The Theological Commons was initiated and developed by Princeton Theological Seminary, where the Office of Digital Initiatives in Theodore Sedgwick Wright Library continues to enhance its features and expand its content.
Henry Luce Foundation
In 2013, the Henry Luce Foundation awarded Princeton Theological Seminary $1.5 million for the expansion of the Theological Commons in two important directions:
- Digitizing and providing access to audio and visual materials, to help make digital media resources become a key part of the study of theology and related fields.
- Digitizing and providing access to theological material published in or pertaining to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, to provide resources of relevance to diverse communities of faith around the globe.
Digitization of audiovisual materials made possible by this grant includes 6,216 audio recordings and 19 video programs from the Princeton Theological Seminary Media Archive (1940–1999). Of these, 2,171 recordings also have accompanying full-text transcriptions exceeding 99% accuracy, thereby allowing full-text searching of the audio/video content. Visual content includes 4,384 photographs and postcards from manuscript collections.
This grant also funded digitization of 27,051 items in various formats pertaining to Christianity in the Majority World. Highlights from this work include digitization of 6,436 books and periodicals from Princeton Theological Seminary’s deep Latin America Collection and 6,867 archival folders, photographs, and other formats from the Moffett Korea Collection.
Internet Archive and participating libraries
The extensive collection of digital texts (books, periodicals, manuscripts) and images (photographs, postcards) in the Theological Commons is the result of a long-standing partnership between Princeton Theological Seminary and the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building and maintaining a free and openly accessible online digital library. Theodore Sedgwick Wright Library at Princeton Theological Seminary houses one of the Internet Archive’s regional scanning centers and continuously submits public domain books and periodicals from the Seminary’s holdings to the Internet Archive for digitization, through funding from Princeton Theological Seminary. From 2008 to the present, this partnership has produced around 90,000 digitized items.
In addition, the Theological Commons incorporates digital texts from 167 other libraries and archives that have contributed materials to the Internet Archive for digitization, including University of Toronto, Library of Congress, University of California Libraries, and New York Public Library. Browse by contributor.
Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church
In 2014, the Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church Foundation (Dallas, Texas) bestowed a gift of $25,000 to honor their senior pastor, Dr. Blair Monie, on the occasion of his retirement. The Chair of the Foundation wrote: “Dr. Monie and our congregation share a passion for helping seminary students prepare for ministry, and our hope is that this gift will help advance theological scholarship worldwide.”
Thanks to this gift, Princeton Theological Seminary was able to digitize 543 books, totaling over 230,000 pages. Browse the Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church collection.
San Marino Community Church
In 2014, the Foundation of San Marino Community Church (San Marino, California) bestowed a gift of $20,000 to Princeton Theological Seminary to digitize content for the Theological Commons. This gift was made as part of the church’s celebration of its 70th anniversary. A letter announcing the gift stated: “The congregation is blessed to be able to assist other ministries in building for the future through the mission component of its anniversary celebration.”
Thanks to this gift, Princeton Theological Seminary was able to digitize 355 books, totaling over 187,000 pages. Browse the San Marino Community Church collection.
Waldensian Church (Chiesa Valdese)
In October 2013, the Waldensian Church in Italy (Chiesa Valdese), through its participation in Italy’s Otto per Mille program, awarded Princeton Theological Seminary €25,000 (approximately $33,000) to expand the collection of books and periodicals in the Theological Commons.
Although the grant placed no restrictions on the subject matter of texts to be digitized, as a gesture of appreciation library staff at Princeton Seminary selected materials that included, among other subjects, works that are either directly related to the Waldensian movement or relevant to the study of its history.
Through this grant, Princeton Theological Seminary was able to digitize 736 volumes of books and periodicals, totaling over 250,000 pages, including the full run of Bollettino della Società di studi valdesi (1884–2016). Browse the Chiesa Valdese collection.