

I'll begin with a list of online lists of databases (most of
which are useful as guides to databases available online, but
are rather weak in relation to databases supplied on CD or on
paper):

(a) Mark Cashman's list of catalogues at the following link,
which is clearly presented and useful (but rather limited):

http://www.temporaldoorway.com/ufo/catalog/index.htm

(b) Potentially more comprehensive, but a bit hit and miss in
its coverage, is the following page on Francis Ridge's "NICAP"
website. That page refers to various categories or "groups" of
sightings. Clicking on a "group" displays a page relating to
that category of sighting that generally begins with a list of
databases or analyses relevant to that category.

http://www.nicap.dabsol.co.uk/special.htm

(c) Project 1947 provides a list of catalogues (which appears to
be generally limited to those by contributors to the Project)
at:

http://www.project1947.com/47cats.htm

(d) A slightly bare list of databases (which includes several
regional databases rarely mentioned elsewhere) is provided by
SUFOI at the following link:

http://www.sufoi.dk/artik-sn/new12-08.htm

(e) Few of the many computer software projects currently in
development give any indication that existing databases/software
were reviewed before launching into the new project. One of the
few exceptions is the RR0 project being run by Jerome Beau,
which not only includes a limited list of "alternatives and
competition" but also (extremely briefly and not entirely
clearly (possibly because of the somewhat stilted
English/jargon)) attempts to define what is different about the
proposed project. See the "alternatives and competition" table
and the remarks below it at the following link:

https://sourceforge.net/docman/display_doc.php?docid=17408&group_id=70060#AlternativesAndCompetition

(f) A very brief list of databases is given by Terry Groff on his
UFO Tools website at the following link:

http://www.terrygroff.com/ufotools/statistics.html

The most striking thing about these lists, to me at least, is
that there is very limited overlap in the lists of databases. It
seems to me that merely combining these lists would generate a
more comprehensive list of UFO databases than is currently
available on the Internet.

Even more striking is the fact that the lists of databases and
catalogues that appear in print also have extremely limited
overlap with the above lists. For example, UFO databases are
listed and/or discussed in the following:

Evans, Hilary in "UFO: 1947-1987" (1987) (edited by Hilary Evans
with John Spencer) at page 46 of the Fortean Tomes softcover
edition (Chapter 2.3.1, entitled "UFOs as Global Phenomenon").

Hall, Richard in "The UFO Evidence: Volume 2 - A Thirty Year
Report" (2001) (edited by Richard Hall) at pages 646-647 (in
Section 16) of the Scarecrow Press hardback edition.

Hynek, J Allen and Vallee, Jacques in their "The Edge of
Reality" (1975) at pages 76, 78-82 (in Chapter 3) of the Henry
Regnery hardback edition.

Gamble, Stephen and Wootten, Michael and Danby, J and Smith,
Willy and Kuhlemann, Bertil in "Phenomenon" (1988) (edited by
John Spencer and Hilary Evans) at pages 224-237 of the MacDonald
hardback edition (Part 3, in the unnumbered chapter entitled
"Harnessing the Computer").

Randles, Jenny and Warrington, Peter in their "UFOs : A British
Viewpoint" (1979) at pages 180-181 (in Chapter 11) of the Book
Club Associates hardback edition.

Randles, Jenny and Warrington, Peter in their "Science and the
UFOs" (1985) at page 60 (in Chapter 4) of the Blackwell hardback
edition.

Spencer, John and Vallee, Jacques and Verga, Maurizio in "UFO:
1947-1987" (1987) (edited by Hilary Evans with John Spencer) at
pages 238-245 of the Fortean Tomes softcover edition (in Chapter
3.6, entitled "Computers in Ufology").

Sturrock, Peter in his "The UFO Enigma" (1999) at pages 166-167
(in Chapter 24) of the Warner Aspect hardback edition.

Westrum, Ronald M in "UFO Phenomena and the Behavioral
Scientist" (1979) (edited by Richard F Haines) at pages 104-106
(in Chapter 5) of the Scarebrow Press hardback edition.

The above lists are an attempt at a database cubed. I've started
to generate my own database squared (i.e. a list of computer
databases), by listing the databases listed in the
webpages/discussions and other databases I've read about
elsewhere (or have obtained).

Before I spend much more time on this project, I'd invite anyone
that knows of other lists of databases to add to the above
database cubed to do so.

