Baptistheritage.com Working Group Meeting
May 24, 2013

Members of a Baptistheritage.com working group met at 7:15 a.m. EST, at Bob Evans Restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. The primary purpose of the meeting was discussion of the transfer of the Baptistheritag.com url to the Association of Librarians and Archivists at Baptist Institutions (ALABI), for use in housing a Baptist digital library.

Bill Sumners called the meeting to order. Members present were invited by Sumners, who served as chair of an ALABI appointed Baptist digital library task force (BDLTF). Those present included:

Jere Allen, District of Columbia Baptist Convention (DCBC) (retired)
Jan Ballard, American Baptist Historical Society (ABHS)
Robert Cochran, DCBC
Taffey Hall, Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives (SBHLA)
Kathy Hillman, Baylor University
Alan Lefever, Texas Baptist Historical Collection
Bill Sumners, SBHLA
Deborah Van Broekhoven, ABHS

I. Handouts Discussions

Sumners distributed paper copies of the following two documents which had also been emailed to those present the week before: (1) ALABI recommendations document; and (2) Baptistheritage.com working document. Sumners explained that these recommendations from the ALABI BDLTF would be presented to the ALABI membership at the organization’s annual meeting business meeting at 10:40 a.m. later in the morning. Discussions about these two documents included the following comments:

Kathy Hillman reminded the group that the ALABI organization had already adopted standards and guidelines documents.

Alan Lefever clarified that certain elements of the Baptistheritage.com url would be carried over into resource pages of the Baptist digital library project.

Jere Allen emphasized the importance of including resources from the pan-Baptist family into the Baptist digital library, noting that some members of the original Baptistheritage.com task force expressed concerns to him about the project becoming too heavily Southern Baptist focused.

Allen read the original mission statement of Baptistheritage.com, which was “to provide resources for the study of Baptist history, principles, and traditions, primarily in North America.”

In addressing Allen’s comments, Sumners stated, “I am committed to being as diverse as I can within the Baptist family.” He added that ALABI has been concerned about developing a place where you go first for digital resources on the Internet.

Robert Cochran stated that, “D.C. Baptists have always been committed to having a diversity of Baptist expressions, so I would encourage some mechanism to be in place to encourage that diversity.”

Hillman stated that ensuring diversity of content would be the job of the Advisory Committee, described in recommendation #6 of Sumners’ first handout. She continued by explaining that ALABI has become increasingly more diverse over the years.

Allen said that the overwhelming concern of the original Baptistheritage.com task force members was diversity of content. Allen also stated that perhaps working with the Baptist World Alliance Heritage and Identity Commission at some point could be a possibility.

Sumners said, “the folks around this table want to be as diverse as we can.”

Lefever stated that, “I think that if all of the original Baptistheritage.com members could be here now, we’d be doing what they envisioned.”

Allen reminded members present about the origins of the Baptistheritage.com website. He stated, “This thing really began around the year 2000 at a church in Washington, D.C. that was both American Baptist and Southern Baptist – National Baptist Memorial Church. My goal was to have a museum there, but that was really too much so we went with this website idea. The idea was that it was brining American Baptists and Southern Baptists together.”

Deborah Van Broekhoven said that it may be that Baptistheritage.com is evolving to be primarily a digital library.

Hillman recommended, and members present at the breakfast meeting agreed, amending the wording of recommendation #1 on the list distributed by Sumners as follows:

From: That ALABI initiate a new website under the url Baptistheritage.com.

To: That ALABI take ownership of and initiate a new website under the url Baptistheritage.com.

II. Website Transfer Logistics

Following discussions about the two handouts, Sumners asked if there were any legal considerations the group needed to address in transferring the Baptistheritage.com domain name to ALABI.

Allen said that in all of the minutes of the original task force meetings, it was always clear that the domain was owned by the task force, not the DCBC.

Cochran said that the DCBC never voted to adopt Baptist heritage.com, adding that the DCBC is willing to allow the transfer of Baptistheritage.com to ALABI.

Allen added that he had emails from all of the original Baptistheritage.com task force members approving the transfer of the website to ALABI. Allen provided a list of these individuals, which included: Jere Allen, Fred Anderson, Eljee Bentley, William Brackney, Susan Broome, Everett Goodwin, Bruce Gourley, Nicholas Kersten, Alan Lefever, Walter Shurden, Bill Sumners, Naomi Taplin, and Deborah Van Broekhoven.

III. Final Remarks

Following these discussions, Sumners asked if there were any other comments or questions. The group agreed to proceed with the transfer of Baptistheritage.com to ALABI. The ALABI BDLTF recommendation documented presented to the ALABI membership would include the revised phrase described in Section II.

With no further comments or questions, the meeting adjourned at 8:15 a.m. EST.