Major divisions of the field
Religions are commonly classified as being predominantly sacramental, prophetic, or mystical. Sacramental religions place great emphasis on the observation of ritual and on the sacredness of certain objects. Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism are familiar examples. Prophetic religions emphasize the communications of the Divine Will in verbal form, often with strong moralistic emphasis. Islam and Protestantism reflect this approach. Mystical religions stress direct encounter with God and view words, rituals, and sacred objects as auxiliary at best, or hindrances at worst, to the full communion that is seen as the ultimate goal of all religion striving. Certain branches of Hinduism and Buddhism are examples of this type of religion.
The literature generated by the religions of the world may be conveniently analyzed under four predominant headings: 1) personal religion, 2) theology, 3) philosophy of religion, and 4) science of religion.
Personal religion is the primary and most direct source of religious writing. It is intimately related to the experiences of the individual and reflections about his or her significance. A major class of documents in this category would be the sacred scriptures of the world’s great religions. Closely related to the sacred writings are those documents of expectations and interpretations commonly known as commentaries. Finally, there is a much larger body of literature that does not have the same authoritative standing as the sacred scripture and their commentaries. Works in this category may be devotional, autobiographical, or biographical. In this group would also be included a large number of popularizations.
Theology is an attempt to express in intellectually coherent form the principal doctrines of a religion. It is the product of reflection upon the primary sources of religion. It differs from philosophy in that the basic truth of the religious position is accepted and attention is given to its systematic and thoughtful exposition. The field has many subdivisions. Within the Christian tradition, systematic (or topic-oriented) theology and biblical theology have been especially important, but there is also a substantial body of literature on moral, ascetic, mythical, symbolic, pastoral, philosophical, liturgical, and natural theology as well.
The philosophy of religion is an attempt to relate the religious experience to other spheres of the experience. It differs from theology in that it makes fewer assumptions about the truth of a religious position, at least in the beginning. It differs from philosophy in its selection of religion as the area for speculative investigation. Perhaps it is best described as a bridge between philosophy and theology. The article in the Encyclopedia Britannica Online treats philosophy of religion in a direct and informative way; see “Religion, philosophy of” at http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/497132/philosophy-of-religion (accessed October 23, 2012).
The science of religion has also generated a substantial body of literature. Here, emphasis is placed on comparative and historical methods, with no presuppositions about (and possibly no interest in) the truth or falsity of the religions being examined. Whereas the locus of interest in the first three categories is usually one of the world’s living religions, this is not always the case in the scientific study of religion, where a purely objective approach to the description and comparison of religious phenomena represents the ideal.
Helpful resources for students, librarians, and general readers
The student wishing to read more about religion and its subfields will find it helpful to consult Religion: A Humanistic Field, by Clyde A. Holbrook (Prentice-Hall, 1963), Religion, edited by Paul Ramsey (Prentice-Hall, 1965), and Religion in America, by Winthrop S. Hudson (4th ed., Scribner’s, 1987). (Unfortunately, these titles, still excellent despite their age, are now out-of-print.)
More recent guiding material specifically for the librarian and serious researcher are Edward D. Starkey’s Judaism and Christianity: A Guide to the Reference Literature (Libraries Unlimited, 1991) and Religion and the American Experience, 1620-1900: A Bibliography of Doctoral Dissertations by Arthur P. Young and E. Jens Holley (Greenwood, 1992). The latter is one title in Greenwood’s extensive series, Bibliographies and Indexes in Religious Studies, a series that should be consulted for other useful titles. In the same series, Michael A. Fahey’s compilation Ecumenism A Bibliographical Overview (Greenwood, 1992) will lead the user to over 1,300 books and journal titles on ecumenism. A newer source for the scholar is reviewed in L. D. McIntosh, “Religion and Theology: A Guide to Current Reference Sources,” Australian Library Journal 47 (February 1998): 120-21. Another title for the librarian and scholar of religion is the third edition of James P. McCabe’s A Critical Guide to Catholic Reference Books (Libraries Unlimited, 1989), still useful despite its age.
E. T. Thompson’s “Religious Records,” in Researcher’s Guide to Archives and Regional History Sources (Library Professional Publications, 1988, pp. 74-77) addresses the use of archival materials in religious studies. The student should not overlook entries in the literature indexes under headings such as “Religious Archives” for help in locating guides and finding tools for special collections. See, for example, Researching Modern Evangelism; A Guide to the Holdings of the Billy Graham Center, with Information on Other Collections, by R. D. Schuster and others (Greenwood, 1990).
