Thursday, July 30, 2009

Brethren Digital Archives project adopts a mission statement.

At a meeting on June 3, the Brethren Digital Archives (BDA) project adopted the following mission statement: "To digitize with maximum searchability Brethren periodicals produced from the beginning of publication to the year 2000."

The word "Brethren" in the statement refers to bodies that trace their origin to the baptism near Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708. The group heading up the project plans to produce a digital archives according to nationally recognized standards that can be made available to researchers through the various participating Brethren bodies.

Brethren periodicals provide a great deal of historical data and theological information about the Brethren. Some Brethren periodicals have been transferred to microfilm for preservation, but microfilm is not searchable on a computer. Included in their pages are Bible study articles, theological debate, accounts of missionaries, reports on annual meetings, family history information, and some photographs.

The ultimate goal of the Brethren Digital Archives project is to digitize Brethren periodicals starting with "The Monthly Gospel-Visiter" begun by Henry Kurtz in 1851, and concluding with all Brethren periodicals being published at the end of the 20th century. The first phase of the project would include periodicals published before the divisions that took place between Brethren groups in the early 1880s.

The June 3 meeting was hosted by the Brethren Historical Library and Archives in Elgin, Ill. Three earlier meetings were hosted by the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. The next meeting is scheduled at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. The meetings are historic in that for the first time they include archivists, librarians, and historians from many Brethren bodies.

-- Jeanine Wine and Ken Shaffer contributed this report.

Source: 7/30/2009 Newsline

No comments: