BETH 2022 has ended
Welcome to the 50th BETH annual conference on the topic of the future of theological libraries! We are looking forward to your participation. This is a hybrid public event with invite-only login. To start building your customised schedule please register for the conference through the BETH website. After registering, you will receive an email inviting you to create your profile and schedule in Sched. By logging in to Sched you will be able to create your personal schedule and see who else is attending our event. This will also be the place where you will be able to access the Zoom meetings during the conference. Please note that the live Zoom links will become available shortly before each session. All the sessions will be recorded. To join the meeting, login into your Sched account, open the desired session, and click on Open Zoom.
Should you have any questions or concerns please contact us at info@beth.eu.
Listen & Learn [clear filter]
Monday, September 12

9:00am CEST

From Collections to Connections: Theological Materials in Finnish University Libraries
At some universities, the theology libraries have undergone dramatic changes in past decades. They are no more independent units holding collections that consist of printed books. Instead, these libraries have ceased to exist, and they have become an integral part of modern university libraries whose collections have become more and more digital, informing their clients about globally accessible open access publications and cultural heritage digitized all over the world. While clear-cut collections have ceased to exist, these libraries have become new spaces of learning, in which scholars, teachers, and students are connected by all kinds of means to all kinds of information. The university libraries in Helsinki and Joensuu are good examples of this development.

avatar for Matti Myllykoski

Matti Myllykoski

Chief information specialist, Helsinki University Library
I am interested in digitized medieval manuscripts of early Christian texts and the digital availability of old books. And of course Open access of all scholarly literature.I am also interested in the history of biblical criticism, Christian anti-Semitism, and  Christian spirituality... Read More →
avatar for Jussi Hyvärinen

Jussi Hyvärinen

Information Specialist, University of Eastern Finland Library

Monday September 12, 2022 9:00am - 10:00am CEST
Room 6

10:00am CEST

Web-Scale Discovery Tools: Situation in Spanish University Libraries
In the last ten years, Spanish university libraries have been equipped with so-called "discovery tools" to offer their users a single point of search for scientific information available in different formats. The present work begins by analyzing the instruments that libraries have been using in the last decades to access information, from OPACs to discovery tools, for which it is described the commercial products most installed in Spain, as well as the way their users look for academic information. In order to know the situation of the discovery tools in the Spanish university libraries, data was collected in two ways: the direct study of their web pages, as well as the carrying out of a survey, addressed to the library management, which obtained a percentage of response very representative Finally, the results of the surveys and of the study of the websites of the Spanish university libraries are analyzed and the conclusions drawn are presented regarding the degree of satisfaction, the effect of their use in different library services, as well as the valuation of the commercial solutions installed.

avatar for Fran Cortés

Fran Cortés

President, ABIE (Asociación de Bibliotecarios de la Iglesia en España)

Monday September 12, 2022 10:00am - 11:00am CEST
Room 6

11:30am CEST

The Libraries of Theological Faculties in Italy: Reflections Over Their Future
We would like to show how we are facing the future and how we imagine a Theological library in Italy in the next 5-10 years (20-30 min required).
1. The Institutional frame: the libraries of theological faculties in Italy
1.1. The National Service for Higher Studies of Theology and Religious Sciences
1.2. The Library of the Theological Faculty of Triveneto (FTTR): its recent story, its vision of the future
2. New services for scholars and professors
2.1. The cooperation with SiCei (Servizio Informatico della CEI) and the introduction of Discite platform
2.2. The purchase of electronic resources (Index Religiosus, Sage, SC, EBSCO…)
2.3. Other services and tools (e.g., anti-plagiarism software)
3. New connections and cooperation with other libraries in the city and among theological and ecclesiastical libraries:
3.1. What has been done; recent results in connecting libraries
3.2. Periodical meetings
3.3. A mid-term goal: new guidelines for the Collection development
4. The heritage of the COVID experience
4.1. New online services
4.2. Fuller participation to nets of libraries: BEWEB, ACNP, SBN
5. …and what next?
5.1. New tools for scholars and professors:
5.1.1. Development of authority files on cross-domain fields
5.1.2. More conscious politics on Open Access
5.1.3. Cooperation with IxTheo project
5.2. Periodical evaluation reports
5.3. A paradox: which future for extinct libraries?