Of the above list of existing lists of databases, I would
heavily highlight in particular the article by Spencer, John and
Vallee, Jacques and Verga, Maurizio in "UFO: 1947-1987" (1987)
(edited by Hilary Evans with John Spencer) at pages 238-245 of
the Fortean Tomes softcover edition (in Chapter 3.6, entitled
"Computers in Ufology").

That article discusses a considerable number of existing
databases. Interestingly, I don't think I've read about most of
those databases since that article was printed in 1987. It would
be interesting to follow up on the status and availability of
those databases. A few hours of effort in following up the
availability of programs or databases that took week or months
to produce could be very rewarding.

I note in particular the following from that article (at the top
of page 242): " This is the only publication in the world
exclusively devoted to the use and application of computers in
ufology. A lot of international researchers contribute to the
[Computer UFO Newsletter] edited by Maurizio Verga. with
articles on research projects, ready programs, proposals of
common works and new software. There is a column, 'Offers of
software', where there is an offer at cost price of all UFO
programs available at the moment (about 30) for different kinds
of computers.".

Presumably, if the authors of the relevant programs were
prepared to make the programs available at cost price, some or
all of them would be prepared to make them available on a
website (such as Terry's "UFO Tools" website).

I note that the Newsletter is referred to on Maurizio Verga's
website at the following link, but I don't know whether the
newsletters that were produced (or the relevant programs) are
already available online or how useful they would be.

http://www.ufo.it/verga.htm

Another previous effort that I would be interested in knowing
more about (and may be worth noting by those that are working
on, or thinking about, generating their own database) is the
International Committee for UFO Research ("ICUR"). That
organisation made an effort to consider how more comprehensive
international databases of UFO reports could be generated and
how (if at all) the data in various databases could be
standardised. See the links below:

http://members.rogers.com/vlourenco/mufon/hais02.htm

http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/square/el82/icur.htm

That Committee boasted an impressive list of members, including
BUFORA, CUFOS, Project UNICAT, Project URD, SUFOI and others.
I'm aware of some background on the Committee (see the short
list of references below), but am quite out of date. I'd like to
know far more about this interesting endeavour. Can anyone point
me to more up to date information? Are any of the members of the
executive of that Committee on this List? How active was/is the
Committee? Did it issue any reports or substantial minutes of
its deliberations?

Some references for the International Committee for UFO Research
(in addition to the 2 hyperlinks given above):

Blevins, Dave in his "UFO Directory International" (2003) at
pages 89-90 (in Part 2) of the McF softcover edition.

Gamble, Stephen and Wootten, Michael and Danby, J. and Smith,
Willy and Kuhlemann, Bertil in "Phenomenon" (1988) (edited by
John Spencer and Hilary Evans) at page 224 of the MacDonald
hardback edition (Part 3, in the unnumbered chapter entitled
"Harnessing the Computer").

Randles, Jenny in her "UFO Reality" (1983) at page 52 (in
Chapter 3) of the Hale hardback edition.

West, Arnold in "Phenomenon" (1988) (edited by John Spencer and
Hilary Evans) at page 12 of the MacDonald hardback edition (in
the unnumbered chapter entitled "About BUFORA and ICUR").


In this part of this email I'm merely seeking to outline how a
comprehensive list of existing computer databases could be
produced, not to give a list of them. (A draft list I'm working
on is probably too long to include in this email). However, it
would be remiss of me to fail to give a couple of comments on
the two offline giants of the UFO database world: UFOCAT and
Larry Hatch's *U* database.

UFOCAT: I don't think that there's any real doubt that UFOCAT is
the most famous and largest offline UFO database.

I gave a list of references to discussion of UFOCAT cut and
paste from an incomplete draft of my Chronology in my email at
the following link:

http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/updates/2005/jan/m10-017.shtml

See also the CUFOS and UFOCAT webpages:

http://www.cufos.org/UFOCAT.html
http://www.ufocat.com/

As I remarked in that email, I think it would be in the
interests of ufology and CUFOS for the manual for UFOCAT to be
made available on the internet. The manual hints at the wealth
of data and bibliographical references on various topics that
can be extracted from UFOCAT. Also, the UFOCAT database (which
runs on Microsoft's Access) comes with various pre-prepared
lists relating to particularly types of sightings etc. I would
have thought it would be good advertising for UFOCAT for one or
more of those lists to be made freely available on the CUFOS
website.

