Some four years in the making, the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies (CMBS) recently released a searchable, digital collection of fifty-one years of the Mennonite Brethren Herald. The MB Herald serves as the award-winning news magazine for Canadian MB churches.
“We’re excited to be able to offer this resource to churches, schools, libraries, and researchers,” says MB Herald editor, Laura Kalmar.
Archivist, Conrad Stoesz, came up with the idea of digitizing the collection in order to better respond to the research queries that were coming to CMBS. According to Stoesz, “The digitizing project harnessed the contribution of volunteers who scanned the material and the technical assistance of others in the church office to bring about what may be the first collection of this kind.”
Evident in the collection are the ways the format of the MB Herald has changed over the years, lengthening to around 30 pages, dropping to biweekly in 1969, then to triweekly in 2002, and monthly in 2007. The MB Herald was one of the first Mennonite periodicals to publish an Internet edition, with the first issue appearing in February 1996.
“Nothing documents the life and theological thinking of Canadian MBs better than the MB Herald. It is amazing to see the wide variety of issues addressed by the magazine over the years, many of which remain relevant today,” says CMBS director Jon Isaak.
All 1,292 issues of the magazine from 1962 to 2012 are digitized as PDF files and indexed by software, enabling searches by names, topics, Scripture, and so on. The whole collection, with searchable index, resides on an 8 gigabyte USB drive and is available from CMBS for $30 (taxes and shipping included).
According to Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO) managing editor Richard Thiessen, “The MB Herald USB drive is a phenomenal resource for anyone who has an interest in Canadian MB history. Users can search by individual word or phrase, and be led to the precise location of their search results in the PDF scan of an issue with a few clicks of the mouse.”
The MB Herald digitizing project is just one of several CMBS initiatives aimed at resourcing Mennonite churches and their leaders for the mission of God that we share – through document preservation, research, and publication. For more information, see: http://cmbs.mennonitebrethren.ca/.