Coming Soon: PhilPeople


David Bourget (Western) and David Chalmers (NYU), the directors of the online philosophical database PhilPapers (and its associated sites, PhilArchive, PhilEvents, and PhilJobs), have announced a forthcoming new service called PhilPeople, a “searchable database of philosophers.”

In an email earlier today, Bourget and Chalmers describe the service, which is being developed with the support of the American Philosophical Association (APA):

It will have an associated search engine that enables searches on a number of dimensions (e.g. by areas of specialization, location, and demographic features). PhilPeople will also provide a profile page to any philosopher who wants one, with links to their publications on PhilPapers. It will include social networking features. It will also include an associated database of academic departments of philosophy, with searchable information about each of these departments.

Why have such a service? They write:

PhilPeople will have many benefits for the philosophical community. For individual philosophers, it will provide a way of showcasing your research, making information about you and your work available to the broad community, and helping you to network with other philosophers. For those planning conferences and events, it will provide a way of searching for speakers, authors, and other participants with relevant expertise. For the community as a whole, it promises to enable demographic information about the profession in more detail than was previously available. 

The service is aiming initially for “fairly complete coverage of professional philosophers (roughly: people with Ph.Ds in philosophy, teaching in philosophy departments) in the English-speaking world,” but plans to grow to be “a reasonably thorough database of professional philosophers around the world.” To start, PhilPeople “will be based on the PhilPapers user database, which already includes over half of the professional philosophers in the English-speaking world, supplemented by the Philosophical Gourmet Report faculty lists and by data entry from department websites.”

Bourget and Chalmers are requesting some assistance with PhilPeople prior to its launch:

We need some help in completing the database. We will soon be emailing registered PhilPapers users in order to correct and complete their PhilPeople profiles. In many cases PhilPapers profile information dates from some years ago and is now incorrect. PhilPeople also aims to have more fine-grained information, for example about appointments and demographics. We have developed a simple wizard to enter and correct the information needed for PhilPeople. The upcoming email will contain a link to this wizard, and you can also access it at any time from your PhilPapers profile page. We would greatly appreciate it if you can go through this process to ensure your information is correct and complete. This will help a great deal in ensuring that your information is available for anyone searching for philosophers.

The PhilPeople database aims to include information about all philosophers, whether or not they are registered PhilPapers/PhilPeople users. To cover those who are not currently PhilPapers users, our data entry personnel have been gathering publicly available information about philosophers from department websites. Where possible we will email these philosophers to give them the opportunity to correct and complete their information, and to give them the opportunity to become a registered PhilPeople user. For those who choose not to become a registered user, we will have a simple record in the database with basic publicly available information about doctorate, position, publications, and the like.

We will also shortly be contacting philosophy department administrators in order to make sure that our information about department members is as complete and correct as possible. We would appreciate it if you can encourage administrators to supply this information as well as they can. We anticipate that the service will be widely used by prospective students. We will offer the opportunity to compare departments along various dimensions, and it will be in everyone’s interests for the information to be as complete as possible.

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