I'd also note the following comment from page 5 of the UFOCAT
2002 Manual: "We would first caution potential users not to
expect to be able to begin and end their research using only
UFOCAT 2002-there are too many gaps in the data and, just like
the Internet, not every source of information is as reliable and
accurate as the next. The results obtained from UFOCAT 2002 are
best thought of as a reference guide to the original sources for
the crucial details. Otherwise, the distinction between poorly
investigated reports and exhaustively studied sightings will be
lost. However, you will substantially improve your search for
information by accessing UFOCAT 2002. What was true when Allan
Hendry wrote his critique of UFOCAT in 1979 is even truer today:
UFOCAT 2002 is without peer as a reference source. Thousands of
hours went into creating it, and months have gone into revising
it to improve its ease of use. It exists today as the most
comprehensive reference tool and bibliographic source on UFO
reports in existence."


Larry Hatch's *U* Database - Given Larry's frequent posts to
Updates, his database probably does not require any introduction
or any reference to his website at the following link:
http://www.larryhatch.net/

As far as I've seen, this database has not discussed in many
books so far. However, Larry's objective appears to be very
similar to that of Dr Willy Smith's Project UNICAT (i.e. a
filtered catalogue of higher quality UFO reports). Project
UNICAT's database has been discussed in several of the
references given above, and elsewhere (e.g. in the entry
entitled "UNICAT Project" at pages 943-944 of Jerome Clark's
"UFO Encylopedia 2nd Edition : Volume 2 L-Z:" (1998).

Larry's database is currently only available as a Microsoft DOS
program and its appearance is a rather basic. The sound effects
may have been cutting edge for DOS software but are now simply a
bit irritating. However, these rather superficial issues should
not cause the database itself to be underestimated. The database
is a useful tool and I look forward to seeing Larry release a
new version of his database once its been given a new, glossy,
Windows user interface. (Again, I find it interesting that the
references given by Larry's database rarely seem to overlap with
the references given for the same sightings by UFOCAT).


B. Databases of other information

Ah, well, this is a rather wide category of a mass of
(generally) smaller databases.....

For example, there are lists/databases of different types of IFOs
(e.g. Menzel's list, which is now online at:

http://www.cufon.org/cufon/ifo_list.htm

or lists relating to a particular type of IFO (e.g. the list of
clouds (with photos) for which a link is given on Terry's UFO
Tools website).

More significant are the various bibliographies (by Catoe etc).
I won't attempt to list the existing bibliographies in this
email, but will simply note that several of the existing
bibliographies contain sections which are devoted to listing
bibliographies - see, in particular, the following:

(1) Codes LB and LBA in the excellent online database produced
by the AFU, at the following link:

http://www.afu.info/booksbycodeL.htm

(2) US Library of Congress, Tracer Bullet 91-1 "Unidentified
Flying Objects (UFOs)" containing section entitled
"Bibliographies", available online at:

http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/tracer-bullets/ufostb.html

Surprising limited, unless I'm missing something, are existing
indexes/databases of government documents. Of course, there are
some lists (e.g. Brad Sparks' list of Project Blue Book
"Unknowns"), but I've seen far fewer such indexes than would be
useful. If someone has already compiled a list of such
indexes/databases, I'd be grateful if they could let me know as
it would produce a short cut for the database squared I'm
producing.

The range of other existing lists/databases that might be of
interest to ufologists is almost unlimited, for example:

(1) lists of SETI projects (such as those presented by Darling,
David in his "The Extraterrestrial Encyclopedia" (2000) at pages
378-383 (in the table entitled "SETI Observing Programs: 1960 to
the Present") of the Three Rivers softcover edition and Jill
Tarter's list in "Extraterrestrials: Science and alien
intelligence" (1985) (edited by Edward Regis) as her tabular
Appendix entitled "Archive of SETI observing programs 1959-84"
at page 192 of the Cambridge University Press softcover edition.

