The Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism (GlobeTheoLib) is a unique and ambitious web-based theological resource that aims to redress a global imbalance of access to research materials in theology and related disciplines. Launched in September 2011, GlobeTheoLib (www.globethics.net/gtl) contains half a million full-text articles, documents and other academic resources that can accessed online free-of-charge by registered participants from anywhere in the world via Internet. It also gives participants the opportunity to submit their own documents and publications to share with others from around the world.
GlobeTheoLib was initiated by Globethics.net and the World Council of Churches, represented by its programme on Ecumenical Theological Education (ETE), to promote the sharing of expertise in theological research and education, and which is able to counter some of the imbalances at work in the present state of world Christianity and theological education systems worldwide. Following extensive consultation, the proposal received support from an international workshop in Geneva in September 2010 attended by experts from churches, theological libraries and international organizations. This was followed by the creation of a Consortium for the Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism, of which the World Council of Churches and Globethics.net are the founding institutions. Other members of the Consortium include associations of theological seminaries and of theological libraries, Christian World Communions, and Regional Ecumenical Organizations.
GlobeTheoLib aims to empower people from all regions of the world, especially in developing and transition countries, for interreligious and intercultural dialogue, theological reflection and action between East and West, North and South by:
GlobeTheoLib is committed to providing accessibility, visibility and recognition of
different types of theological knowledge with particular attention to the theological
voices articulated in churches of the global South and in Eastern Europe.
GlobeTheoLib rejects any claim of cultural hegemony or theological superiority for
any tradition or line of thought defined by a single major geographical or denominational context. As GlobeTheoLib is neither exclusive nor one-sidedly selective in terms of a preference for a particular tradition, the process of maintaining and establishing a proper balance between different realms of theological knowledge
within GlobeTheoLib is to a large extent also an issue and a challenge for its users.
Their readiness and commitment to contribute from their denominational and geographical contexts and their efforts to enlarge the relevant scope of theological
contents presented within GlobeTheoLib is decisive for the participatory and liberative
nature of the whole project of GlobeTheoLib.
One of the main catalysts for the launch of GlobeTheoLib has been the need to use the new possibilities offered by digital models of information exchange to make the theological voices and resources of the global South more visible and accessible, across national, cultural and denominational barriers. Content for GlobeTheoLib comes from four major sources: commercial publishers with whom GlobeTheoLib has subscriptions to make content available to registered participants; Open Access repositories; partner institutions that make their own resources available via GlobeTheoLib; and registered participants who are able to submit their own documents to the library.
GlobeTheoLib was initiated by Globethics.net net (which already offers a Global Digital Library on Ethics) and the World Council of Churches, represented by its programme on Ecumenical Theological Education (ETE). Following extensive consultation, the proposal to create an online digital library received support from an international workshop in Geneva in September 2010 attended by experts from churches, theological libraries and international organizations. This was followed by the creation of a Consortium for the project, of which the World Council of Churches and Globethics.net are the founding institutions. Other members of the Consortium include associations of theological seminaries and of theological libraries, Christian World Communions, and Regional Ecumenical Organizations.
• a single online library to bring together theological resources available free-of-charge on the Internet but dispersed among multiple sites and institutions;
• multilingual access to full text content, not only references;
• access to journals, magazines, books, training material, dissertations and news documents on theology and ecumenism, with a focus on full text documents, open to all;
• free-of-charge access for individual registered participants to licensed content such as journals and e-books from commercial digital content providers;
• contemporary content, not only historical documents;
• the opportunity for registered participants to upload content through an online submission system;
• interactive Web 2.0 potential for exchange and sharing of information and knowledge, through wikis, blogs, forums, workgroups, and online communities;
• one common platform offering greater opportunities for increased interreligious dialogue and interdisciplinary research in theology and religious studies
More than 10'000 people have registered for GlobeTheoLib, and GlobeTheoLib is now seeking to expand content through cooperation with other institutions particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. A regional programme in Latin America, for example, has uploaded more than 1000 articles on theology in Spanish and Portuguese.