Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
At this time, Yale libraries are open to current faculty, staff, and students; IDs are required for entrance. Yale Library COVID-19 updates.

Biographical Resources for Religious Studies: Electronic Databases

What is a Database?

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 a number of electronic databases that provide geographical information.  A complete list of all databases available at Yale is available through the Databases & Article Searching page on the library's web site.  Recommended geographical databases that are helpful for religious studies are listed below.

American National Biography Online

American National Biography Online

American National Biography Online offers portraits of more than 17,400 men and women -- from all eras and walks of life. The online edition is updated quarterly, with hundreds of new entries each year and revisions of previously published entries to enhance their accuracy and currency. The ANB Online also features thousands of illustrations, more than 80,000 hyperlinked cross-references and links to select web sites.

Biography and Genealogy Master Index

Biography and Genealogy Master Index

Biography and Genealogy Master Index is a comprehensive index to biographical sketches in more than 2700 volumes and editions of current and retrospective reference books, covering both contemporary and historical figures throughout the world.

Biography in Context

Biography in Context

Biography in Context includes nearly a million biographical entries spanning history and geography. It offers media-rich content in context that's updated daily. Includes: 600,000+ biographies covering more than 525,000 individuals; 170 Gale reference titles; 50,000 new or updated bios added annually in addition to daily updates to account for awards and events; integrated reference material, periodical information and multimedia content.

Biography Index Past & Present

Biography Index Past & Present

Biography Index Past & Present is a new version of the Biography Index database, containing retrospective coverage from Biography Index back to when it was first published in 1946, combined with coverage right up to the present. This database offers information about people from all all time periods throughout history and right up to the present in a single, easy to use database..

Brockelmann Online

Brockelmann Online

Brockelmann Online consists of both original volumes Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur (GAL) by Carl Brockelmann (1868-1956), as well as the three supplement volumes, including the indexes. It is full-text searchable, making it much easier to consult for researchers and students. The "Brockelmann" has become an indispensible research tool for anyone working on the Islamic world in general and the Middle East in particular. Brockelmann's Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur offers bio-bibliographic information about works written in Arabic and their authors, with an emphasis on the classical period.

DBE Online

DBE Online

DBE Online is online edition of Dictionary of German Biography (DBE). It provides information about people from all aspects of public life: men and women from the entire German-speaking area from the time of the very earliest written records right up to the present. The biographies inform the reader about the person´s origins, education, influential encounters, professional development, places of influence, significant works and achievements, friendships and relationships, membership of groups and associations, reception and, in special cases, prizes and honors. To be able to evaluate the life and work of a person in its completeness, DBE only contains people who are already dead. DBE Online contains all articles from the second book edition of DBE (Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopädie), overall more than 74,860 biographies. Beyond that it contains ca. 15,000 short biographical entries for persons who are cited in articles, but do not have their own articles. The main biographical data (names, dates, occupations) are separately indexed and can be found preceding the biographical articles. It is also possible to conduct full-text searches through the whole biographical articles.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online paves the way to extensive research and provides access to the fourteen volumes already in print. The biographies are fully searchable by keyword and volumes 2, 4-8, and 11-14 are accessible by identity/profession and volumes 2, 5-8, and 11-14 are accessible by geographic region. The Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online will be continually expanded and enhanced. The first phase of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography presents persons who died between the years 1000 and 1920 or whose last known date of activity falls within these years.

Dictionary of Irish Biography

Dictionary of Irish Biography

Dictionary of Irish Biography, a collaborative project between Cambridge University Press and the Royal Irish Academy, is the most comprehensive and authoritative biographical dictionary yet published for Ireland. It contains 9,014 signed biographical articles which describe and assess the careers of subjects in all fields of endeavour, including politics, law, religion, literature, journalism, architecture, painting, music, the stage, science, medicine, engineering, entertainment and sport.

HebrewBooks.Org

HebrewBooks.org

HebrewBooks.org is a growing database of Judaica works. It includes biographical sketches of the authors.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the premier source for biographical information on persons connected with the British Isles from all periods of history. The qualifications for inclusion are that subjects not be living, that they inhabited or were connected with the British Isles, and that they were noteworthy. The noteworthy and influential element in a subject's life may range from the great and good to the popular, philanthropic, pioneering, scientific, social, curious, or criminal. Building on the work originally incorporated in the Dictionary of National Biography all of whose entries were revised or rewritten for this work -- the Oxford DNB contains 50,000 biographies and 10,000 images of men and women who shaped all aspects of Britain's past, from the fourth century BC to the year 2000.

World Biographical Information System

World Biographical Information System

World Biographical Information System is the most comprehensive biographical database available, providing short biographical information on over 6 Million people from the 8th century B.C. to the present.

Yale Divinity Library

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

L-203
203-432-6374