This paper describes the opening of a Special Interest Group of libraries within the IFLA (International Federation of Libraries Associations and Institutions), ‘Religions: Libraries and dialogue’. Different aspects of the networking are described: the contacts established for the opening, the enlargement to other continents and religions, notable members of the group, and the main activities developed.
Since 1996, the National Office for Ecclesiastical Cultural Heritage and Religious Buildings (BCE) of the Italian Bishop Conference (CEI) carries out a support, coordination and guidance service in the sector of cultural heritage and religious buildings for ecclesiastical libraries, archives and museums. BCE coordinates a network of 270 ecclesiastical libraries, which is part of the National Library Service (SBN). The BeWeB architecture allows all Italian ecclesiastical libraries resources to be published. BeWeB is a cross-domain portal expression of the work of an editorial staff distributed throughout the territory, integrating ancient and modern book collections and manuscripts, but also art objects, archive collections, religious buildings, in-depth content and much more.
In 1947 a bright young monk of the Benedictine St. Peter’s Abbey in Steenbrugge (Bruges), Jan-Eligius Dekkers, first announced his plans to collect the complete works of the Latin and Greek Church Fathers in a single, uniform series of critical text editions. Over the course of 75 years the collection, called Corpus Christianorum, expanded chronologically, methodologically and logistically. To serve Dekkers’ purpose, the monastic library at Steenbrugge developed into a scholarly centre that despite many evolutions and transformations still operates today as the Corpus Christianorum headquarters in Turnhout, Belgium. Although the physical volumes in its flagship series continue to be produced in print, the digital turn, too, has come full circle: in 2019 Clavis Clavium was launched, an online collaborative platform building on the foundations of Dom Dekkers’ Clavis Patrum Latinorum.
This article provides insight in the way libraries are faced with a digitalizing world. We focus on thematic collections; how these collections are created and can be propagated. General aspects concerning the disclosure of thematic collections are exemplified by the Maurits Sabbe Library’s jesuitica collections. We share some thoughts on how resource management (cataloguing) and digitisation have evolved since the beginning of the 21st century. Digitalisation offers librarians challenges as well as opportunities; a shift from information provision to information access is definitely noticeable, yet a crucial factor in data and information provision will still remain for the foreseeable future.
The complex system of Italian ecclesiastical libraries needs to be known in its peculiarities and in its evolution. Here, we offer a definition of what an ecclesiastical library is; we also review the main national census initiatives carried out in Italy over the last 50 years. The panorama of ecclesiastical libraries is part of the more complex relations between the Catholic Church and the Italian State. We present the framework of the main documents that guide the activities of ecclesiastical libraries in Italy, with reference to the relations between the Catholic Church and the Italian State.
The article, whose introductory parts survey the history of church libraries in Poland since the Middle Ages, through the losses sustained during World War II up to their further development during the communist regime, focuses on one aspect that has emerged after the fall of communism: computerisation and the use of catalogues. The main theme revolves around the establishment and operation of a special association of church libraries, the Federation of Church Libraries ‘Fides’, and its most significant achievement: the creation of the Union Catalogue of Church Libraries in Koha software, launched in 2014.
The closing of monasteries resulted also always in the closing of monastery libraries. This happened in the Netherlands during the Iconoclastic Fury (‘Beeldenstorm’) mostly in a heavy-handed way resulting in destroying and confiscation of books and manuscripts. From the middle of the 19th century, monastic life took off. Every monastery and especially the houses of studies were equipped with rich collections. After the Second Vatican Council, the decline in the number of religious men and women started. This meant the gradual closure of monasteries and monastic libraries. Libraries were given new uses by sale or donation. Complete takeover was rarely possible. Often the book collections were deselected, which did not always prevent painful decisions to dispose of them.
Historical parish libraries of the Protestant Church in Thuringia have grown over the centuries. The Reformation had a lasting impact on the content and the priests acted as mediators of education. At higher administrative levels, larger superintendent’s libraries were established in Thuringian towns from the 16th century onwards. The political conditions during the Cold War in Eastern Germany also had an impact on book production and libraries. The Protestant Church in Thuringia used its own distribution channels and networks during that time. Structural changes and the dissolution of parish offices can have negative consequences for these libraries. To address this problem, a special project for safeguarding and usability was initiated.
Specialised bibliographies – formerly in printed form, now online – have always been indispensable sources of information for academics. In 1975, the Index Theologicus (IxTheo) was founded in Tübingen under the name Zeitschrifteninhaltsdienst (ZID), in order to provide information on journal articles shortly after their publication to the academic community. This essay describes which informational needs the new service addressed and how it proved useful in the context of existing bibliographies. It depicts the development of IxTheo from an article database to an international bibliography produced cooperatively with modern features and a provider and advocate of open access. The media-theoretical implications of evolving publication paradigms are discussed. An emphasis is put on the further development of IxTheo from the point of view of the new paradigm of Open Science and the academic community’s new needs.