Entries for October, 2011

PRDL 2.0

Monday, October 31st, 2011

On Reformation Day, I am happy to announce that the second version of Post-Reformation Digital Library is now open to the public. The official press release is here. David Sytsma, Jordan Ballor, myself (Todd Rester), and Dr. Amy Burnett participated in a round table discussion moderated by Dr. Karin Maag, director of the Meeter Center for Calvin Studies at the Sixteenth Century Society & Conference this past week. This discussion marked the official debut of PRDL 2.0 to the scholarly community and general public. This site is still affiliated with the Meeter Center for Calvin Studies at Hekman Library and can be accessed through their site as well.

This second version has been under construction since the spring of 2010 and now has over 34,000 volumes (a count which includes multiple editions of a title) and approximately 23,000 titles from over 1,900 authors. Another crucial aspect of PRDL 2.0 is the addition of an advisory board composed of internationally renowned scholars and specialists in a variety of early modern religious traditions (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, Arminian, Socinian, etc.) and philosophical specialties. The addition of a database search function also allows queries of the finding list based on author, titles, year, edition, language, topic, tradition, printer, and publication city as well as any other key word. This is a great advance to the previous html based PRDL 1.0.

We have also linked the works in PRDL to the records in the WorldCat database so that our users might have the full title. One of the challenges facing a finding list like this is that the titles in various other databases are not uniform. This is one of the points that we are constantly improving. Another important aspect is the ability for users to comment and suggest changes. We have been working hard to find a way to easily moderate suggested changes and alterations to existing records. This database is only as useful and accurate as the involvement of the scholarly community makes it. So far we have been greatly encouraged by the many scholars and friends of the project that have so graciously offered their advice and input. So please communicate your thoughts with us about a particular work or author through the comment function. If you have a more specific or even more general question please e-mail the executive board. We will try to respond in a timely fashion.

There are many more features and functions that could be described, but I encourage you to take a peek and add it to your web bookmarks. WWW.PRDL.ORG