(2) various lists of movies involving UFOS/aliens, including:

a. The list entitled "A Checklist of ETs in the Cinema"
presented by Chris Boyce in in his "Extraterrestrial Encounter"
(1979) at page 164 (in Appendix 1) of the David & Charles
hardback edition, at page 152 of the 1980 revised NEL paperback
edition.

b. The list of science fiction films with themes of either
visitors from space, or travelling to space or both presented by
Armando Simon in "UFO Phenomena and the Behavioral Scientist"
(1979) (edited by Richard F Haines) at page 53 (in Chapter 3) of
the Scarebrow Press hardback edition.

c. The list entitled "Alien Inspired Movies" presented by
Kurland, Michael in his "The Complete Idiot's Guide to
Extraterrestrial Intelligence" (1999) at page 290 (in Chapter
28) of the Alpha Books softcover edition, and included in
Appendix E at pages 315-316.

(3) List of names of supposed extraterrestrials relating to UFO
sightings/contactees presented by Paul Christopher in his "Alien
Intervention" (1998) at pages 81-82 (in Chapter 5) of the
Huntington House softcover edition.

etc., etc., etc.


C. Expert systems to assist in identifying possible stimuli for
a report

Jacques Vallee has written about an expert system called
OVNIBASE that he developed using NEXPERT SYSTEM (developed by
Neuron Data, Inc) to implement a screening system which could be
operated by clerical personnel with the objective of eliminating
most misidentifications and to enable a skilled scientific
analyst to spend his or her time on those few cases genuinely
worthy of full investigation.

This system was discussed by Jacques Vallee in his
"Confrontations" (1990) at pages 212-213 (in the Appendix) of
the Ballantine Books paperback edition. It is also discussed in
the article by Spencer, Vallee and Verga highlighted above.

I've heard very little about this system in recent years. I
understand that it was being developed further by a French
group, but am not sure of its current status or availability.

D. Other software to assist in investigations and research.

This appears to be the primary focus of Terry Groff's "UFO
Tools" website at:

http://www.terrygroff.com/ufotools/

Again, I won't attempt to list specific examples in this email
(given its already considerable length), but will merely note
some categories for which lists could be developed:

1. Software for checking specific IFOs, the most obvious example
being astronomical sources;

2. Software relevant to particular types of evidence, e.g.
Photographic evidence : image analysis software; Witness
evidence: software/databases to assist in locating witnesses and
calculation tools to assist in evaluating witness evidence. (In
relation to calculation tools, in addition to noting the tools
on Terry Groff's UFO website referred to above, I note that the
article by Spencer, Vallee, and Verga highlighted above appears
to briefly refer to other such calculation tools, including an
Italian program called "Elaborazione Dati Avvistamento"
("Sighting Data Processing"), which, at least according to that
article, "allows the processing of many different parameters
coming from the witness' tale. Probable sizes, altitude,
distance and speed are some of the parameters you can
obtain...".

3. Software for digitising information, e.g. Documents: Scanning
software, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software; Sound
(e.g. lectures, radio interviews) : software such as Magix's
Audio Cleaning Lab.

Also, it is important not to forget the full range of activities
that may be encompassed by the term ufology, including political
lobbying FOIA requests. There are various interactive tools
online (and other software) that can be useful in relation to
these areas. For example, there are websites that allow the user
to send a fax elected representatives in a particular country,
or to help generate the text of a FOIA request letter.

Furthermore, there are of course the fundamental software
program (word processors, spreadsheets, databases, desktop
publishing software, virus software, zipping software etc etc).

Perhaps the most obvious observations from reviewing the
discussions referred to above are that many, many
catalogues/databases have (a) been planned but not finished, or
(b) finished but are not readily available. I dread to think how
much time and effort has been wasted on such projects. I urge
the various individuals on Updates that are involved in the
development of further databases to:

(1) consider what, if anything, their project adds to existing
databases;

(2) adopt realistic goals; and

(3) consider how their project can be designed in stages or
modules,

so that others can build upon your work if you decide to
abandon it.

To help me (or anyone else) track down databases that have been
developed but almost forgotten about, I repeat the invitation
given above to let me (or Updates generally) know of references
to lists of databases (other than those given in Section A of
this email) so that a comprehensive list of databases can be
generated and then followed up.


Kind Regards,

Isaac Koi

Tools of the trade - Hardware

What tools have been used by those interested in UFOs?

Taking hardware first, there are a variety of tools that have
been used.

I find it useful to think about the following category
separately, which reflect a wide range of different approaches
and interests.

(a) Tools for field investigations of past sightings,
(b) Tools for instrumented UFO sky searches,
(c) Tools for attempting communication with UFOs.

