The Post-Reformation Digital Library (PRDL) at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Mich., has expanded from providing online data on 700 authors to now including information on nearly 2,000 figures.
The library has also enhanced its research resources and capabilities as well as included important theologians and other figures beyond the Reformed tradition.
"This upgrade cements the place of the Post-Reformation Digital Library as the single most comprehensive public database for early modern research in theology" available, said David Sytsma, moderator of the PRDL's executive board.
Hosted by the H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, the library is a select database of primary source documents focusing on early modern theology and philosophy from the late 15th-18th centuries.
It also provides publicly-accessible collections from major research libraries, independent scholarly initiatives, and corporate documentation projects.
The H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies is a research center specializing in John Calvin and Calvinism that opened in 1981.
"Our current coverage of authors from just the Reformed tradition surpasses the entirety of the first version of PRDL," said Todd Rester, a member of the PRDL executive board and doctoral candidate at Calvin Theological Seminary.
Now providing information on 800 Reformed authors, the PRDL’s listings remain strongest in the Reformed tradition, but steps have also been taken by the executive board, for research purposes, to broaden coverage to other theological traditions.
Earlier this year the PRDL (www.prdl.org) added an advisory board of established scholars, currently with 15 members from institutions across North America and Europe, to provide expertise for expanding the database’s records for Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Arminian-Remonstrant, Anabaptist, Socinian and Unitarian authors, as well as figures from diverse schools of philosophical thought.
The recent announcement of the library’s expanded services was made on Oct. 31, the second anniversary of its public launch on the same day in 2010. Oct. 31 is celebrated around the world as Reformation Day.
This new version of the library is powered by a database format, which allows detailed search queries and integrates findings of source material from a wide variety of digital libraries and digitization projects.
"While the initial launch of PRDL was warmly received by early modern scholars, the executive board always intended for that version to be a first step toward a much more ambitious tool," said Sytsma, who is also a doctoral candidate at Princeton Theological Seminary.
In addition to the increased scope of PRDL's coverage of the early modern intellectual terrain in theology and philosophy, the new database format makes possible a number of significant search options to optimize the PRDL’s utility for scholarly research.
Searches can now be filtered by a number of factors and in many research-friendly ways, including place of publication, publication language, date, author, and publisher.
The site continues to solicit infoirmation from its users.
"From the beginning we have depended on the knowledge and expertise of our site’s users, and for the PRDL to remain a vibrant tool for early modern scholarship, it is essential that the community of users feel empowered to contribute to the continuing improvement of the site," said Rester.
To that end, the new PRDL site includes enhanced user feedback tools, which allow someone using the site to assist in the categorization and correction of information for currently indexed titles, as well as to recommend new authors and works for inclusion in the PRDL database.
The Post-Reformation Digital Library database includes coverage of over 1,900 authors, 24,000 titles, and 34,000 individual volumes.
Contact Jordan J. Ballor at (616) 617-7669 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.