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Online encyclopedia reaches milestone
Mennonite Church Canada/Mennonite Historical Society
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. and WATERLOO, Ont. — A Mennonite historical initiative achieved a historic goal on March 12 – and anticipates reaching another one by the end of the year.
On March 12, Richard Thiessen of Abbotsford, B.C., assistant managing editor of the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online posted the 10,000th article on GAMEO’s website (www.gameo.org). The article was on Katharina “Tina” Lepp Ewert, longtime matron of the Mennonite Brethren Madchenheim, or girls’ home, in Vancouver. The entry joined others on topics ranging from A-B-C books, a collection of German-language religious readings, to Zwolse Vereniging, a Dutch Mennonite conference.
GAMEO was born nearly 10 years ago as the Canadian Mennonite Encyclopedia Online when the Mennonite Historical Society began posting a database of Canadian congregations as well as Canadian-related articles from the five-volume Mennonite Encyclopedia. Shortly afterward, Mennonite Encyclopedia publisher Herald Press granted permission to add non-Canadian articles, and in 2006 the project expanded to include U.S. representatives and volunteers. Today GAMEO is supported by the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee, Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission, Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite World Conference.
Having reached the 10,000-article mark, attention is now focused on getting the rest of the print version of Mennonite Encyclopedia online. About one fourth of the encyclopedia’s 4,666 printed pages are left, GAMEO managing editor Sam Steiner estimates, and they could be done by the end of 2008. But that doesn’t mean the work will end. While posting and, as possible, updating existing articles, new ones, such as on Ewert, are being written.
“As long as there are active Mennonites in the world, there will always be something to add,” said Steiner.
Steiner, Thiessen, and the rest of the GAMEO editors and writers are all volunteers. Steiner’s day job is librarian and archivist at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, while Thiessen is library director at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford. They have overseen the preparation and addition of an average of 15 articles a day to the webiste, which daily draws about 1,400 visitors.
Steiner said GAMEO’s goal is to become a truly international resource with articles in other languages and from other countries. Currently being explored are French-language entries.
For more information:
Sam Steiner, Librarian & Archivist
Richard D. Thiessen, Library Director / Interim Dean of Faculty