A general perspective for the librarian is still well represented by Lester Asheim’s chapter on religion in The Humanities and the Library (American Library Association, 1956). Gary Ebersole and Martha S. Alt’s chapter “Religion,” in the second edition of The Humanities and the Library, edited by Nena Couch and Nancy Allen (American Library Association, 1993), adds more recent profiles of religion librarianship and references to readings for specialists and generalists as well. The anthology of works mentioned above and edited by Jaraslov Pelikan, The World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought (Little, Brown, 1990) offers the broadest coverage of carefully selected representative authors, from Karl Marx to Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and Paul Tillich. The anthology, along with Anne H. Lundin and Edward Lundin’s equally thoughtfully prepared Contemporary Religious Ideas Bibliographic Essays (Libraries Unlimited, 1996), will prove of great help in working with all types of users: ministers and rabbis, religious educators, library selection committees, and students at all levels, from high school to seminarian.
Religious scholar John F. Wilson has contributed a great deal to the librarian’s understanding of religious studies. With Paul Ramsey, he edited The Study of Religion in Colleges and Universities (Princeton University Press, 1970), a report that places the evolving area we call “religious studies” in the context of the seminary, the graduate school, and the full-service university. More recently, Wilson contributed the survey of religious literature portion to Research Guide to Religious Studies, co-authored with Thomas P. Slavens (American Library Association, 1982). As noted in chapter 6, this source is now more useful for the scholarly articles than for the resource chapters, which are somewhat dated.
Bibliographic guides by Cyril J. Barber, including his Introduction to Theological Research (Moody Press, 1982), reflect the more conservative religious viewpoint. The book includes information on how to use the library, useful material for the intended audience of beginning Bible studies.
Recent articles on user instruction, or bibliographic instruction, include “One-Shot Bibliographic Instruction,” a brief report of a roundtable discussion at the 1998 ATLA conference, reported by Clayton H. Hulet in Summary of Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Conference of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA, 1998, pp.297-300), and “Bibliographic Instruction in Religion: A Survey of the Field,” a presentation to the College and University Interest Group at the 1996 ATLA Annual Conference and reported in the Summary of Proceedings of the 50th Annual Conference of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA, 1996, pp. 106-12). Section 5.2 of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) Accreditation Standards requires that libraries provide bibliographic instruction as well as other services. (See the ATS Web site for the complete standards: http://web.archive.org/web/20120806085648/http://www.ats.edu/Accrediting/Pages/StandardsOfAccreditation.aspx [accessed October 24, 2012].)
The librarian has a wide range of journal articles, brief publications, and chapters to consult on religious material, although a good many of the sources are older. A search of the index Library Literature (H. W. Wilson) for the period 1994 through 1998 reveals a considerable emphasis on acquisitions and materials now available on the World Wide Web.
Collection development and evaluation of resources are served well by L. Garrett’s bibliographic essays and reviews in Publishers Weekly; PW regularly features listings (for example, “Keeping the Faith: Fall/Winter Religion Books,” in the August 18, 1997 issue) as well as periodic coverage of religious booksellers. Garrett and others edited “Religion Update” (Publishers Weekly 245 [May 25, 1998]: 3ff.) Reviews are also featured regularly in the journal Catholic Library World. With religion being a large and diverse area of publishing, religious books are well represented in the library and publishing literature.
Selection and acquisition of religious material for libraries are addressed in B. E. Deitrick’s A Basic Book List for Church Libraries (15, no. 2 : 145-227) is devoted to collection development of religious material. R. Singerman edits the issue that includes articles on such diverse materials as Liberation theology in Latin America and obtaining and preserving Buddhist materials. The issue also includes W. J. Hook’s “Approval Plans for Religious and Theological Libraries” (pp. 215-27).
T. D. Lincoln’s “A Contextual Approach to Collection Management in Religious Studies for North American Libraries,” Acquisitions Librarian 17/18 (1997): 63-76, has been reprinted in Acquisitions and Collection Development in the Humanities, edited by Irene Owens (Haworth, 1997, pp. 63-76).
