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Divinity Library Instructional Guide: Finding Articles

There are various electronic databases that can help you locate journal articles, newspaper articles, and other materials not found in Orbis. You can search in a single database, or you can search within multiple databases at the same time. 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. These databases may also be useful for finding materials on your topic.

Basic Database Searching

Finding a Database

The complete list of all the databases available at the Yale University libraries is available on the Databases & Article Searching page. If you know the name of the database you wish to search, you can locate it by typing its name in the Title box, or by browsing for it in the alphabetical list.

find database

Once you have located the database you want to search, click on its link to access the database.

click link

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Searching a Database

Every database is somewhat different, but most allow you to search by Author, Title, Subject or Keyword. Sometimes, an instructional guide or help for the database is available by clicking on the More Info button in the record for the database.

more information

search guide

If you find yourself having problems in searching the database, don't hesitate to ask a librarian for assistance.

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Retrieving an Article

Some of the electronic databases may provide the article in full-text. In that case, simply follow the procedure for the database to retrieve and print out the article.

If the article is not available in full-text from the database, it may still be available in full-text from another database. Look for the yalelinks button and click on it to see if the article is available in full-text from another database.

If the article you want is not available in full-text through any of the library's databases, you will have to see if it is available in print. Search the ORBIS catalog for the journal title (NOT the article title) by using Journal/Newspaper/Magazine Title as the search type. Be sure to note which library holds the journal, and whether or not it has the specific issue in which the article you want is located.

journal title search

Sojourners bibligraphic record

If the journal issue is available at one of the Yale libraries, note the location and call number for the journal, go to that library, and retrieve the issue from the shelf.

Finally, if the journal is not available at any of the Yale libraries, you may be able to obtain the article through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

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Advanced Database Searching

Multi-Database Search

It is possible to search through more than one database at a time by clicking on the Multi-Database Search tab on the Databases & Article Searching page.

Multi-Database tab

The first step is to then select the subject area within which you would like to search.

subject area

Subtopics within your subject area will be suggested for you. You can opt to search within the larger subject area or you can select a subtopic within that subject area.


Next, use the search boxes provided to type in your search term or terms.

search box

A number of databases will be suggested for your search. You can opt to search across all of them by leaving them all checked. You can also uncheck those databases that you don't want to search.

deselect databases

When you're ready to search, hit the GO button next to the search box.


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Quick Search

The Quick Search tab on the Databases & Article Searching page also allows you to search through multiple databases at once.

quick search

The default option for Quick Search is set to Articles. This default option allows you to search through a number of multidisciplinary databases at once:

Some of these databases, such as Humanities Full Text, do index a number of religious studies journals. However, none of them are specifically focused on religious studies.

You also have the option in Quick Search of selecting a more limited subject area. One of the options is Philosophy + Religion.

philosophy + religion

Selecting this option allows you to search across several databases specifically focused on philosophy and religion. These databases are:

It is important to remember that Quick Search does not allow you to deselect any of the databases from the set you are searching.

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My Research

It is also possible to create your own selection of databases that you can search at the same time. For example, say you are doing research on some topic in the area of Native American religion (say, for example, the use of peyote). You would want to search not only databases geared toward religious studies, but also databases that focus on American history, anthropology, even law. You can select your own set of databases which you can then search all at the same time.

To start, you need to log in with your Yale NetID and password by clicking on the Log In tab on the Databases & Article Searching page:

my research login

Then, click on the tab for My Research:

My Research tab

Next, click on the subtab that appears for My Research Databases:

My Research Databases

Next, create a name for the set of databases that you want to create as a set. Click on the Create New Set button, type in a name for your set, and add a description, if desired. Then hit the Save button:

databases for peyote search

The next step is to select the databases you want to search. Click on the Find Database tab to select the databases you want to search. For each database you want to select, click on the add to my research button button.

add to my research

Once you have selected the databases you want to add to your set, click again on the My Research tab and the My Research Databases subtab. You should then see the databases you have selected in the clipboard on the right. Add them to your set by clicking on the arrow. Be careful not to click on the Delete button.


By clicking on the arrow, you are adding the database to the set you have created.

You may notice that each database is specified as a certain type: Search and Display, Search and Link, and Link Only. Only Search and Display and Search and Link are cross-searchable. Link Only databases must be searched individually.

database types

Once you have created your set of databases, you are ready to search. Click on the QuickSearch tab. You should see the new set you have created at the top above the other QuickSearch sets.

peyote set

Type your search terms in the search boxes, make the checkbox next to the set you've selected is checked, and hit the Go button.

search on peyote and ritual

You will be taken to the QuickSearch Results page. Wait until the search has finished (the searching indicator indicator will have disappeared from the screen).