Whilst some tools may be used by some researchers in more than
one category (e.g. a flashlight), at the very least the most
obvious sources of discussion of such tools differ in each
category. For example:

(a) the first category is most commonly discussed in the field
investigation manuals produced by various authors and groups,

(b) the second category is most commonly discussed in relation
to SETV, Project Twinkle, Project Identification and Project
Hessdalen,

(c) the third category is most commonly discussed in relation to
Greer, CSETI etc.


A. Tools for field investigations of past sightings

In relation to the first category, relevant discussions in field
investigation manuals include the following:

(a) MUFON's manual - Raymond Fowler discusses The Field
Investigator's Kit in MUFON's Field Investigator's Manual -
4th Edition (1995) at pages 102 (in Chapter 4) of the MUFON
looseleaf edition. That chapter includes three lists of items,
without discussion of their uses. The relevant lists are of
Necessary Equipment (identification card, questionnaire forms,
investigator's manual, compass, camera, tape measure,
flashlight, string, knife, and other items), Desirable
Equipement (tape recorder, colour chart, elevation indicator,
arc indicator and other items), Optional equipment (Geiger
counter, video camera, rangefinder, and other items). The MUFON
manual also includes several chapters discussing the use of
various items of equipment in relation to specialised categories
of UFO reports (eg. Chapter 14, Radiation Survey of Landing
Cases by Thomas P Deuley).

(b) A longer (albeit somewhat biased) discussion of tools for
field investigations is given by David Coomer in his The UFO
Investigator's Guide (1999) at page 21-27 (in Chapter 1,
Equipment) of the Blandford softback edition. Page 21 advises
the preparation of a panic bag to allow rapid response to a
UFO report, noting in particular that, once the police or
military have sealed off the area, you are unlikely to be able
to gain access to carry out tests and analysis. Items included
(and discussed) in that chapter are:

(1) Notepad and pens
(2) Dicataphone/cassette recorder
(3) Torch
(4) Camera
(5) Video camera
(6) Tripod
(7) Binoculars/telescope
(8) Night vision scopes
(9) Watch
(10) Geiger counter/dosimeter
(11) Passive radar/UFO motion detectors
(12) Mobile telephone / CB handset
(13) Scanner
(14) ID Card
(15) Tape measure / pegs and string
(16) Sundries (with a list of items
including a pocket knife, soil testing kits, resealable plastic
bags etc)

(c) BUFORA includes some relevant material in its UFO
Investigation (1976), e.g. para 3.D(4) (in Chapter 3) of the
spiral bound first edition includes a check list of items for a
basic field kit (with a few words on the uses of each item
and/or other comments); para 4.A (in Chapter 4) includes a
longer list of items for a kit which applies to those cases
where a UFO is reported to have left residual traces at ground
level.


B. Tools for instrumented UFO sky searches

The various field investigation manuals tend to include less
material on these types of tools. One exception is Allan
Hendry's The UFO Handbook (1979). Although well known for its
discussion of the identification of IFOs, it is worth
remembering the Tools Section at pages 160-285 of the Sphere
softback edition. Whilst the tools referred to in that section
extend to multiple witnesses (chapter 14) and statistics
(chapter 20), there are various chapters relevant to attempts at
instrumented UFO research. For example, in addition to chapters
on Optics (Chapter 15) and Photography (Chapter 16), see:
Chapter 13 : Magnetic Detectors at pages 186-190 of the Sphere
softback edition. Chapter 19 : Radiation Detectors at pages 237-
240 of the Sphere softback edition.

Generally more relevant than field investigation manuals, are
books or websites discussing SETV, Project Twinkle, Project
Identification, Project Hessdalen and Project Starlight.

In relation to SETV, see in particular the chronology at the
following link (and other pages on the same website):

http://www.setv.org/nstrmntd.html

I'd be happy to cut and paste into this email lists of
references for material on Projects Twinkle and Hessdalen from a
UFO chronology I've been working on, but the lists are rather
long. Also, most discussions of Project Twinkle are limited to a
general overview of sightings of green fireballs rather than a
discussion of instrumented searches. Similarly, most discussions
of Project Hessdalen focus on a description of the earthlights
hypothesis rather than on the equipment used on in the project.
You may have more luck looking at the much shorter lists of
references for Project Starlight and Project Identification that
I've cut and paste from the relevant entries in my draft
chronology (below).