Collection development in specialized areas is addressed by David H. Partington in “Islamic Literature: Problems in Collection Development,” Library Acquisitions: Theory and Practice 15 (1991): 147-54, and in the same journal issue by S. Peterson, “From Third World to One World: Problems and Opportunities in Documenting New Christianity” (pp. 177-84).
Other special areas are covered in articles such as C. Olson’s “Essential Sources on Thai Theravada Buddhism,” Behavioral and Social Sciences Librarian 16 (1997): 1-10, and “Choosing Resources on Social Ministry,” by Bonnee Lauridsen Voss and Gary L. Harke in Christian Social Action 10 (February 1997): 37-38. See also, for example, “Multifaith Information Resources,” Bulletin of the British Theological and Philosophical Libraries 5 (June 1998): 19-33. Statistics on holdings and services among theological libraries are published as appendices to the annual proceedings of the ATLA conferences.
The special area of children’s books in religion is thoroughly covered in the periodical literature. Both Publishers Weekly and publications of the Church and Synagogue Library Association offer recommendations for teachers and librarians who work with children. Another article, based on presentations at the 1994 ALA conference, is J. P. Thomas, P. Scales, and P. Klipsch, “Into the Lion’s Den: Youth Access to Religious Materials: Building Strategies, Building Coalitions, Building Collections,” Journal of Youth Services in Libraries 8 (Fall 1994): 37-52.
Organizing religious materials is another important area for the librarian, “The Classification of Philosophy, Religion, and the Occult,” in D. W. Langridge’s Classification and Indexing in the Humanities (Butterworths, 1976, pp. 59-77) remains useful, but the user will also want to see Classifying Church or Synagogue Library Materials, by D. B. Kersten (2d rev. ed., Church and Synagogue Library Association, 1989). J. L. Gresham, “The Place of Religion in the Universe of Knowledge According to Various Systems of Bibliographic Classification,” Journal of Religious and Theological Information 2 (1994): 29-43, provides a view of several mainstream, as well as more obscure, classification schemes and their handling of the literature; for example, see A. R. Carr and N. S. Strachan, “Development of a System for Treatment of Bible Headings in an OPAC Catalog at Aberdeen University,” Catalogue and Index no. 95 (Winter 1989): 5-6. The librarian involved with cataloging will need to keep up-to-date by consulting any ongoing revisions of both the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress schemes. Annual conferences of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) also provide access to information for those who did not attend the conferences.
The subject of publishing in the area of religion is the subject of W. M. Linz’s “A Religious Country Reflected in Its Publishing Industry,” Logos 7 (1996): 6-11. Statistics reported in the article show overall stability in terms of book production in the United States. Henry J. Carrigan’s “Reading Is Believing: Religious Publishing Toward the Millennium,” Library Journal 120 (May 1, 1995): 36-40m also examines publishing trends.
Ruth E. Fenske and N. J. Mayer address the coverage of indexes in religion in “Title Coverage of Seven Indexes to Religion Periodicals,” Reference and User Services Quarterly 37 (Winter 1997): 171-75, 178-79. From a different perspective, Suzanne Smailes also examines coverage of periodical indexing in “Reliability of Coverage of Periodical Indexing of Lesbian Theological and Womanist Theological Articles in the ATLA Religious Database 1995” (master’s research paper, Kent State University, 1996).
The librarian will also want to be aware that the Internet has enabled a number of organized religions, religious organizations, and individual houses of worship to communicate their aims, missions, goals, and services “on the Web.” Web sites such as the International Bible Society’s http://www.biblica.com/ (accessed October 24, 2012) offer, in addition to the usual links to other resources, e-mail services that deliver daily scriptures, prayers, and other materials usually associated with popularized or “personal religion” over the Internet.
Use and users of information in religion
There continues to be a distinct lack of use and user studies in the area of religion. This may be the result of the very diverse nature of religious literature and the multiple viewpoints represented, along with the wide audience served by this literature. Users of historical materials, for example, are unlikely to be users of devotional and inspirational literature; indeed, few libraries will include devotional, informative, historical, and the wide range of doctrinal-interpretive works. The difficulty of investigating uses of literature through citation studies, a method useful in some other fields in the humanities, is compounded by the fact that many uses of the religious literature do not result in publication, that many references made to scriptural works are not formally cited, and that religious publications have a remarkably low rate of citation in general. Indeed, David P. Hamilton, in “Research Papers: Who’s Uncited Now?” (Science 251 [January 4, 1991]: 25) notes that 98.2 percent of published papers in religion are uncited 5 years after publication. There is a continuing need for further investigation into the use of religious materials; Gleason and Deffenbaugh called for such studies in their Collection Management article (6 [Fall/Winter 1984]: 107-17), cited in the last edition of this guide.
