On-line Wizarding Library

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Archive
Name: On-line Wizarding Library
Date(s): 2005?-April 30,2012
Archivist: Potion Mistress
Founder:
Type:
Fandom: Harry Potter
URL: http://owl.tauri.org/ (archive), Livejournal (to be deleted by 2013)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
"Welcome to the OWL site. Our mission is to uphold the Tauri sites' motto of Excellence in Fan Fiction. This site is devoted to the Harry Potter universe. Come and sit a spell."[1]

On-line Wizarding Library is a moderated Harry Potter fanfiction archive. On April 1, 2012, the archive announced it was shutting down: "As of 4-30-2012, tauri.org will be closing - for several reasons, not the least of which is hardware. The machine has been running 24x7 since the site first went live, and has clearly been showing its age. It will continue to be checked and rebooted daily until the end of the month. At that time, it will be powered off. Any information needed from the site (stories, reviews, etc.) must be collected before that time."

At the time of the announcement the archive had 3,864 stories by 519 authors, 13,0435 reviews, and 1749 members. Members who attempted to register with AOL, CompuServe, Verizon and Yahoo email accounts were banned for a variety of reasons. Gmail and hotmail email accounts were accepted.

Submission Process

As a moderated archive, fan fiction was subject to review. The site was part of the Tauri series of eFiction archives. According to the FAQ: "Each new story or chapter from an unvalidated author is read and assessed for quality by Admin." Out of character stories would be rejected: "Fanfiction is the realm of make-believe, however stories will be rejected if canon characters are so OOC (out of character) that they are unrecognisable. Some examples would include Professor Dumbledore using slang, or Harry being a punk rocker with superpowers, Gandalf the Grey singing rap, Mr. Spock entering a wet tee-shirt contest, etc. Know your fandom and characters. Mary Sue/Harry Stu's are considered to be under-developed characters and will not be allowed in fanfic. An original character should be very well-developed, and capture the reader's interest."[2]

screencap of the Categories page, click for larger

Stories were also checked for language, punctuation and grammar: "Readers expect a polished story, and therefore Admin will check to make sure stories meet minimum requirements. Netspeak and abbreviations will not be accepted, nor will colloquial language (with the exception of in character dialogue). We encourage authors to expand their knowledge of the English language by using a variety of words to describe scenes, objects and people. http://www.thesaurus.com is an excellent resource for expanding your vocabulary, as is the built-in thesaurus on Microsoft Word. The sophistication of your work should be graded at an adult level. A good site to use in determining the grade level or sophistication of your writing is http://www.interventioncentral.org/htmdocs/tools/okapi/okapi.shtml"[3]

Sentence fragments were discouraged and stories had to have a minimum of 500 words. Non-validated authors were allowed a maximum of nine thousand, nine hundred and ninty-nine (9,999) words per chapter. Validated authors could be allowed up to fifteen thousand (15,000) words per chapter.

The archive also would send 'Rejection Letters': "If a story is rejected, we will send you a No Letter, explaining the reasons for the rejection, and possible ways to increase the quality of your story for a successful resubmission. If the story is rejected on grounds of spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors, and it is resubmitted without said corrections taking place, the story will be deleted without a response from Admin. It is the author's responsibility after initial rejection to ensure their story meets minimum standards before resubmitting." [4]

Review Etiquette

While the archive did support reviews (and in fact by 2012 had gathered over 13,000 comments from readers) they offered the following rules for reviewing or providing feedback:
"The purpose of reviews is to let the author know what you think of their story. Do NOT post about site issues in reviews. If you are having trouble with the site, use the contact link at the bottom of the page to email admin. Please think before you review. Constructive criticism is helpful to authors but flaming will not be tolerated.

Examples: Constructive criticism: The house-elf seems to speak very proper English compared to the ones we've seen in canon. Is there a reason for this? I once read a story where a family's house-elf was educated from a young age to speak like their wizard family. Just wondering.

Flames: House-elves don't speak like that, you idiot! Haven't you ever read the books? You suck. And everyone knows Hogwarts is in Canada.

One example will ensure you have a happy home on Tauri for as long as you wish. The other will ensure notes from me, a deleted review, and possible parting of the ways.

Any questions, please email me. I have Snape's tolerance for reviewers who flame authors or clog up reviews with technical issues and don't report it to the people who can help.

