The Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO) has found a new home with the ISGA.
On May 19, 2017, members of the GAMEO management board voted unanimously to transfer oversight of the project to ISGA. John D. Roth will serve in a new position as the project’s general editor.
The vision behind GAMEO emerged in the late 1980s at the initiative of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, as an effort to preserve database information gathered for its three-volume Mennonites in Canada series. In 1998 the vision expanded to transfer the content of the five-volume Mennonite Encyclopedia into a digital format that would be accessible to internet users around the world. That project resulted in an online encyclopedia of over 12,000 articles. In the years since then, volunteer editors of GAMEO, along with regional committees around North America, have updated information on thousands of articles and added more than 4,000 new entries.
Public interest in the site has steadily expanded. In the month of April 2017, nearly 50,000 researchers visited the site seeking information on topics related to the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. Today, GAMEO is routinely cited by news organizations, scholars, genealogists and a host of other users.
“As GAMEO has matured,” said Richard Thiessen, former GAMEO director, “we have increasingly felt as if it needed an institutional home. The ISGA, with its strong academic foundation and global perspective, is a perfect fit for the next chapter of GAMEO’s development.”
Roth agreed. “The origins of GAMEO go back to the creation of the Mennonite Encyclopedia in the 1940s and 1950s at Goshen College,” Roth said. “As the scope of Anabaptist-Mennonite research here has broadened to include the global church, it is fitting that we could bring the long tradition of ‘scholarship for the church’ to support now the global vision of GAMEO in the digital age.”
Sam Steiner, one of the founders of GAMEO and an on-going associate editor, said “this new institutional home, together with additional associate editors, will expand GAMEO on the good foundations shaped by Richard Thiessen over the past six years.”
As reported by Mennonite World Conference, “With the addition of GAMEO to its oversight, the ISGA will shift the focus of its Global Anabaptist Wiki to become an online archive for the global church and a repository of digital resources such as the Anabaptist Dictionary of the Bible, the Bibliotheca Digital Anabautista, and materials related Anabaptist-Mennonite ecumenical involvements.”
GAMEO will continue to be owned by its six institutional partners: Mennonite World Conference, Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Historical Society of Canada, Mennonite Church USA, Mennonite Brethren Historical Commission, and the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism. A management board, composed of representatives from these organizations, oversees the operations of GAMEO.