Two religious periodicals were among the humanities journals sampled for the age of references cited in Derek J. de Solla Price’s now classic “Price’s Index” paper (“Citation Measures of Hard Science, Soft Science, Technology and Non-Science” in Communication among Scientists and Engineers, edited by C. E. Nelson and D. K. Pollard [Heath, 1970, pp. 3-22]). Both journals (Anglican Theoretical Review and Journal of the American Academy of Religion) cited more references, and more recent references, than any other humanities journals among the seventeen studied. The Price study suggests a methodology that could be fruitfully used to look more closely at citation, a measure of use, in the religious literature.
Bibliometric methods have been employed in several theses and dissertations in the field. John W. Heussman’s “The Literature Cited in Theological Journals and Its Relation to Seminary Library Circulation” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois, 1970) provides a broad view of the use of theological journals in a specific setting. Moshe Itzchaky’s Ph.D. thesis is a bibliometric study of the literature used in Biblical and Near-East Studies in 1923 and 1971: it is entitled “The Structure and Citation Patterns of the International Literature of Biblical and Ancient Near-East Studies” (Ph.D. thesis, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey, n.d.). Kevin L. Smith’s “A Study in Interdisciplinary: Bibliometric Analysis of Periodical Publication in Religion and Literature” (Master’s research paper, Kent State University, 1996) examines authorship and citations in the fields of religion and literature and suggests useful characteristics for comparison and contrast between the two fields. Finally, a much-needed look at the information seeking of clergy is provided in Donald Albert Wicks, “The Information-Seeking Behavior of Pastoral Clergy: A Study of Their Work Worlds and Work Roles” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Western Ontario, 1997).
Computers in religion
Since the late 1980s there have been scores of articles on topics related to computers in religion; subjects addressed included the use of online databases, methods and tools for text analysis, Internet resources, new electronic archives for scholarly use, and concordance construction methods and programs. Concordancing and word index construction were the primary focuses for computing in the area of religion until very recently. D. M. Burton has written extensively on the subject in the journal Computers and the Humanities.
Since the mid-1990s, the emphasis on concordancing and indexing has been replaced by a heavy focus in the literature on Internet resources. K. Moroney’s “Scholarly Religious Sites on the World Wide Web,” Collection Building 17 (1998): 80-83, is an example. A good list of Internet resources is also included in “Selection and Access to Electronic Texts in the Theological Library,” by Donald M. Vorp, in Summary of Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Conference of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA, 1998, pp. 53-67). An example of coverage of a specific resource is “God in the Information Age: Salt of the Earth Web Site,” by Brett Grainger (Sojourners 27 [January/February 1998]: 60-61).
The most up- to-date resources can be accessed most directly from the Web: see, for example, the annotated directory of religious studies resources produced by the department of religion and culture at Wilfred Laurier University at http://web.archive.org/web/20000414120053/http://www.wlu.ca/~wwwrandc/internet_links.html (accessed October 25, 2012) or the very extensive Links for Research on Religion at http://religion.rutgers.edu/links/ (accessed February 28, 2000).
Online and CD-ROM databases serving the field of religion include Religion Index One and Two, produced by the American Theological Library Association and available through multiple vendors. See Barbara Pease, “Religious Indexes on CD-ROM,” Journal of Religious and Theological Information 2 (1994): 137-49 and Tami Luedtke, “Present and Future Forms of the ATLA Religion Database,” in Summary of Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Conference of the American Theological Library Association (ATLA, 1998, pp. 243-47).
