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Theology Guide: Databases

A guide for conducting research in Theology at the Yale University Divinity School Library.

1. Introduction

What is a database? A database is an organized collection of records presented in a standardized format that can be searched on a computer. The Orbis catalog is a database, as is the ATLA Religion Database.

When you search in a database what you are doing is searching through records that represent and describe some other object, such as a book, an article, a collection of facts. When you search in the ORBIS catalog, for example, you are not searching within the books themselves, but instead you are searching through records that have been created to describe the books (and other items) within the collections of the Yale libraries. The record provides you with information about an item, such as its author, what it is about, and where it can be found.

There are various electronic databases that can help you locate articles, statistics, primary texts, and other kinds of information. You can search in a single database, or you can search within multiple databases at the same time (for instructions on searching across multiple databases, see Multi-Database Search). While there are literally hundreds of databases available at Yale, only a certain number of them are specifically geared toward religious studies and theology. However, there are also a number of databases that cover related subject areas, as well as databases that cover more than one subject area, including religion.

All the databases available at Yale are accessible through the Databases & Article Searching page on the library's web site.

For databases to find journal articles in theology, see Article Databases for Theology under Finding Journal Articles.

Databases for Theology

Yale Divinity Library

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Suzanne Estelle-Holmer
Yale Divinity School Library
409 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511