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Databases to Search
ATLA Religion Database with ATLA Serials Plus
The premier index to journal articles, book reviews, and collections of essays in all fields of religion. More than 450 journal articles are provided in full text. As of 2018, includes the content of the former Catholic Periodicals & Literature Index.
This search engine points toward scholarly research rather than all Web-based sources. It is stronger in the sciences than in the humanities, with social sciences somewhere in between. One interesting feature of Google Scholar is that in includes a link to sources that cite a particular item. Not all of the articles in Google Scholar are free; the library can obtain many of them for you through Interlibrary loan.
Project Muse Basic College Collection
Project MUSE provides full text electronic access to over 100 scholarly journals in humanities, the social sciences, and mathematics. Topics covered include literary theory; classics; history and cultural studies; philosophy; film, theatre and the performing arts; political science and mathematics.
Arts & Humanities Citation Index (Web of Knowledge)
Multidisciplinary index covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities. Fully covers over 2,300 arts and humanities journals, and also includes some individually selected, relevant items from major science and social science journals. Some of the disciplines covered include archaeology, linguistics, art, literature, music, philosophy, dance, history, religion and theater.
Biblical Archaeology Society Online Archive (Campus access)
Search and browse the full text of 8 religion books and journals published by the Biblical Archaeology Society, including the Biblical Archaeology Review and the Bible Review. NOTE: Use this link to access BAS on campus. If you are prompted to sign in, contact email@example.com for the username & password.
Biblical Archaeology Society Online Archive (Remote access)
Search and browse the full text of 8 religion books and journals published by the Biblical Archaeology Society, including the Biblical Archaeology Review and the Bible Review. NOTE: Use this link to access BAS for off campus.
Old Testament Abstracts
Indexing and abstracts for journal articles, monographs, multi-author works, and software related to Old Testament studies. Content from over 450 journals is covered. All abstracts are in English, regardless of the language of the original work. Topics covered include antiquities, archaeology, biblical theology, philology and much more. Coverage dates back to 1978.
Finding Secondary Sources
For your assignment, you need to track down secondary sources that significantly draw on your primary source. There is no one way to do this, nor are any of the ways particularly fast or easy.
Here are some specific tactics for identifying the scholarly conversation about your primary source. Note that you will have varying degrees of success, depending on your source and how widely it has been studied:
- Search for the title of your primary source in Google Scholar. (If your work has been translated, also try the search using the original title of your work in addition to the English translation.) Click the Cited By link under the entry about your source. This might lead you to scholars that cite your primary source.
- Search appropriate library databases by title and/or author of your primary source to look for related scholarship. Read the abstract (if available) for a sense of the article's focus. Use the list of library databases on the left to do your search.
- Search the library catalog by title/author of your primary source to look for related scholarship.
- If your primary source is from a source book or edited volume, such as some of the books on reserve for your course, look to see if there's a bibliography following the entry. You can use the Tracking Down Sources page to find hard copies of your source.
- Google some combination of the title of your primary source, the author of your primary source and the word "scholar" or "researcher" or "professor" etc. You are trying to find websites of scholars who study your primary source; scholars often list publications on their pages.
- Consult a recommended encyclopedia (listed below) by looking up your work, author or even related topic. Similar to the source book or edited volume, you are looking for a bibliography or list of recommended reading. Then use the Tracking Down Materials tab above to access hard copies of secondary sources.
- If you find articles and books in a source book, edited volume or encyclopedia, consider plugging those into Google Scholar to see who has cited them, too. This will help you track down related (and more recent) scholarship.
- Explore resources from the Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History; in particular, select Databases from the Resources drop down menu. You can search all of these databases, although they might not all have full text. If you find a source you want to find, use the Tracking Down Materials tab, send me an email or come to the Reference Desk for help.
- Search RAMBI, which contains articles covering all aspects of Jewish Studies. RAMBI draws heavily on collections from the National Library of Israel and access is provided through the National Library's portal. This is an excellent resource for searching, although you will not be able to request materials directly through RAMBI. If you find articles of interest, use the Tracking Down Materials tab to figure out how to request materials though Interlibrary Loan.
Persistence is key. This is not always an easy task but it can be very rewarding as you delve into the scholarship surrounding your primary source. You can always visit any librarian at the Reference Desk and/or send me an email with questions. I'm happy to help.
Recommended Reference Works
Encyclopaedia Judaica - Ref DS 102.8 .E496 2007
An excellent source for information on the Jewish people and religion, offering scholarly and in-depth articles, recently updated to include current research on historical and contemporary topics.
Encyclopedia of Judaism - Ref BM 50 .E63 1999 (3 vols.)
Essays provide excellent overviews of major themes within Judaism, including doctrine, practice and teachings.
New Encyclopedia of Judaism - Ref BM 50 .E63 2002
Useful for overviews and definitions of figures and teachings in Judaism.
Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period - Ref BM 50 .D525 1996 (2 vols.)
Brief entries provide overviews of topics related to the era when the sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity were formulated, from about 450 B.C.E. - 600 C.E.
Atlas of Medieval Jewish History - Ref G 1034 .B413 1992
Covers the time period from the 5th century to the mid 17th.
Encyclopedia of Jewish History: events and eras of the Jewish people - Ref DS 118 .E465 1986b
An overview of Jewish heritage including important events and timelines in Jewish history.
Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust - Ref DS135.E8 E45 2001 v.1-3
Three volumes of entries related to Jewish life during the centuries before and through the Holocaust. Third volume includes a chronology, selected bibliography by country, index of communities, and an index of persons.
Jewish Religion: A Companion - Ref BM 50 .J28 1995
This one-volume source provides concise definitions of concepts related to Judaism, including Jewish beliefs, practices and figures.
You might come across complications using the search tips. For example, your primary source may not have a title. Or the title is in a different language but you can't figure out what the original title was. You might hit dead ends because secondary sources written about your title are hard to track down. Or you might find that no one has written much about your exact primary source.
It might not feel like it, but these roadblocks are an opportunity to stop and reflect on your process. Go back to the search tips and try another approach. Talk with your professor. Talk with a librarian. Send me an email. Consult with each other - since you are all working on similar topics, you might have suggestions for each other. Good luck!
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