One of the biggest challenges for theological students is finding bibliographic sources. This is one of the struggles that beginning students taking the Master of Theology programme usually encounter. The difficulty is building up a fairly exhaustive bibliography at the early stage of their research.
In the upcoming Seminari Theoloji Malaysia Master of Theology Seminar (usually held fortnightly), I have been given the task of giving some tips to our MTheol students in New Testament concentration on how they could build up a good bibliography for their research. My concern here is to use the internet for one's research.
Modern technology has made this task much easier and the following links are just some examples of how building a good bibliography is just a matter of a few clicks away! If the book or journal article is not available in the library, an order can always easily be made (more about this later in another post).
I've decided to document it in my blog, perhaps this could also be helpful to other research and theological students as well. (Note: if you have other tips, please let me know. Also, it would be great to learn from your experience as well)
1) Finding Books - using bibliographic search engines on the web
Tyndale House Library catalogue - TynCat
If you can find a book in Tyndale Library, then it is worth reading! Tyndale House is a specialist library in biblical studies, one of the three in the world!
The best thing about using TynCat is that the records are formatted for copying and pasting them straight to your footnotes and bibliography - this saves time! There are also links to online reviews and online copies.
This is a combined catalogue of 24 UK academic libraries in one single database.
Library of Congress Online Catalog
This is the largest English-language library catalogue in the world. You will surely find something here!
BILDI: Documentation for biblical literature Innsbruck
This is an excellent, free bibliographical tool from the School of Theology at the University of Innsbruck. Searches for books and articles can easily be done in a comprehensive database. This is one database that should not be missed for theological books and articles. Note also that there are several special databases: Deuteronomy; and Plants and animals in the Bible
BiBIL: Biblical Bibliography of Lausanne
This is a very useful free bibliographical tool for books and articles on Biblical Studies. But note that this database is not as comprehensive as BILDI but capable of quite complex and detailed searches, including use of Biblical languages.
This is one of the best bibliographic search engines. It searches several catalogues comprising Online Biblical Articles Library, Library of Congress Online Catalog, COPAC (Union of Universities in the UK and Ireland), BILDI, and Pontifical Biblical Institute Catalogue at a click of your mouse.
I have commented on this in one of my earlier posts. See the post on "The Wired Scholar and Google Books."
Search by keyword or subject. Make sure you check out the exciting feature available online in the website, where you can search for the content of the entire book, and are able to browse through selected books in its entirety (No kidding!!). I have used this feature many times, and find it very useful and helpful.