Electronic texts enable scholars to study grammar, syntax, and semantics, as well as to investigate authorship, influences, and relationships between various texts and authors. Text archives held at several American institutions support Biblical and religious studies: Duke University holds the Duke Data Bank of Documentary Papyri; the Center for Computer Analysis of Texts (University of Pennsylvania) has materials for Septuagint studies; and the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) at the University of California at Irvine contains texts of Greek literature from 750 B.C. to about A.D. 600. Other electronic publication projects in the classics that are of interest to religious scholars include Chadwyck-Healey’s Patrologia Latina Database and the Perseus Project, a hypertext and image database of classical Greece. The evaluation of the latter is the subject of Delia Neuman’s “Evaluating Evolution: Naturalistic Inquiry and the Perseus Project,” Computers and the Humanities 25 (August 1991): 239-45, and Gregory Crane’s “The Perseus Project and Beyond: How Building a Digital Library Challenges the Humanities and Technology,” D-Lib Magazine (January 1998): 1. (Available at http://www.dlib.org/dlib/january98/01crane.html [accessed October 25, 2012]).
L. Mealand, of the University of Edinburgh, argued persuasively for increased use of computers in the field of Biblical research in “On Finding Fresh Evidence in Old Texts: Reflections on Results in Computer-Assisted Biblical Research,” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 74 (Autumn 1992): 67-88. Mealand stated that the electronic availability of large texts gives the religious and literary scholar “something far, far more useful than index or concordance. We can discover all that such invaluable tools can tell us, and far more.” The availability of many religious texts on the Internet has allowed scholars to do the work envisioned by Mealand. For just a few examples of guides to available texts, see Full Texts Recognized by Religious Scholars, at http://www.religion-online.org (accessed October 25, 2012); Academic Information: Religious Studies, at http://www.academicinfo.net/Religion.html (accessed October 25, 2012) and the text page of Wilfred Laurier University’s extensive resource site at http://web.archive.org/web/19991117065354/http://www.wlu.ca/~wwwrandc/internet_links.html (accessed October 25, 2012).
The most prevalent electronic text in the area of religious studies is, of course, the Bible. Several dozen computer “versions” have been reported in the literature, and they are available online from commercial vendors, on diskettes and CD-ROMS, and from various Internet resources. For more on electronic Bibles and Biblical texts, see J. A. Wilderotter, Electronic Bibles and Electronic Texts in Biblical Studies (Georgetown University, Center for Text and Technology, 1991). Mark Stover’s “Religious Studies and Electronic Information: A Librarian’s Perspective,” Library Trends 40 (Spring 1992): 687-703 describes some of the first electronic texts in the field, research projects involving machine readable texts, and software products that serve varied purposes in religious studies.
Newer are the numerous Bible versions and other related texts available on the Internet. For more information, see Harry Hayne’s Web page Selected Internet Resources on Computer-Assisted Biblical Research. The pages at http://web.archive.org/web/20090321082200/http://www-writing.berkeley.edu/chorus/bible/links/index.html (accessed October 25, 2012) include bibliographic information, an extensive resource list, and listings of Internet discussion groups of interest to the biblical scholar. The best link from the site, since it is has not been uniformly updated, is Internet Resources for Computer-Assisted Biblical and Theological Research, located at http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~hahne/webclass.htm (accessed February 28, 2000).
“Electronic Resources in Theological Librarianship and Religious Publishing: Interest Group Presentations from ATLA 49th Annual Conference” can be found in the American Theological Library Association Proceedings 49 (1995): 111-45. Scholars in religion will also find searches of the following databases to be of importance: Dissertation Abstracts Online, Arts and Humanities Search, SocialSciSearch, Magazine Index, Books in Print, and Philosophers Index. General history and periodical indexes will also be helpful for some topical searches.
Major religious organizations, information centers, and special collections
Religious organizations are major sources of information. They may be denominational, ecumenical, or academic. The number of denominational organizations is immense. Certain useful generalizations can be made about the larger religious groups. Generally, they maintain national offices and have extensive publishing programs. Much of their publishing is designed to serve the needs of local congregations for devotional and educational materials. However, a number of the denominational groups do maintain research staffs at the national level, and nearly all of them gather such basic statistics as a size of membership, number of congregations or suborganizations, and attendance at religious educational programs. A rapidly increasing number of organizations have a presence on the Internet by mounting and maintaining a World Wide Web site or by providing other Internet services for members or subscribers.
Many of the national church offices also maintain collections of historical materials pertaining to the denomination, and some actively promote church libraries among local congregations.
Ecumenical cooperation is exemplified by the work of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A (475 Riverside Dr., Rm 850, New York, NY 10115). The work of the council includes the collection of data for and publication of Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. The Church and Synagogue Library Association (Box 19357, Portland, OR 97280-0357), supportive of library activities regardless of denominational affiliation, publishes Church & Synagogue Libraries bi-monthly.
