A new website for the Brethren Digital Archives was unveiled at the group’s spring meeting, March 5, in Wi-nona Lake, Ind. The site, intended to give more visibility to the developing organiza-tion, may ultimately be a portal to gain access to digitized Brethren publications from the late 19th and the 20th centuries.
Found at brethrendigitalarchives.org , the site was developed by Eric Bradley, a member of the board representing the Morgan Library at Grace College, Wi-nona Lake, Ind.
At their meeting, the board also reviewed sample digital scans from several ven-dors, analyzed quotes for the first phase of the project, reviewed a promotional brochure, and discussed fund-raising options.
The group aims to digitize some or all of the periodicals produced from the beginning of publication to the year 2000 by each of the Brethren groups who trace their origin to the baptism near Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708.
The first publications to be digitized will be those published before 1880, documents that are common to all the groups. They include: Gospel Visitor, Christian Family Companion, Pilgrim, Weekly Pilgrim, Christian Family Companion/Gospel Visitor, and Brethren at Work.
Plans are now being made to raise funds for the first phase, which in-cludes 49 volumes, 1,504 issues, and 23,000 images or pages. It could cost up to $40,000 for this first phase.
In 2008, estimates to digitize the entire collection, then thought to be 18 titles and 248,400 pages, were well over $100,000. Since then, more titles have been added, bring-ing the total magazines, journals, and other publications produced by the Brethren since the mid-1800s until 2000, to more than 35. Included in that number are the Brethren Missionary Herald maga-zine, the Grace Seminary Spire, and Grace Theological Journal.
A brochure describing the project will soon be available and the group is planning to have a presence, ei-ther with a display or available brochures, at several Brethren con-ferences this summer.
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