Friday, July 25, 2008

World religions resources

I know a number of people in this group are always in the market for good lists of materials in world religions. The American Theological Library Association's World Religions Interest Group has made available a couple of bibliographies, based on the work of scholars in Islam and--coming soon!--Hinduism. I hope you'll find them useful.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Minutes from 2008 Annual

Philosophy, Religion and Theological Studies Discussion Group

June 29, 2008

Anaheim, CA

Ted prepared an agenda which we followed (kind of!)

1. selected note taker

2. everyone introduced themselves

3. Products, Databases, Resources

LibGuides: Several members are currently constructing guides. Since there is a ‘community’ link available to authors, it facilitates sharing of information and sources.

Poeisis: Database that offers smaller press and society journals online, but the library must have a subscription to the journal in print.

Philosopher’s Index: Database is not comprehensive but offers select literature as building blocks for new thought.

Oxford Biblical Studies: similar in format to Oxford Islamic Studies. Oxford Classical Studies is forthcoming.

Ebsco/American Antiquarian Project: Project availability in 2009. They will be offering historic American periodicals (1693-1876) that include sermons and church notes. These will be sold as collections with a one time cost.

Reference Universe: mentioned as a way to promote print collections.

Guide to Reference: ALA electronic source that will be updated annually.

4. Collection Analysis Tools: OCLC and Resources for College Libraries

Member discussed varied experiences with each and compared costs. RCL doesn’t pick up superseded editions.

5. Collection Development

Gifts: Large collections are costly to process, house, and manage. OCLC provides processing services. Discards can go to Better World Books or booksontherun. Some member libraries are able to sell used books or unwanted gift books as fund raisers. Ebay is a way to sell rare books to raise money for the library (or to locate rare titles to buy).

Move to electronic rather than print: partly to address space issues, partly driven by faculty preferences. There was a discussion of the stability of electronic sources and the group expressed trust in JStor and Project Muse but not other aggregators. Many libraries have stored JStor –held print off site or relied on agreements to make certain one copy exists for a consortium. Other options include not binding JStor titles pending discard once they are included in the database.

Faculty Relations: be vocal, know the chair of the department, be open to suggestions. An issue for some libraries: faculty have figured out that requesting a book for reserve that the library doesn’t own will mean it gets ordered from another part of the budget. They are working the system

Media Requests: Most have noticed a decline in requests.

6. Instruction

Graduate Students: renewed focus on guiding to the sources they learned as undergrads in a new system. For older returning graduate students instruction introduces them to sources that are new to them.

Workshops for Faculty: Names such as “Resource Update” work better than “Faculty Workshop”

7. Blog Value?

Ted will check on the upcoming ALA Connect that may offer blog space to groups.

8. Colin agreed to co-chair with Ted. Group discussed inviting vendors or speakers to meetings such as ATLA when we meet in Chicago.

Respectfully submitted,

Debbie Gaspar

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Church, Insurance and Risk Management


As a new member of this blog and an interest in this ACRL group I thought would make a brief post. I am the Digital Services Librarian at St. John's University - Manhattan Campus. The library I work in is primarily focused on insurance and risk management. I recently received an MA in theology from SJU and have been working on building up our collection in the general subject areas of Churches - Insurance; Clergy - Insurance, Professional Liability; and Religion and insurance. The link to our Website is and our catalog link is InsureCat. You're welcome to see what we already have. I'm interested if anyone in this group has a specific resources in these subject areas that you think would be helpful addition. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pali Canon @ Gelman Library

The Gelman Library at George Washington University has purchased the complete works of the Buddha as described in the Pali Canon. This complete English translation was welcomed to the library on National Library Day 2008, with a traditional Tibetan Ceremony. Photos of the procession and ceremonial reading are available here:

Access to the complete English translation of the Pali Canon will substantially improve opportunities for student and faculty research in Buddhist philosophy and religion.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Question for Anaheim

Would anyone like to present on a topic?


Friday, January 25, 2008

Q need free online Hebrew Bible in Spanish

Dear All,
My first post. I have a question from a member of the pubic who needs a link to a free online site that has the Hebrew Bible in both Hebrew and Spanish. I was able to easily find the Hebrew/English, Hebrew/French, and Hebrew/ Portuguese Hebrew bibles online. Given that he already has the Hebrew a link to the Hebrew Bible in Spanish only would also suffice. My patron cannot make it to a library, so I can't suggested any of our library materials/products to help him. Any suggestions. I will also send this question by regular email. Thanks.
Sheila Smyth

Project Muse Correction

Back issues of the Journal of Early Christian Studies (v. 1-3) are scheduled to be available in Project Muse in 2009, not the Journal of Religious Studies. Back issues of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal (v. 1-5) are also scheduled for 2009.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

New interface from Blackwell

Following up on our conversation at Midwinter about Blackwell's collection management software....

I just found out from our acquisitions librarian that Blackwell will be rolling out a new interface for Collection Manager sometime in the next several months. They promise new features and improved functionality (sorry, I don't have any specifics). Those of you who use Blackwell might want to ask your reps about this--and let's all keep our fingers crossed!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Midwinter Minutes

Philosophy, Religion, and Theological Studies Discussion Group

Midwinter Meeting – Philadelphia

Ted Chaffin led the group meeting.

