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2007-06-19 issue:

GAMEO updates Mennonite Encyclopedia

by Mennonite Church USA

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WATERLOO, Ont.—When the Mennonite Encyclopedia came out in the late 1950s, computers were largely the stuff of science fiction. But now a group of Canadian and U.S. volunteers are halfway toward their goal of making the five-volume reference work accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

Called GAMEO (www.gameo.org), or Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online, the Web site makes available nearly 7,500 articles from the print version. With more articles added weekly, managing editor Sam Steiner estimates that the Mennonite Encyclopedia’s 14,000-plus entries will be online by the end of 2008.

The goal, however, is not just to replicate the printed encyclopedia on a Web site but to update existing articles and add new ones for 21st-century readers and researchers.
GAMEO is an inter-Mennonite, international initiative, supported by the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission, Mennonite Church USA Historical Committee, Mennonite Central Committee and Mennonite World Conference. U.S. and Canadian editorial committees are responsible for the content while a binational management committee oversees the entire project.

GAMEO organizers want to broaden the number of participants and invite other researchers and writers to contribute. To best incorporate those people and their efforts will require new technology, costing $8,000. “We’ve raised $1,000 thus far and need at least $6,000 in hand before we can move ahead with the [computer] conversion,” Steiner says.

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