Laura Scimò

Biblioteca della Facoltà Teologica del Triveneto (Padua) – Servizio Nazionale per gli Studi Superiori di Teologia e di Scienze Religiose

Monday September 12, 2022 11:30am - 12:00pm CEST

12:00pm CEST

Dreams to Ignite the Spirit: The Strategic Plan of EKE, the Hungarian Association of Ecclesiastical Libraries
Hungary may be counted among the European countries where ecclesiastical presence was long and well established through social, educational, medical, and liturgical institutions. The two world wars and their aftermath left an unfortunate mark on this heritage. Considerable institutions and collections fell outside of the political borders of the defeated country, others fell prey to hostile internal political forces. The fifty years of communist regime which aimed a total eradication of faith-based institutions and civilians serve as an explanation to the state of the existing ecclesiastical heritage, libraries included. However, thirty years have passed since the change of that regime, and in another twenty we will reach exactly the same amount of time. Will libraries bridge the time gap and be as contemporary as they used to be before WW2? What role has the Hungarian Association played in achieving this global restorative aim? Contemporaneity will mainly be understood in terms of our mastering the ecclesiastical heritage, our online availability, our online services. We vision that 50% of our staff will belong to the born-digital generations, with a higher percentage among our patrons. Our strategic working group has formulated 8 strategic goals to achieve this aim of contemporaneity. 1. to regain ownership over confiscated library collections as completely as possible in all cases of restitutions, and achieve a 98% completeness of electronic cataloguing of existing collections; 2. to establish digitalization centres, work out harmonized digitalization plans according to the different denominations represented in the Hungarian Association; 3. to establish repositories in member libraries that are able to preserve content, and allow metadata harvesting into UNITAS, the existing union catalogue of our association; 4. to bridge the gap between digitalization and digital preservation of digitally born items, mainly journal articles, but possibly book editions as well; 5. to elaborate the principles and practice of acquisition harmonization among libraries; 6. to create, maintain and cherish a work ethic based on knowledge sharing and management through transforming existing theoretical, practical and tacit knowledge into library and best practice courses (while maintaining the present practice of „neighbouring” that is a form of exchange of experience based on in person visiting of ecclesiastical and state libraries); 7. to advocate for a better social appreciation of our profession and activities; 8. to provide library spaces and an excellent IT background for a distinguished online and offline user experience.

avatar for Ágnes Bálint

Ágnes Bálint

EKE Egyházi Könyvtárak Egyesülése (Hungarian Association of Ecclesiastical Libraries)

Kornélia Mészáros

EKE Egyházi Könyvtárak Egyesülése (Hungarian Association of Ecclesiastical Libraries)

Monday September 12, 2022 12:00pm - 12:30pm CEST
Room 6

2:30pm CEST

The Ways of the Lord are Unsearchable - The Herder Institute Research Library as a Valuable Resource for Scholars in Theology
The proposed presentation would come from a library that is by definition not a "theological library" but one dedicated to the history and culture of East-Central Europe, i.e. today's Poland, Czech and Slovak Republics, and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Ever since its foundation in 1950, the Library of the Herder Institute has, however, with great dedication also collected publications on the religious history of this region which has both a strong Catholic (Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia) and Protestant (Baltic countries, the Czech Republic) tradition. The presentation will thus try to give an interview of the holdings in the library that are relevant to researchers from the field of theology and will include information also on those parts of the library that do not immediately come to mind in this respect (the huge collection of newspapers and newspaper clippings, the music collection and the collection of so-called "Samizdat" [underground] publications), but might actually be of particular interest. In addition, it will also provide a very short introduction to the other holdings of the Herder Institute that could be relevant to scholars in the field of theology and church history (i.e. the Image Archives and the classical Archives of the Herder-Institute) and which also welcome users either on-site or virtually.

avatar for Juergen Warmbrunn

Juergen Warmbrunn

Library director, Herder-Institut for Historical Research on East Central Europe
I am not a theology librarian myself which is why I look forward to learning a lot and getting to know many friendly and interesting librarians from a different field at the BETH Conference.

