The World Council of Churches (WCC) has begun the process of digitally publishing its Faith and Order Papers, a set of legacy materials comprising 300 discrete publications and totaling 35,000 pages.
This week, some 25,000 papers weighing 55 kg arrived at Internet Archive’s Regional Scan Center at Welcome Library in London, the WCC’s partner in digitizing the material.
Chris Booth, managing the digitization in London, welcomed the start of the project “Internet Archive is delighted to be able to partner with the World Council of Churches to provide free and global open access to these materials on archive.org. Such an important resource being added to our Digital Library is fantastic, but knowing that scholars around the world are clamouring to use these digitized resources is extremely rewarding.”
The Faith and Order Papers are a living series, and additional items are added almost every year, noted Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, WCC director of Faith and Order.
“The Faith and Order Papers can be considered both an historical record and a tool for discerning future direction within the ecumenical movement,” said Mateus. “As we move together on a pilgrimage of justice and peace towards the manifestation of the One Church, we pray for tools such as this that will help us cross the inherited and new divides between churches and societies and promote healing and hope.”
The delivery is actually of the second series, which include more than 200 publications, including meeting minutes, preparatory reports, meeting reports and evaluations, major statements and consensus documents produced since the founding of the WCC in 1948 through the present.
The first series of 10,000 pages, to be sent soon, includes materials published from 1910 to 1948, centering around the meetings and work of the Commission before the actual founding of the WCC.
When the project is complete in June 2018, the Faith and Order Papers Digital Edition will present the legacy materials in a single digital, online collection, fully searchable within each document and across the collection, accompanied by a host of additional, hover linked reference materials (such as Bibles and dictionaries) and enhanced by bookmarking, highlighting, and note-taking capabilities.
The web-based digital collection will be used by theologians, researchers, students, church leaders and others in the worldwide fellowship.
“Accessibility can be increased through initiatives like Faith and Order Papers Digital Edition including a greater online presence; a relevant web that constitutes a hub for the fellowship,” said Marianne Ejdersten, WCC director of communication.
Ejdersten concluded “The access to electronic means of communication is almost the same all over the world, and plays an enormous role in development in the future. This is the first part of a larger investment in digital presence of the WCC material. “