The oldest of the academic organizations is the Association for the Sociology of Religion (Room 108 Marist Hall, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064), which was founded prior to World War II and which publishes the quarterly journal Sociological Analysis as well as a newsletter and biennial directory. A larger academic group is the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (875 SWKT, Department of Sociology, Brigham Youth University, Provo, UT 84602). Its publication is Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Very specialized organizations serving the religious community may also have useful information on very focused topics. Examples of these organizations include the non-profit Religious Conference Management Association, the Religious Education Association (P.O. Box 15399, Atlanta, GA 30333-0399) and the Religious Public Relations Council (357 Righters Mill Rd., Box 315, Gladwyne, PA 19035). These organizations publish quarterly newsletters or journals and hold periodic meetings.
An organization that developed in response to the need for the greater coordination of research and improved dissemination of religious information is ADRIS, the Association for the Development of Religious Information Systems. It publishes ADRIS Newsletter and, irregularly, a directory (ADRIS, c/o Department of Social and Cultural Sciences, Marquette University, 526 North 14th St., Milwaukee, WI 53233). In Europe, the source of coordination is the International Federation of Institutes for Social and Socio-Religious Research at Louvain, Belgium.
There are far too many educational organizations to mention them all. However, a good starting point in a search for information in this area is the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion (Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN 46383), publisher of the Directory of Departments of Religion (annual).
Only a few major information and research centers can be mentioned here. The Office of Research, Evaluation and Planning of the National Council of Churches is noteworthy for its extensive research efforts and the computerized inventory of more than 2,000 documents in the H. Paul Douglass Collection of research reports.
The American Theological Library Association (300 South Wacker Drive Chicago, IL 60606) publishes Religion Index One, the index available online, in print, and now, on CD-ROM: Religion Index Two; the newly combined Religious Indexes on CD-ROM; and many monographs, bibliographies, and a newsletter. The Association publishes summaries of the proceedings of its annual conferences annually; especially noteworthy is the Summary of Proceedings: Golden Anniversary Annual Conference of the American Theological Library Association (Denver, CO, 1996), edited by Melody S. Char tier. ATLA also participates in scholarship and research with other organizations as well; see, for example, Dennis Norlin, “Ecumenicity and Electronic Publishing: ATLA and CLA in Partnership,” Catholic Library World 67 (June 1998): 24-28.
The Catholic Library Association (205 W Monroe St, Ste 314, Chicago, IL 60606-5061) probably has the widest range of activities of the denominational library associations; including a publishing program that includes Catholic Library World and Catholic Periodical and Literature Index. A national conference each year also draws many participants.
Ellen Bosman’s Web page, Selection Sources for Congregational Libraries: Congregational Library Associations, at http://web.nmsu.edu/~ebosman/church/index.shtml (accessed October 29, 2012), identifies almost a dozen additional religious library associations and their publications and services, including the Association of Christian Librarians, the Association for Jewish Libraries, the Church and Synagogue Library Association, and the Evangelical Church Library Association. Each association listed has a Web site and links are provided to them by Bosman.
A major Catholic research effort is conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057).
The subject of special collections in the field of religion would provide material sufficient for an entire book. The best starting point for a search is under “ Religion” in Subject Collections (7th ed., R. R. Bowker, 1993) by Lee Ash and William G. Miller. For more specialized inquiries, look under names of denominations, individual religions, and personal names of religious leaders.
The literature will also guide the reader to articles on individual special collections, exhibits, and reviews. Two recent examples are R. Simon, “Saved: The Gambold Collection of Moravian Devotional Books,” North Carolina Libraries 56 (Spring 1998): 4-10, and Guy Lamolinara, “Let There Be Light” Library of Congress Information Bulletin 15 (July 1997): 248-52.
G. K. Hall has published library catalogs of some outstanding collections, including the American Jewish Archives (Cincinnati), the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies (Toronto), Union Theological Seminary (New York), the Klau Library of Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati), Dr. Williams’ Library (London), and Institut des Etudes Augustiniennes (Paris).
Thomas Slaven’s Theological Libraries at Oxford (Saur, 1984) will also be of interest to students of special collections and religious libraries.