Digitisation for the Web on a (very small) budget

Pastoral Institute, located next to Zagreb Cathedral
The Conference venue – the Pastoral Institute, located next to Zagreb Cathedral

I was invited by the Committee of the Association of European Theological libraries (BETH) to speak at their 2017 conference. Located in the beautiful city of Zagreb in Croatia, the subject of the conference was “Digitisation in European Theological Libraries”. This was clearly a subject of great interest to BETH members as around 60 representatives from  libraries across Europe attended – making it the most popular event in BETH’s history. The Conference proved to be a great experience, giving an insight into the many projects being undertaken across Europe. It also allowed me to make several very useful new contacts.

Rob making his presentation on "Digitisation for the Web on a (very small) budget"
Rob making his presentation on “Digitisation for the Web on a (very small) budget”

How to Achieve a Great Deal for Very Little

Most of the theological libraries in mainland Europe – like most in the UK – operate on a shoestring. So my subject “Digitisation for the Web on a (very small) budget” was well received. I was able to show that for many scanning projects it was not necessary to spend £15,000 on scanning equipment as I explained how I had developed Theology on the Web. The PowerPoint slides from my talk are available on the BETH website, along with those of the other participants.

Summary of Presentation

Theology on the Web provides free access to over 30,000 peer-reviewed articles plus hundreds of books – all on a very small budget. Using industry standard software, basic scanning equipment and a single volunteer technician, the project costs less than £1,500 each year to maintain. Developed over a period of 16 years and spread over eight websites, it currently hosts complete or partial content from over 60 journals (many of which are not available on-line elsewhere) and tables of contents for around 30 more. Copyright is carefully checked and the appropriate permissions obtained before being uploaded to the Internet. Materials for scanning are often provided free of charge by libraries from duplicate or redundant stock.

Despite its low running costs and “low tech” nature it consistently provides access to theological training in regions where physical books and articles are scarce or non-existent and received around 1.8 million visitors in 2016.Theology on the Web provides free access to over 30,000 peer-reviewed articles plus hundreds of books – all on a very small budget. Using industry standard software, basic scanning equipment and a single volunteer technician, the project costs less than £1,500 each year to maintain. Developed over a period of 16 years and spread over eight websites, it currently hosts complete or partial content from over 60 journals (many of which are not available on-line elsewhere) and tables of contents for around 30 more. Copyright is carefully checked and the appropriate permissions obtained before being uploaded to the Internet. Materials for scanning are often provided free of charge by libraries from duplicate or redundant stock. Despite its low running costs and “low tech” nature it consistently provides access to theological training in regions where physical books and articles are scarce or non-existent and received around 1.8 million visitors in 2016.

Expository & Devotional Study of the Life of Elisha

Elisha raising the Shunammites Son. Source: Wikipedia
Elisha raising the Shunammites Son. Source: Wikipedia

Alexander Stewart’s study of the life of Elisha reminds me very much of A.W. Pink’s book on Elijah which was published 30 years or so later. My thanks to Book Aid’s London Bookshop for providing me with a copy to digitise. This title is in the public domain.

Alexander Stewart [1870-1937], A Prophet of Grace. An Expository & Devotional Study of the Life of Elisha. Edinburgh: W.F. Henderson, [1925]. Hbk. pp.268. [Click to download complete book in PDF]

Contents

  • Introduction
  1. The Call to Office
  2. The Equipment for the Work
  3. The Quest of the Strong Men
  4. The Healing of the Waters
  5. The Judgment of Bethel
  6. Elisha and the Kings
  7. The Widow’s Cruse
  8. The Raising of the Shunammite’s Son
  9. The Poisoned Pottage
  10. The Man from Baal-Shalisha
  11. Naaman and the Jewish Maid
  12. Naaman and Elisha
  13. Elisha and Gehazi
  14. The Iron that Swam
  15. Elisha in Dothan
  16. The Scoffer’s Doom
  17. The Lamb Take the Prey
  18. The Restored Inheritance
  19. Carrying om Elijah’s Work
  20. Thr Arrow of the Lord’s Deliverance
  21. The Final Victory

Preface

The following pages deal with a portion of the Old Testament Scriptures which can scarcely be supposed to offer any special attraction to the modern mind, and which therefore, as a matter of fact, is to a great extent neglected alike by preachers and by. writers on Bible themes. It is indeed not too much to say. that in many quarters to-day the claim that the recorded events of the life of Elisha should be regarded as serious history would be dismissed with a derisive smile as the survival of a discredited doctrine of Scripture. This attitude is of course due to the miraculous element which occupies so large a place in the narrative. In an age when a daring challenge is being offered to the miracles of Jesus Christ Himself, it is hardly to be expected that the marvels associated with a shadowy figure which looms out from the mists of a much more distant past should be accepted as literal historical happenings. [Continue reading]

Further resources on this biblical character can found on this page.

Jeremiah – the Man and His Message by Alexander Stewart

Alexander Stewart [1870-1937], Jeremiah: the Man and his Message.Alexander Stewart was a renowned Scottish preacher and the served as Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland. This introduction to and exposition of the book of Jeremiah was originally published in 1936. My thanks to Book Aid’s London bookshop for providing me a copy available for scanning. This title is in the public domain.

Alexander Stewart [1870-1937], Jeremiah: the Man and his Message. Edinburgh: Know Press, [1936]. Hbk. pp.276. [Click to download complete book in PDF]

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  1. The Making of a Prophet
  2. The Spring-Time of the Religious Life
  3. The Fountain and the Cisterns
  4. An Appeal to the Heart
  5. The Likeness of a Man
  6. A Barrier of Sand
  7. The Goodness of God and the Fear of God
  8. At the Cross-Roads
  9. Lost Opportunity and Changeless Mercy
  10. The Longing for Escape
  11. False and True Glorying
  12. The Lesson of the Easier Test
  13. A Problem in Black and White
  14. Wheat and Chaff
  15. The Two Voices
  16. The New Covenant
  17. The Mediator of the New Covenant
  18. The Sign of the Purchased Field
  19. The Two Rolls
  20. The Snare of Ambition
  21. On the Way to Zion
  22. Remembering Jerusalem
  • Index

Preface

This volume has had its origin in an article which I contributed some years ago to The Princeton Theological Review, and which – with considerable additions here and there, and especially in its closing section – forms the Introduction to the present work. In the paragraphs which make up this Preface, I trust that the frequent occurrence of the pronoun “I” may not be set down to mere egotism, but that the reader in his charity may regard the direct form of speech as more or less inevitable in the expression of what is a kind of personal testimony.

Before the time when the task referred to was undertaken, I acknowledge frankly that the Book of Jeremiah had made no special appeal to me. I can at least understand the confession of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch in his work On the Art of Reading, when, in the notable passage in which he commends the duty of reading the Bible, he declares that he found Jeremiah ‘ the contributor least to his mind,’ the reason assigned for this distaste being that he was “not constitutionally disposed to lamentation.” [Continue reading]

For more resources on Jeremiah visit this page.