1 January 2007

Searching for academic research on the web

Google is surprisingly useful even for academic research, but even
Google Scholar fails to find most of the important material.
The specialist databases are the key - and this is how to find them.

1) Finding articles and archives
2) Finding books and theses
3) Use the new IE7 Searchbox

1) Finding articles and archives
ATLA - the American Theological Library Association database is still the best source for English Biblical Studies and Theology, indexing books and about 500 journals, some back as far as 1949. If you or your institution can't afford it, the following are very good, and free.
Index theologicus (IxTheo) (Tübingen library).
Indexes 600 journals including many non-English titles not included in ATLA.
This has recently become a free online service being previously a subscription CD.
See also THEOLDI Bibliographic Database (Insbruck library) and BiBIL Biblical Bibliography (Lausanne library)
Some other databases which cover specialist areas very well:
GNOMON for Classics
AIGYPTOS for Egyptology
RAMBI for Jewish Studies
Orion for Dead Sea Scrolls
Reading the articles
Tyndale House has collected the links for academic Biblical Studies & Theology
including 138 academic journals with full online content, many of them free
and links to another 127 journals as well as information about the 400 titles we shelve.
We offer a photocopy service for any periodicals and books we hold.
Directory of Open Access Journals
This attempts to lists all journals with free internet access in all academic subjects.
Tyndale is better for Biblical Studies and Theology, but it has 2500 titles in other subjects!
OAIster collects the information which other databases forgot.
Indexes collections of documents, pictures, and archives from a huge number of sources.
If you need the private letters of an historic missionary, you should look here.

2) Finding books and theses
TynCat - the Tyndale Catalogue
If it is here, it is worth reading. If it isn't, quick links to other libraries will find it for you.
Records are formatted for pasting straight into your footnotes or bibliography.
The links to online reviews and online copies can save you days.
TynCat also has direct links to:
Library of Congress Catalogue - biggest English-language library catalogue in the world.
COPAC - 24 UK academic libraries in one searchable database, plus The British Library
For older publications:
English Short Title Catalogue - details of virtually every pre-1800 English publications
Early English Books Online - whole-book scans of a large proportion of the pre-1800 titles
(this needs a university link)

Finding a library
LibDex Libraries Index - geographical index of libraries
WorldCat - finds the nearest library which has the book you are looking for
Theses & Dissertations
The full texts of theses are only available from subscription sites
though often the titles and abstracts can be searched for free.
UMI / ProQuest has collected theses from the USA and some other countries.
See also African Theses British Theses French Theses

3) Use the new IE7 Searchbox
If you use Windows, your Internet Explorer has probably updated itself to v.7
One of its nicest features is the searchbox which you can set to whichever
search engine you like, or have a long drop-down list from which to select.

You can add anything you want - click on the down-arrow, then on
"Find more providers". On the right you can "create your own".

For really useful searches, paste the following into URL and Name,
then click on "Install" and on "Add Provider"
URL: http://www.ixtheo.de/cgi-bin/ixtheo/allegroeng.pl?db=ixtheo&var2=TIT&item2=TEST
Name: Title Words in Articles
This will search the Tübingen library for articles with these words in the title in
* 600 journals in Biblical Studies and Theology in major languages
* 500 multi-author works (including Festschriften) per year

URL: http://www.TynCat.com/bookbar.htm?&Title=TEST&Loc=USA&Site=TynCat
Name: Title Words in Books
This will search the Tyndale library for books with these words in the title, and also
provide buttons to:
* search other libraries for these title words
* find the cheapest price among 1000+ vendors for this book
* look for reviews of the book,
* look for online versions of the book
Hint: Don't type in the whole title - only a couple of significant words.

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