Monday September 12, 2022 2:30pm - 3:00pm CEST
Room 6

3:00pm CEST

The Library Beyond the Collection
Roughly speaking. when academic research is turning excessively open access, selection of books and journals by subject librarians will hardly be necessary anymore. Disclosure and discovery are taken over by world wide-open access repository, users finding their way to literature outside library contexts. So what can be the role of the library, apart from being a physical space user like to gather to study and work on assignments? Are there enough possibilities left for the library to survive?

avatar for Susanne van Rijn

Susanne van Rijn

Subject Librarian, Leiden University Libraries (UBL)
I have been working as a subject librarian at Leiden University Libraries for almost 10 years now. The subjects I work in are Philosophy, History of Science, Religious Studies and Library Sciences, and I also take care of the 'regular' budget for humanities. Furthermore I take part... Read More →

Monday September 12, 2022 3:00pm - 3:30pm CEST
Room 6
Tuesday, September 13

9:00am CEST

Reevaluating Physical Books – How to Repurpose Print Collections to Foster Community Building and Knowledge Creation in a 21st-Century Library
Like many other libraries, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam faces the challenge of dealing with a large but very little used print collection. In 2021, we started the project Omboeken (“Re:book”) in order to repurpose our print collection in innovative ways. In my paper, I will outline several approaches and illustrate how print collections can contribute to fostering community building and knowledge creation in a 21st-century library.

To discover the different values and potentialities of our print books, we divided them into four categories: 1) rare books, 2) books for research and teaching, 3) books for inspiration and 4) books for artistic endeavors and social activities. One of the issues I discuss in the paper are the challenges we faced so far in formulating and applying criteria for these categories.
The core working material of the project consists of books from categories 3 and 4. For the selection of books for inspiration, we curate “inspiration libraries” based on the Sustainable Development Goals. In this way, we make VU research themes visible and foster interdisciplinary knowledge creation. We also aim to make visible how research from theology and other humanities fields contributes to societal issues. I will give examples of inspiration libraries that we created so far. Finally, I will discuss a case study pertaining to the last category, books that lost their informational value due to their online availability or outdated content but still have value as objects. One of the goals of the project is to explore the value of books on campus in the form of artworks. I will present the “Pantheon”, an artwork created with books that aims to create a campus environment that fosters creativity and a research mindset.

With my paper, I hope to inspire other librarians to take a fresh look at the value of their print collections.

avatar for Michèle Meijer

Michèle Meijer

Subject librarian, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, University Library
Hi! My name is Michèle Meijer and I am subject librarian for Religious studies, Theology, and Philosophy at the library of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Before I started working at the library, I studied Classics and Art History at the VU and last November also defended my PhD... Read More →

Tuesday September 13, 2022 9:00am - 10:00am CEST
Room 6

10:00am CEST

RESILIENCE: Building a Research Infrastructure for Religion Studies
The aim of this presentation is to follow up on the RESILIENCE project which was first introduced at the 2021 BETH Conference, highlighting those services and infrastructures which are especially relevant for BETH. RESILIENCE is a unique, interdisciplinary, and stimulating research infrastructure for the study of religion, consisting of thirteen academic European institutions. We are building a powerful platform that can provide data and tools to researchers from all scientific disciplines for at least three decades. As of 2021 RESILIENCE has won entrance to the ESFRI roadmap, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures, enabling us to continue to the next phase.

