ATLA Web Site


Grants Awarded for Phase One

Supported by a three-year grant from the Luce Foundation, the ATLA Cooperative Digital Resources Initiative (CDRI) will establish a freely available, web-searchable, central repository of digital resources contributed by participating ATLA member libraries. By providing pooled expertise regarding scanning and metadata standards, and a central delivery system, the Cooperative Digital Resources Initiative will benefit all ATLA members and serve as a model for long-term digital image collections. The first phase of the Initiative, lasting from December 2001 through November 2002, focuses on the digitization of visual materials, while the second and third phases will include both visual and textual materials.

The ATLA Digital Standards and Project Committee reviewed a number of interesting proposals submitted for the first phase of the Initiative and has awarded grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 to nine libraries. In making these awards, the Committee sought to begin forming the content of CDRI digital repository with a broad base of resources covering a range of formats, subjects, and time periods. Phase One projects will create digital images of woodcuts, photographs, slides, papyri, coins, maps, and manuscripts. These images will support teaching and research in the areas of Biblical studies, Reformation studies, missions and world Christianity, and denominational history. Brief descriptions of the projects are below. It is our hope that by December 2002 more than 3,000 well-described digital images will be available from the CDRI site, forming a base for additional projects funded by the second and third phases of the Initiative.

Grant awards for Phase One (December 2001-November 2002):


Pitts Theology Library, Emory University ($10,000)
Engravings from the Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection

Since the establishment of the Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection in 1987, the Pitts Theology Library has been building a collection of printed and manuscript materials related to the Protestant Reformation in Germany. These materials derive from Martin Luther, his associates, and his opponents. Current library holdings are over 2,600 of these volumes. The library will be digitizing 1,000 images drawn from this prestigious collection. These images consist primarily of wood or metal engravings that were printed in books and pamphlets, often based on sketches by premiere artists of the day. These images are important for a several fields of interest. They offer illustrations of biblical stories for those interested in the history of biblical interpretation; there are illustrations of church life for students of liturgy and ecclesiology; and there are many examples of printers' devices for those interested in the history of printing. In addition the engravings are of inherent interest to art historians.


Conception Abbey and Seminary Library, Conception Abbey, Conception, Missouri ($5,000)
Photographs of the Benedictine Mission to the Dakotas

Conception Abbey’s "Dakota Mission Photograph Collection," numbering approximately 488 photographs in various formats, presents a visual history of the complex inter-cultural encounter between the Old World and the First Nation in the six decades between 1880 and 1940. Taken as a whole, this collection of photographs reveals for students and scholars not only the history of the Conception Abbey and the Lakota Sioux but also the histories of other cultural groups participating in the complex cultural encounters occurring in the world of the reservation. Taken individually, each photograph functions as a locus or crossroads of that intercultural transaction.


Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Vanderbilt University ($5,000)
Representations of Biblical and Patristic texts in French medieval church architecture

The Vanderbilt Divinity Library, using a donated photographic collection of French 12th and 13th century architecture, will develop a collection of iconographical representations of Biblical and patristic texts. Selected for their relevance to Biblical, theological, and historical studies, this collection will be digitally converted at the highest level of technical quality. Through careful scholarly content analysis, these images will be organized for maximum usefulness by students and scholars of religion and theology.


Hartford Seminary Library, Hartford Seminary ($5,000)
Slides illustrating the practice of Islam
Illuminations from Armenian Gospels

The collection of materials to be digitized includes 200 slides taken in Islamic countries that illustrate the practice of Islam. The images were photographed by Jane I. Smith who has used them in her classes to illustrate life and the practice of faith in Islamic countries. A second set of approximately 60 images includes the full page illuminations from two of the Armenian Gospels held by the Hartford Seminary Library. (Armenian 3, 756/1307 ; Armenian 4, 1105/1656) Among the color illuminations are images of the four Gospel writers. These wonderful examples of Christian art will be useful in classes on religion and the arts as well as New Testament studies.


Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, SMU ($5,000)
Wesleyana and Wesley Memorabilia

The Wesleyana and Wesley Memorabilia Image Collection will be drawn from the extensive holdings of Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. The collection will feature high quality images of more than 130 holographic letters of John Wesley and some 50 manuscripts from other members of the Wesley family. It also will incorporate images of items related to Wesley and the Methodist movement, including portraits, book illustrations, images of historic Wesleyan sites, and images of Wesley memorabilia such as ceramics. Together these images will offer unique insights into Wesley and the "People Called Methodist" for students and scholars at all levels.


Princeton Theological Seminary Libraries, Princeton Theological Seminary ($4,000)
Photographs of Protestant mission work in Korea

The photographs to be digitized come from the collection of PTS Emeritus Professor of Missions Samuel Hugh Moffett, who served as a Presbyterian missionary in China and then in Korea for several decades before returning to the USA to teach at Princeton Seminary. His father, Samuel Austin Moffett (1864-1939) was one of the first Christian missionaries in Korea, who remained active there until he was expelled by the Japanese in 1935. The collection consists of more than one thousand photographs, historical postcards, and slides, which together comprise a diverse and unique visual history of Korea’s religious, political, and social development. The images in the collection come from the 1890s up to the late 20th Century.


Claremont School of Theology ($3,000)
Coins from ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods

The Claremont School of Theology (CST), in collaboration with the Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center (ABMC), will digitize a collection of 62 ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine coins. The Curtis R. Paxman Collection of coins is a recent gift to CST, and provides vivid images of ancient culture. Most of these images do not duplicate coins presented in other digital projects and will therefore give students unique resources that will illuminate the study of ancient history. This project will provide faculty with images that can be used in course Web pages and classroom presentations, and will be of benefit to scholars worldwide.


Yale University Divinity School Library, Yale University ($3,000)
Maps and charts documenting the expansion of Christianity

Yale will digitize 300 historical maps and charts that document the expansion of Christianity. Materials will be selected from the Yale University Map Collection, from historical atlases, and from publications of the Interchurch World Movement, which was an ambitious but short-lived ecumenical initiative that surveyed world and North American Christianity in 1920. The maps and charts included in this project will provide visual support for the teaching of church and mission history, and Biblical studies, and will make rare resources more widely accessible.


Ambrose Swasey Library, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School ($2,500)
Oxyrhynchus papyri

The Ambrose Swasey Library will contribute digital images of its collection of 28 papyrus manuscript fragments, which were discovered at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, and range in date from the 1st to the 5th centuries CE. This small collection is representative of thousands of Oxyrhynchus papyri that have been uncovered. The papyri have been invaluable sources for illuminating the world and language of common people in Hellenistic Egypt, and have also preserved early copies of Greek literature and early Christian documents. The Swasey papyri include fragments of six Christian documents (one of the Gospel of John), as well as fragments of the book of Leviticus in Greek, personal letters, official documents and receipts, and one religious tale concerning the god Sarapion. Images of these papyri will help establish the CDRI as a resource for teaching and research, as these unique manuscripts will be available to faculty and students interested in Greek vocabulary and orthography, New Testament textual criticism, ancient Christianity, and Hellenistic culture generally.

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American Theological Library Association
Last Updated: November 28, 2001