Authors: if you receive a review or member e-mail which you feel violates the spirit of our community, please contact me."[5]

Fiction Categories

Categories listed in order of popularity:

  • Fire & Ice (HG/SS) - Severus Snape & Hermione Granger fic (1,665 stories as of April 2012)
  • The Common Room (General Fic) - General Harry Potter fanfic. (817)
  • Parseltongue (Non-English fanfic) - Non-English language fanfiction. (309)
  • Draconian Measures (Malfoy family-centric) - Follow the bouncing ferret to the Malfoy fic. (292)
  • Realm of the Half-Blood Prince (Snape-centric) - All Snape-centric fic except HG/SS. (For HG/SS see Fire & Ice) (187)
  • Something the Dark Lord Made (Darkfic) - Fics walking on the dark side of the spectrum. No fluffiness. (154)
  • Hogwarts: A History (Pre-book 1 fic) - The Marauders, Headmaster Dippet, Tom Riddle, etc. Fics from the early years. (136)
  • Moonlight & Madness (Lupin-centric fic) - Lupin fic (109)
  • Snarry (SS/HP slash) - Snape/Harry slash fic. (86)
  • The Deathly Hallows (Book 7 fic) - Stories based during book 7, the Deathly Hallows. (78)
  • Imperio (Specific Challenges) - Dares, fic challenges, etc. The Dark Lord made us do it! (77)
  • Crucio (Parody & crackfic) - Deliberately bad fic & parodies; our version of the "Dark & Stormy Night" contest. Excruciatingly funny! (73)
  • Lunacy - Lovegood-centric stories. (49)
  • Patronus (SS/HP mentoring, not slash) - Snape & Harry father-son, mentoring or adoption fic. Not slash. (48)
  • Archives of Azkaban (Dead WiPs) - Abandoned WiPs. Don't expect these to be updated or finished. Subject to being purged. (12)
  • Rolls of Parchment (Non-Fiction) - Essays, papers, dissertations on the world of Harry Potter. (8)
screencap of the OWL LJ, click for larger version

OWL Awards

The archive hosted the annual OWL Awards for fanfiction.

Featured Essays

  • The Fully Knowable Severus Snape (G) by xxxx. Published: 01-14-2010. Summary: If we look at Snape, as he asked, we can we can understand him as a fully knowable character using only, and all of, what Rowling gives us, applying things she shows us in other parts of the series. (Delivered at Azkatraz: A Harry Potter Symposium, July 20, 2009.)
  • Going forward, to hope and aging: Snape and McGonagall (G) by xxx. Published: 01-14-2010.Summary: Why McGonagall may be the best mate for Snape. Originally written as a gift for annietalbot.
  • Funhouse Mirrors: Fracture and Integration in the Potterverse (G) by xxx. Published: 08-27-2009. Summary: This series is coauthored by Mara Tesler Stein, Jessica Aldis, and Elisabeth Carnell. In the Harry Potter series, the psychological, moral, and social dichotomies experienced by the principal characters and institutions are central to their development, from children into adults or from dysfunction to resolution. This panel will study the ideas of fracture and integration in three ways: the first takes examples of mirrors and projections (Patronuses, Pensieve memories) to examine the broken or partial images of self which must be understood and integrated to produce a mature adult; the second looks at the Hogwarts house system, which intentionally fractures the student body and through its emphasis on rivalry and privileging of certain character traits, undermines its original purpose; and the third widens the perspective to look at fracture and moral breakdown in wizarding society. Just as the readers recognize their personal dilemmas in those of the characters, so there is resonance between the real and imagined societies.
  • Secrets of the Classlist (PG) by Grace has Victory. Published: 10-07-2008. Summary: JKR's working notes include a list of the 40 students in Harry's class. Some of them we know well from canon; others never even enter the story. Are these characters just a random list of names? On the contrary, it seems that JKR planned a background and personality for every single one.
  • Mind the Gap: Severus Snape and the Final Imperative (G) by HilaryKJustice. Published: 09-09-2008. Summary: This paper considers how the hero's death many wished for Severus Snape was both concealed and revealed by the two-year publication gap between HBP and DH.
  • “A Black Boy Even Taller than Ron”: Racial dynamics in Harry Potter (PG) by xxx. Published: 08-14-2008. Summary: The purpose of this paper is to critically examine Rowling’s literal and metaphorical treatment of race in order to understand the series’ underlying racial messages in the context of contemporary scholarship in this area.
  • Ordinary wizards: The psychology of evil in the Harry Potter universe (PG) byxxx. Published: 08-14-2008. Summary: This paper uses scholarship from Holocaust Studies and Psychology to argue that, unlike Voldemort and a handful of other Death Eaters, most of Voldemort’s followers, as well as those whose lack of resistance facilitated Voldemort’s agenda, are neither mentally ill nor morally corrupt but are ordinary and possibly even decent wizards caught up in unusual circumstances out of their control.
  • Of Horcruxes, Arithmancy, Etymology and Egyptology (G) by HilaryKJustice. Published: 05-23-2007. Summary: Who's going to die? What is Snape's Patronus? What's up with the Horcruxes, and why is the World Mythology book stuck shut on J.K. Rowling's web site? Combining cognitive linguistics, historical mythology and mathematical semiotics, this essay proposes answers to these questions and argues that the answers have already been provided by Rowling in the first six books.

Staff Interviews

In 2008, several staff members interviewed community authors.

References

  1. Quote from the Archives About page."
  2. From the FAQ, accessed April 6, 2012.
  3. From the FAQ, accessed April 6, 2012.
  4. From the FAQ, accessed April 6, 2012.
  5. FAQ Review Etiquette accessed April 6, 2012.