Moving the 19th century into the 21st century might seem an impossible task, but the Brethren Digital Archives hopes to accomplish just that by making available digital copies of old printed publications, some that date back to 1854.
The group plans an online archive of newspapers, magazines, journals, and almanacs produced by the various Brethren groups that trace their spiritual heritage to Alexander Mack and the baptism of eight believers in Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708. The documents in the project span the years 1854 to 2000 and include the Brethren Missionary Herald magazine (the predecessor to FGBC World) and Grace Theological Seminary’s Grace Journal and Grace Theological Journal. Once complete, they will be available at no charge on archive.org and fgbworld.com or at locations such as Grace College’s Morgan Library.
Meeting in September, 2010, at the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, the committee made further plans to partner with Lyrasis to create an online archive of documents printed in the U.S. from the mid-1800s to 2000. Grant funds make it possible to scan these publications at a rate far below the original $150,000 estimate. Now it is hoped to complete the project, including oversized documents, for approximately $50,000.
Much of this funding must be raised before the end of the year to ensurethe project gets underway. The grant which makes the costs so attractive runs out at the end of 2010 and while there is hope the grantwill be extended, there is no promise.
There are also volunteer opportunities for individuals to help check theaccuracy of the documents once they are scanned. If you are able to help, call the Brethren Heritage Center at (937) 833-5222.
The committee requests prayer for the project, as well, asking that the work would be completed well and in a timely fashion. They also want to be good stewards of the funds that have been provided for the work that is to be done.