Policy for Development and Maintenance of the IAMS Web-site





To a global organization like IAMS with most of its members connected to the internet (currently email addresses of 75% of individual and corporate members are registered in the database) and with only little funds available for regular communication with members, the Internet becomes a primary means of communication due to its global accessibility and its cost efficiency. The aim of this policy paper is to describe how we want use the Internet in years to come.



The IAMS web-site was established in 1996 by Dr. John Roxborogh, New Zealand following a decision of the IAMS Executive. For the period 1996-2002 he was in charge of development and the one who did all the hands-on work building up the web-site.


The website is hosted by Webfarm (http://www.webfarm.co.nz/) in New Zealand.. A monthly charge of NZ$36.56 per is billed to John Roxborogh’s credit card and refunded annually by IAMS. The original domain name was iams.org.uk, but this was changed to missionstudies.org in 1999. The domain name of missionstudies.org is registered with Register.Com in the United States and is paid until 23 October 2009. The latest version of Microsoft Frontpage is currently used to edit pages and manage the site. Knowledge of html code is not considered essential, but an understanding of the structure of websites and the ways in which they can be efficiently utilised is desirable.


In 2001 a membership database was added to the web-site. This database functions as the current membership directory of IAMS and includes possibilities of listing research interests, biographical data and bibliographical data. This database is updated by the IAMS members themselves. Through their email address and a simple password (123), they are able to enter their own record and update all information in the record. This database is a Microsoft Access database – and the database, which the IAMS secretariat uses for updating records as well.


In 2001 a credit card payment facility was included through the British company Worldpay. A major part of member payments to IAMS are now received through this facility. Data on payments are sent directly to the IAMS treasurer in Birmingham.


In 2002 responsibility for the web-site was temporarily handed over to the IAMS secretariat in Copenhagen and during the year went through some reorganization. In January 2003 John Roxborogh indicated that he was not able to return to the role of webmaster and the decision made to seek a person to take over this responsibility. Meantime he continues to manage the sub-webs for IACM (the International Association of Catholic Musicologists), ANZAMS (the Aotearoa New Zealand Association for Mission Studies), and PADOH (the IAMS mission study group, Project for Archives, Documentation and Oral History), which are hosted on the IAMS site.


In 2003 a conference web-site (Assembly 2004) was added and serves as the main information channel for the conference. Most registrations for the conference are received through the online registration form. Data from this form is stored directly in a conference database.



Opportunities and concerns

There is no doubt that the Internet is changing at a fundamental level the way an academic community like IAMS will communicate in the future. Yet, while praising the new opportunities, IAMS is very much aware of the limitations and concerns, which are also to be born in mind:

  1. The Internet is both democratising and limiting. It opens affordable global communication to huge numbers of people and to a significant proportion of the IAMS membership, but it is not affordable to all, and it is not available to all. Nevertheless it is within the reach of most theological institutions.
  2. The communities created by and excluded from the digital revolution of the past decade are alike of missiological value and concern.
  3. The way in which information is shared and made available has changed so that the primary means of accessing information is now electronic. For instance, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which a decade ago cost hundreds of dollars, is now free on the worldwide web. The major newspapers of the world, and many minor ones, can have their stories read, and searched, online.
  4. The facility for global networking on collaborative projects.
  5. The effect of electronic media on scholarly publishing, including on Mission Studies.
  6. The implications for documentation, archives and bibliography – for storage, access and retrieval of missiologically relevant records of the life of the Christian church in missionary engagement with its social and cultural contexts.



As of 2003, the IAMS executive has adopted the following policy for development and maintenance of the web-site:



It is the aims of www.missionstudies.org


General public




Mission studies in general



There are no limits to the potential development and extent of a web-site. However, IAMS will need to set strict priorities based on the following criteria:



·         The position of webmaster is to be called for from among the members of IAMS.

·         The position is voluntary but reasonable incurred expenses, including the approved purchase of software, will refunded by IAMS.

·         The webmaster is responsible to the IAMS Executive through the IAMS Secretariat for the maintenance and development of the IAMS website to enable it to help fulfil the aims of IAMS and support the efficient and economical operation of the Secretariat.

·         The key tasks of the webmaster include:

o        Design of the structure of the web to facilitate easy navigation and prompt loading of pages taking into account the modem speeds available to most members.

o        Determination and implementation of a standard style and appearance appropriate to IAMS.

o        Maintaining links to other sites and repairing or removing broken links.

o        Editing the presentation of material provided by people with responsible positions in IAMS including the editor of Mission Studies, the Secretary, Treasurer, and the convenors of Mission Project groups. Such editing is related to the structure and presentation of the material rather than its content.

o        Editing and updating of the pages on the web to improve consistency of style across the website.

o        Monitoring the usage of the website.

·         A contract between the IAMS Secretariat and the webmaster states the terms of appointment.

·         IAMS may budget for paid expertise in cases where specific new facilities are to be built into the web-site. Such budget allocation must be agreed upon prior to hiring such expertise.

·         The webmaster is to make an annual report to the executive, including development goals, budget, analysis of the usage of the website and proposals for ways in which the website may further enhance the mission of IAMS

·         It is envisaged that in 2004 a major review and revamp of the site will be required for implementation in 2005.



Policy updating

The web-site policy will be reviewed and updated by the IAMS executive from time to time, with a scheduled major review once during the lifetime of each executive Members of IAMS may submit suggestions for the development of the site. The webmaster is responsible for continuous reflection and refinement of policy matters to be discussed with the secretariat and put before the executive for consideration.