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A newsletter from the Princeton Theological Seminary Library

Digital Initiatives: Fusing... (Spring 2014)

(Gregory Murray) Permanent link

Digital Initiatives: Fusing Librarianship and Technology to Serve Researchers

It may be invisible to the end user, but fruitful access to digital content requires lots of work. That is the work that we do—creating digital library assets, identifying and contextualizing them with high-quality metadata, formatting them for efficient searching and processing, and then presenting them through innovative web-based software applications.

Digital Initiatives is a four-person team of librarian-technologists who focus on building the Seminary’s digital library, which is freely accessible online. The web site,, describes the library’s extensive digital collections.

The Seminary’s flagship digital library resource, the Theological Commons,, constitutes a significant contribution to theological research. It is unique because it combines mass digitization with subject-based selection. Also, by partnering with Internet Archive,, a much larger digitization effort, the Theological Commons is able to include not only 29,000 volumes from Princeton Seminary’s book collections, but also 50,000 volumes from other research libraries.

Highlights include:

• Guides to the library’s rich manuscript collections

• Journals published by, or closely associated with the Seminary from 1825 to 2010

Screenshot of the Digital Initiatives landing page
Digital Initiatives:

• The Princeton Lectures on Youth, Church, and Culture—providing access to original scholarship in youth ministry

• The Digital Library of Abraham Kuyper, containing the complete archive of more than 100,000 manuscript pages

• An archive of web sites containing content that is relevant to theological education

• Theological Commons, a fully searchable digital library of close to 79,000 public domain books and periodicals on theology and religion

Building on this important resource, Digital Initiatives is currently undertaking a major expansion of the Theological Commons, thanks to a $1.5M grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. This expansion will provide access to unique audio and visual resources. The cornerstone of this effort involves the digitization of the Seminary’s extensive media archive, which contains close to 9,000 audio recordings spanning the last 60 years, along with hundreds of more recent video recordings. These recordings capture public lectures, interviews, and sermons, given by prominent scholars, pastors, and church leaders. Most of the original tapes are at risk of disintegration, so digitizing this content not only makes it widely available, but also preserves it for future generations of researchers.

Greg Murray
Head of Digital Initiatives

Luce Foundation Awards Grant (Fall 2013)

(Gregory Murray) Permanent link

Luce Foundation Awards $1.5M Grant for Expansion of Theological Commons

Theological Commons

The Seminary recently received a very generous award of $1.5 million from the Henry Luce Foundation. The grant, one of the foundation’s 75th Anniversary Grants, will allow for the expansion of the Theological Commons as a digital, multimedia library of theological resources freely available to the world.

Princeton Seminary has taken a leading role in the creation of digital resources for shared knowledge and learning by creating the Theological Commons in 2012, a free public digital library of more than 78,000 books on theology and religion. The project has been designed from the ground up with students, pastors, and theologians in mind.

The Luce grant will allow the Seminary library to radically expand the content of the Theological Commons in two major ways: by digitizing and incorporating audio and visual materials (photographs, audio, video, and three-dimensional material objects), allowing resources in advanced digital media to become a key part of the study of theology; and through the digitization and incorporation of theological and religious material of use to or housed in theological institutions and communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Greg Murray
Digital Initiatives Librarian

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