Some references for Project Starlight:

Curran, Douglas in his In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts
of Outer Space (1985) at pages 70, 71, 72-73 (in the unnumbered
chapter entitled In Advance of the Landing) of the updated 2001
Abbeville Press hardback edition.

Evans, Hilary in The Age of the UFO (1984) (edited by Peter
Brookesmith) at pages 24-25 (in the unnumbered chapter entitled
First Catch Your Saucer) of the Black Cat hardback edition. The
relevant chapter is an article reprinted from the weekly partwork
The Unexplained.

Stanford, Ray in his Socorro Saucer (1976) at pages 184-191 (in
Appendix B) of the 1978 Fonatana revised paperback edition.


Some references for Project Identification:

Andrews, George C in his Extra-Terrestrials Among Us (1986) at
pages 18-20 (in Chapter 1) of the Llewellyn softcover edition,
at pages 21-23 of the Llewellyn paperback edition.

Ashpole, Edward in his The UFO Phenomena (1995) at pages 42-43
(in Chapter 3) of the Headline hardback edition.

Campbell, Steuart in his The UFO Mystery Solved (1994) at page
179 (in Chapter 12) of the Explicit Books softcover edition.

Devereux, Paul in Phenomenon (1988) (edited by John Spencer and
Hilary Evans) at page 326 of the MacDonald hardback edition
(Part 4, in the unnumbered chapter entitled Earthlights).

Devereux, Paul in his Earth Lights Revelation (1989) at page 129
(in Chapter 5), 186-187 (in Chapter 7), 222 (in Chapter 8) of
the Blandford softcover edition.

Evans, Hilary in Frontiers of Reality (1989) (edited by Hilary
Evans) at pages 52-53 (in Chapter 3) of the Guild publishing
hardback edition.

Evans, Hilary in The Age of the UFO (1984) (edited by Peter
Brookesmith) at pages 28-30 (in the unnumbered chapter entitled
First Catch Your Saucer) of the Black Cat hardback edition. The
relevant chapter is an article reprinted from the weekly
partwork The Unexplained.

Evans, Hilary in his From Other Worlds (1998) at pages 83-84 (in
Chapter 3) of the Carlton hardback edition.

Evans, Hilary in his The Evidence for UFOs (1983) at pages 28-29
of the Aquarian softcover edition (in Chapter 1) and pages 117
and 128 (chapter 7) and pages 149-150 (in Chapter 8).

Jacobs, David in his The UFO Controversy in America (1975) at
page 282 (in Chapter 10) of the Indiana hardback edition, page
251 of the Signet paperback edition.

Marvels and Mysteries (Editors Of) in Marvels and Mysteries:
UFOs (1997) at pages 86-89 of the Parrallel softcover edition.

Phillips, Ken in UFOs: The Final Answer? (1993) (edited by David
Barclay and Therese Marie Barclay) at pages 62-62 (in Chapter 3)
of the Blandford softcover edition.

Spencer, John and Evans, Hilary in Phenomenon (1988) (edited by
John Spencer and Hilary Evans) at page 175 of the MacDonald
hardback edition (Part 3, in the unnumbered chapter entitled
Investigating UFOs - Introduction).

Spencer, John in his The UFO Encyclopedia (1991) at page 157 (in
an entry entitled Identification, Project) of the Guild hardback
edition (with the same page numbering in the Avon softcover
edition), at page 180 of the Headline paperback edition.

Time-Life (Editors of) in The UFO phenomenon: Mysteries of the
Unknown (1987) at pages 134, 135 (in Chapter 5) of the Time-
Life Book hardback edition.

In terms of other material on instrumented searches, I note in
passing that the AFU bibliography project has a code for
publications that are devoted to Detection & alarm systems,
instrumented research. The relevant code is UD and the only
English publication currently listed with that code is one that
I 'm not familiar with : Viewing, David: The use of analytical
instruments in the search for extra-terrestrial spacecraft.
(BUFORA science papers, 1), 1976. The relevant list is at:
http://www.afu.info/booksbycodeU.htm



C. Tools for attempting communication with UFOs

I've gone on far too long already, so for this category I'll
merely mention that there's been plenty of discussion on UFO
Updates and elsewhere of Greer and his flashlights. An
entertaining list of such tools has been given by Joe
McGonagle (including candles, Ouija boards, Orgone
generators, Spiritual batteries, and strobe lights). However,
that list is far from exhaustive. For example, the use of
radio has not been limited to SETI researchers. Apart from
Marconi and Tesla, there have been plenty of more recent
claims to have used radios (and television sets) to
communicate with UFOs.

