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

4 Comments:

Blogger Paul Kimball said...

Isaac:

Bravo!

Paul

11:21 PM, March 08, 2006  
Blogger Steven said...

I think this is wonderful and only wish you had your own website so the same attention to detail and clarity could be utilised to clarify the ongoing search for truth.
stevengriff@gmail.com

10:56 PM, May 10, 2007  
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