1. Discussion of Sources

Index Islamicus. Islamic studies is a growing area in many schools. It has a significant impact to many collection areas because it is interdisciplinary. Many members have purchased Index Islamicus. Ebsco and CSA provide interfaces, as does the publisher Brill. Members discussed the frustration associated with the tool since it indexes sources that often must be ILL’d.

Oxford Islamic Studies. No one in the group has purchased this title. It includes 2 versions of the Koran, some commentary, and full text books that Oxford has published.

Project Muse now includes all 37 volumes of the Journal of the History of Philosophy. The Journal of Religious Studies will be available by 2009.

RAMBI - Index of Articles on Jewish Studies

"Material listed in Rambi is compiled from thousands of periodicals and from collections of articles - in Hebrew, Yiddish, and European languages- mainly from the holdings of the Jewish National and University Library…." Few members were familiar with this database.

Philosopher’s Index via the Ebsco interface is coming soon. Currently, members use either CSA or Ovid for that source.

There was a brief discussion on Federated Searching. Most folks have had limited success with it. One member mentioned the Serials Solution interface to facilitate federated searching.

Resources for College Libraries and Choice do not cover Christianity at the depth necessary for Christian colleges or universities. ATLA’s Atlantis listserv may be a good source. Information regarding Atlantis is available:

ATLA hosts an annual conference that is useful. During 2008, however, that conference conflicts with ALA Annual.

American Academy of Religion is another group that might be useful to work with. They also have a good conference. Information is available:

Someone asked about a good database covering Asian Philosophy. It is hoped that members will discuss this further on the blog since no one present was aware of a particular electronic source. Brill has fine print sources on this topic.

2. Format for upcoming meetings

There had been a proposal at the 2007 Annual meeting that members would present on topics of interest. No one has volunteered yet to do so, though.

Should we bring in external speakers? Consider the location of each meeting and seek out professors or organizations local to the conference? Example: ATLA is located in Chicago.

Again, the group was encouraged to brainstorm on the blog.

3. Collection Analysis Tools

Some libraries represented have used the World Cat analysis tool. They have encountered problems aligning circulation statistics with the data. They also noted that it is difficult to limit comparisons to regional libraries.

Bowker has a book analysis tool that is more successful with comparisons to peer institutions and/or core lists. Ulrich’s is then employed for journal comparisons.

4. Collection Development Policies

Should they be specific or generalized? Some libraries post them online or send a copy to the relevant department. Would it be useful to post policies in a wiki format so stakeholders can edit them? Would it be helpful to supply example policies on the blog?

5. Vendors / Publishers / Services

Blackwell’s doesn’t permit searching by format. How can we express needs to vendors? As a block, librarians should have some financial leverage. ACRL has a Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations Committee. Miranda will contact them to see if they are interested in collaborating on a program related to the needs of collectors. It was noted that RUSA/LAMA is sponsoring a similar discussion in an open forum format for vendors to discuss open source issues.

Faculty at some institutions contribute to forming the approval plan. Small schools, however, can not use approval plans because their budgets do not accommodate such purchasing.

6. Alms for Jihad

Alms for jihad : charity and terrorism in the Islamic world by J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins was published by Cambridge University. One of the philanthropists listed in the book has sued and Cambridge requested that universities and other libraries pull the book from shelves.

A common response to this request was to place the book in special collections as it would now become a rare book. Other schools glued the letter as an erratum into the book and left it on the borrowing shelves. There were concerns, however, that a patron would destroy the copy if it was left public. This highlights the value of the print copies, since an electronic version would have been easily edited. Members noted that such censorship is usually the purview of school libraries and that academic libraries rarely encounter such issues.

7. Instruction

Many members teach in religion or philosophy courses. For the most part, this occurs at the introductory level: what sources are available, what are special collections, and how to locate materials. New graduate students often receive an orientation also.

Electronic classrooms permit active learning. One member explained how to break students into groups and have them teach the various databases. Other examples of working with classes included visiting the classes and sitting in on discussions.

This led to a broader discussion on liaison activities and outreach to faculty members. The problem is how to introduce one’s self, library resources in spite of faculty resistance. Suggestions included finding out about the faculty member, how they prefer to receive communication, aligning with the goals of the department, capitalizing on word of mouth or faculty referrals. Also mentioned was visiting the department with a laptop and food or taking a faculty member out to lunch.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

ATLA info

Here's some information about the American Theological Library Association, a group I highly recommend for anyone interested in seminary librarianship and/or collection development and other issues in the areas of religion and theology.

Website: Lots of general information about all aspects of the organization, including membership and the annual conference.

Listserv discussion groups: Several of these--including ATLANTIS, the very active general purpose list--are open to non-members, although you may be asked by the list administrator to explain your interest in participating. The lists also have a web interface, which you can use once you've created an account to browse or search the archives.

Job postings: The world of North American theological librarianship is a small one, so jobs don't come open all that often, but when they do, you're more likely to find them here than through ALA or ACRL.

I enjoyed meeting many of you at the recent ALA Midwinter meeting, and I hope the PRT group will continue to become more active.