Reflecting on Jordan’s post regarding the milestones PRDL hit today, David Sytsma mentioned that since 2011, PRDL has connected over 158,000 visitors from 175 countries to over 78k titles in 100k volumes, from 5,000 authors … for free.
This tool has enabled students, scholars, and pastors from universities, institutions, and seminaries around the world and from many confessional perspectives to do their research more conveniently and effectively. We could not have hit this milestone without the generous contributions of time and resources of our user community and donors. Thank you to all who have contributed, edited, used, promoted, and donated. And most importantly, this site is due to the tireless efforts of the PRDL’s moderator, David Sytsma, its executive board, and its contributing editors. Thank you all for making this possible! PRDL truly is a labor of love. It’s hard to believe that it started out just a few years ago among several doctoral students and a professor, contemplating the need to compile and disseminate sources.
PRDL is fueled by a commitment to a return to the sources for a closer reading and evaluation of viewpoints in the early modern reformations and post-reformation eras. But what makes PRDL truly unique is that we are not subscription based or controlled by a publishing house, rather we are driven by the interests and support of our users. Our goal is to help students, scholars, pastors, and seminarians engage the sources of the early modern period both to understand the past and better assist the present. Students and scholars from developing and even closed countries have thanked us for this work that brings unprecedented resources to regions that have little or no exposure to this era of history or where the costs associated with physical access are prohibitive. It is our hope to continue in this endeavor to make rare books more accessible to a global community of scholars than has been traditionally the case. With your help, I look forward to extending and expanding the sources found in the PRDL through our digitization initiative in conjunction with Hekman Library. Because we can digitize more effectively and safely than current industry standards, over the next year the Junius Institute has an opportunity to digitize 70,000 pages from 60 rare works spanning 1589-1775 housed in the Hekman Library at Calvin College. This represents just 1% of the collection.
By using the Razoo website, we are able to accept donations of any size for this project. You can find out more about this digitization effort as well as a prospectus of works in phase 1 here. The brief clip embodies the purpose and goals of the Junius Institute: “free rare books” and “free the rare books!”