Friday, May 27, 2005

What do ufologists do?

In identifying tools and reference documents that might be useful to ufologists, I think the starting point should be to identify the varies activities that fall within the scope of "ufology" and why these activities are undertaken.

As an easier task than identifying the goal(s) of ufologists, I've made a quick attempt to outline the relevant activities within an overall framework of a few main categories (which overlap to some extent), with a view to producing a document that can be developed in the future (as a FAQ, lists of relevant sources, action plans, a training syllabus or something else).

The main categories of activities I've identified at the moment are:

A. Investigation
B. Research
C. Lobbying
D. Miscellaneous other

These categories are broken down into more detail below:

A. Investigation
(1) Reactive investigations
(i) Organising reporting systems
1. Obtaining reports
2. Dissemination to investigators

(ii) Field investigations
1. Questioning witnesses
2. Report Forms
3. Site investigations
4. Gathering other relevant information

(iii) Case reports
1. Assessment of evidence
2. Presentation of evidence and assessment

(2) Proactive investigations
(i) Sky watches
(ii) Sustained projects (e.g. Hessdalen, Project Twinkle, Project Identification).


B. Research

(1) Research of issues relevant to assessment of value of
evidence

(i) Witness Evidence

1. Medical/psychological (a. Perception b. Recall)
2. Folklore
3. Science Fiction

(ii) Other forms of evidence
1. Physical evidence
2. Photographic evidence
3. Radar evidence
4. Other

(2) Compiling databases

(3) Statistical studies

(4) Historical/Archival research

(5) Sociological studies of:
(i) Those reporting UFOs
(ii) Those investigating ufo reports
(iii) The public perception of UFO reports


C. Lobbying

(1) Obtaining co-operation

1. Objectives of obtaining co-operation
a. Obtaining information/documentation
i. Parliamentary questions
ii. Arranging hearings
b. Further studies
c. Other

(i) Methods of obtaining co-operation from Scientists/Academics
a. Consultancy arrangements
b. Symposia
c. Publications
d. Ad hoc involvement
c. Other

(ii) Methods of obtaining co-operation from Politicians/Officials
a. Personal approaches
b. Petitions
c. Demonstrations
d. Other

(iii) Methods of obtaining co-operation from members of the public
(i) Publication in main stream science journals
(ii) Peer reviewed UFO publications
(iii) Books
(iv) Internet ((a) Websites ((1) Text (2) Video (3) Sound) (b) Discussion groups)
(v) Media ((a) Newspapers (b) Television/video (c) Radio)
(vi) Public appearances ((a) Lectures (b) Debates)
(vii) Personal approaches

(2) Persuading individuals of results



D. Miscellaneous other issues
(1) Ethics
(2) Therapy
(3) Making money
(4) Achieving political objectives
(5) Achieving religious objectives

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Developing basic ufological reference/working documents

The key points in relation to the working documents are that:

(a) Contributions can, if desired, be made anonymously by use of an email account which does not indicate the identity of the author.

(b) The primary and secondary sources should be identified, giving some indication of the extent to which each of these sources has been considered and the approach adopted in relation to each source (e.g. checking for certain key words in an index, reading the entirety of the source material for certain stated periods etc)

(c) In deciding on the nature of each working document, an attempt should be made to identify types of information which can be contributed without undermining any project which an individual has invested a considerable amount of time and effort and wishes to see through to publication. For example, witnesses and reports which become known to a researcher appear to be more highly valued than ancillary information which is not newsworthy in and of itself. Some pooling of information on a topic is better than no pooling at all.

(d) The working documents should avoid the inclusion of comments and analysis which will detract from the presentation and gathering of relevant information. The working documents should set out relevant factual material in a neutral manner.

(e) The working documents and contributions to it must be clearly and fully referenced to the primary source if that is available to the person producing the working document or commenting upon it. If the primary source is not available or known, the person writing the working document or contributing to it must be identify the secondary source or sources which purports to set out the relevant asserted facts.

(f) Draft working documents and/or contributions to working documents should be posted to an internet forum to limit issues as to the giving of appropriate credit.