We would like to present several user services which we believe could benefit European Libraries. Last year we presented the Transnational Access Program, which has now been launched, with an initial network of hosts. We believe that many of the BETH institutions could benefit from becoming a TNA host, thereby contributing to a growing physical access network in Europe, as well as the research infrastructure. Other services include ReiReSearch, a search database, Book Heritage Labs, digitization tools, semantic descriptor tools, etc. Given that RESILIENCE is fundamentally intended as a service for all institutions related to religion and requires constant input and feedback from users to function optimally, we would, however, like to seize the opportunity of this presentation to also gather feedback on the kind of services and tools you, as theological libraries require. We, therefore, intend to include a free and open discussion at the end of our session, which will help us create more tailored services.

avatar for Lieneke Timpers

Lieneke Timpers

Research Associate, KU Leuven
I have an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from University College London and am currently specializing in digital theology at the KU Leuven, linking my twin interests of information/knowledge studies and theology. Within RESILIENCE I'm part of the Services team, in charge of... Read More →

Tuesday September 13, 2022 10:00am - 11:00am CEST
Room 6

11:30am CEST

A New Theological Library in Oxford
avatar for Hannie Riley

Hannie Riley

College Librarian & Chair of ABTAPL (Association of British Theological and Philosophical Libraries)), Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford
Hannie has about 20 years of library and information experience starting at St Paul’s Girls’ School, London in 2002. She has been working for the University of Oxford since 2006, starting in the Philosophy and Theology Faculties Library and now at Wycliffe Hall as the college... Read More →

Tuesday September 13, 2022 11:30am - 12:00pm CEST
Room 6

12:00pm CEST

Looking into the Crystal Ball: The MF Norwegian School of Theology’s Library Ten Years from Now
Picking up on this year’s conference theme, we would like to present our visions and thoughts for a small theological university library ten years from now. We will discuss challenges (possibilities and threats) in a rapidly developing sector where the only thing we really can tell about the future is that it will certainly be radically different from our work as we know it.
First, we will discuss the library’s twofold aim (in reality manifold): Providing high-quality services to students and to faculty also in the future. As early as 1930 José Ortega y Gasset in his book The Mission of the University outlined its primary missions: “the teaching of the learned professions, the fostering of scientific research … and finally the creation of cultured persons with the ability to make intellectual interpretations of the world”.(*) Then we will present today’s situation where we are still in an early phase of digitization and implementing the demands that Plan S has put on the sector.
Based on national white papers and policies, as well as our institution’s strategic plans and trends in the higher education library sector, we will try to identify and point out some areas of importance to the MF Norwegian School of Theology’s library in 2032, when it comes to services to the students, to the MF faculty, and to a broader audience. We will also try to pinpoint some areas where we can benefit from cooperation between theological libraries, in Norway, the Nordic countries, as well as with BETH.
As part of the national infrastructure of higher education and research, with MF being the largest provider of theological education and research in Norway – and with the Norwegian strategy for lifelong learning – we will also look into the question of how to provide high-quality library services to external user groups: members of the ecclesiastical professions, teachers in the Norwegian public schools, as well as citizens with an interest in the theological subjects.
The future is bright – and it is work intensive!
(*) https://www.routledge.com/Mission-of-the-University/Gasset/p/book/9781560005605

avatar for Hanne Storm Ofteland

Hanne Storm Ofteland

President, BETH
I am a librarian and art historian. Since October 2020 I'm the Chief Librarian at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society. My main interests within the library field include open science, metadata and interoperability, developing relevant library services for faculty... Read More →
avatar for Rune Keisuke Kosaka

Rune Keisuke Kosaka

Senior Librarian, MF Norwegian School of Theology
Currently working as a Senior Librarian at MF Norwegian School of Theology with responsibility for research data and Open Data policy making.Having previously studied computer science I have an interest for the intersection between library technology, user experience and library... Read More →

Tuesday September 13, 2022 12:00pm - 12:45pm CEST
Room 6
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