(g) The relevant public forum must be easily accessible on-line at no charge, so that the relevant material working document (and any contribution to it) is found as part of a basic search on the internet by a potential researcher prior to his embarking on more in-depth work;

(h) If meaningful contributions are to be obtained, the relevant forum must be read by a considerable number of investigators and researchers informed as to the subject matter of the relevant working document.

(i) The relevant public forum should be one that should be widely regarded as not dominated by one “faction”.

I am not entirely convinced that a public forum fully satisfying the final 3 objectives set out above exists. If anyone has a better idea than the use of UFO Updates, I would be happy to hear from them.)

The need for basic reference documents

Given the nature of the debate within Ufology, it is surprising that lawyers appear not to have a more active role in the discussions. Apart from areas within which lawyers might be expected to have directly applicable skills (e.g. in relation to Freedom of Information Act issues, interviewing of witnesses etc), the basic skills and concepts used and developed by lawyers may have a wider role.

In particular, it appears to me to be desirable to consider whether any of the tools used by lawyers (e.g. fact and issue management devices) and concepts used by lawyers (e.g. relating to standards of proof, burdens of proof, weight of evidence, relevance, materiality, proportionality etc) could useful be deployed.

Of course, lawyers do not have a monopoly on the use of most of these tools and concepts. However, many of the comments made in the present ufological literature betray a lack of understanding of some of the fundamental understanding of relevant concepts. On a more pragmatic level, it appears to be worth giving further consideration to the fact and issue management tools used by lawyers (particularly in factually complex cases).

For example, under the present civil litigation procedure in England in large commercial cases, the parties to litigation are expected to co-operate in various respects so as to make a case fit for trial in as efficient and fair a manner as possible. This involves, at the most basic level, producing various agreed (and therefore non-conteniously drafted) documents so that the trial judge will be able to understand the nature of the dispute and the issues in dispute as efficiently as possible. Even if not directed to jointly produce such documents by the judge, the parties may jointly prepare such documents in an attempt to narrow the issues between themselves, or draft documents themselves in a non-contentious manner to assist the Court.

These non-contentious documents typically include:
a chronology (giving the dates of key events, a few words to identify the event and cross references to further material relied upon by both sides in relation to that event ;

(a) a List of Issues (listing the main issues agreed and not agreed between the parties);

(b) a case memorandum (summarising the case in just a few pages);

(c) a dramatis personae (listing the names that the Judge will come across at trial, with a few words to identify them);

(d) a glossary (listing technical terms or terms of art that will arise during the trial, with an agreed definition of those terms);

(e) a reading list (of material to be read in advance of the trial) .

Non-contentious documents in the form of chronologies and a List of Issues appear to be harder to find, whether in print or (to an even greater extent) on the Internet.

Problems within ufology

The first step in solving some of the problems with current attempts to investigate issues arising from reports of UFOs is to identify those problems.

So, what are the main problems?


Apart from the obvious difficulties arising from limited funding and resources, numerous problems have repeatedly arisen in relation to research in the UFO field.

(It could, of course, be said that several of these problems arise to some, or even the same, extent in many fields of research.)

These include:

(a) The public perception of those investigating or researching in this field and the potential impact (actual or merely feared) of any involvement in this field becoming known to others;

(b) The undertaking of overly ambitious projects, which do not adequately take into account a realistic consideration of available time and resources;

(c) The abandonment of projects before any results are published;

(d) The interest of an individual or group of individuals becoming diverted to administrative tasks rather than investigation and/or research, with the individual ultimately becoming disillusioned with ufology.

(e) A lack of clarity as to the purpose that will be served by the investigation or research that is being performed and the value of any results;

(f) Individuals having an intense interest in Ufology for a limited period, followed by a complete abandonment of any activity in this field;

(g) Strong polarisation of the debate which obscures the fundamental points in a contribution;

(h) Strong personalities involved in the discussion, which again can obscure the fundamental points in a disagreement between two individuals or viewpoints;

(i) Strong concerns about recognition of the contribution made by a person or group;

(j) A frustrating lack of references to primary documents and/or named witnesses in UFO literature, often with no references at all to the source of information presented as fact;

(k) A frustrating lack of indexing to much UFO literature;

(l) A frustrating inability to determine the potential sources that have already been examined and found not to contain any relevant information (referred to by Loren Gross as “dry holes”);

(m) Limited knowledge of and/or access to key books and documents.

(n) Researchers with a wide variety of abilities and backgrounds, not always working in fields in which they have the necessary skills.