Remember, only Search and Display and Search and Link databases can be crossed searched. Databases that are Link Only will not be cross-searched; you will have to select and search these databases individually.

Once the searching indicator indicator has disappeared, you can look at your list of results. You will see two columns, one indicating the number of items Found by the database and the other column the number of items Retrieved. For Search and Link databases, there will be no numbers for items in the Retrieved column. The Retrieved column only shows items from Search and Display databases.

search results

You can access the results from all the Search and Display databases by clicking on the results search and display link at the top.


Click on the title to view the full record for each item on the list.

To access the results from the Search and Link databases, click on the link at the top of your results list that says Do More with Multi-Database Search. Then, click on the results by databases link. At this point, the number of results for both the Search and Display and Search and Link databases will be indicated. Click on the view link next to the Search and Link databases to view those results.

search and link results

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Databases for Religious Studies & Theology

Most topics in the field of religion and theology can be searched in the ATLA/ATLAS Religion Database. For instructions on using the ATLA/ATLAS Religion Database, see Instructional Guide: the ATLA / ATLAS Religion Database.

Other databases providing access to articles specific to the field of religion include:

Catholic Periodical and Literature Index
Searchable database of periodicals articles, books, newspapers, and papal documents dealing expressly with the practice of Catholic faith and lifestyle.
New Testament Abstracts
Periodical abstracts and book notices of primarily European and American works dealing with the New Testament. NTA typically abstracts around 2,000 articles chosen from more than 500 periodicals in numerous languages. Nearly 850 current books are also summarized annually. The database contains more than 33,000 article abstracts, 1,200 review abstracts, 12,600 book abstracts, and 50 software abstracts. Article coverage in the database dates back to 1985. Some articles available full-text.
Old Testament Abstracts
Old Testament Abstracts features indexing and abstracts for journal articles, monographs, multi-author works, and software related to Old Testament studies. Topics covered include antiquities, archaeology, biblical theology, philology and much more.
Religion & Philosophy Collection
Coverage of more than 300 full text journals in religion and philosophy, including more than 250 peer-reviewed titles. Updated daily.
Religious & Theological Abstracts (RTA)
RTA is a searchable database for citations and summaries of articles appearing in scholarly journals in the fields of religion and theology.

Other databases for finding articles within the field of religious studies & theology are available from the Index and Abstracts page of the library's Research Guide for Christianity. These databases are organized by subject area (i.e., Bible, Church/Denominational/Ecumenical, Church History, etc.)

You can also identify databases in the areas of religious studies & theology by using the Multi-Database Search and selecting Religion or one of the subcategories within the field of religion. For more detailed instructions, see Multi-Database Search, above.

Finally, go to the Electronic Resources for Religion page of the library's website for detailed descriptions of the library's article databases and other electronic resources.

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Databases for Other Subject Areas

If your topic crosses over into another discipline you may want to search in one of the other electronic databases. For example, if the topic or area covers both religion and philosophy, you could also search in the Philosopher's Index.

To find databases appropriate for searching for articles in subject areas other than religion, use the Multi-Database Search feature of the Databases and Article Searching page and select the appropriate subject category for your search to see a selection of databases in that area.

For example, say the topic you are searching on overlaps into the area of anthropology. From the Multi-Database Search, you could select Social Sciences from the dropdown list, and from the subcategories under social sciences, you could select anthropology to see a list of recommended databases for anthropology.

Social Science databases

Anthropology Databases

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Multidisciplinary Databases

Finally, there are a number of databases that cover several disciplines. The following is a list of some of the article databases that cover more than one subject area, including religion.

Academic Search Premier
Academic Search Premier is a scholarly, multi-disciplinary full text database for many journals with indexing and abstracts for many more journals in the collection. Nearly every area of academic study is included. Images are also included in this collection. PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals, and searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,000 titles. The majority of full text titles are available in native (searchable) PDF, or scanned-in-color.
Directory of Open Access Journals
Free, full text, quality controlled scholarly journals covering most subjects and languages.
Google Scholar
Google Scholar searches academic publishers, professional societies and pre-print archives.
Humanities Full Text
Humanities Abstracts Full Text, is a bibliographic database that cites articles from more than 350 English-language periodicals, plus the full text of over 95 of those periodicals. It covers the fields of archaeology and classical studies, art and photography, folklore, general scholarship, history, journalism and communications, language and literature, literary and political criticism, music and performing arts, philosophy, and religion and theology. Periodical coverage includes some of the best-known scholarly journals and numerous lesser-known but important specialized magazines.
Humanities & Social Science Index Retrospective
This database provides the ability to search the most important scholarly journals published in North America and Europe from 1907 to 1984 to identify both articles and book reviews. In addition to coverage of the entire range of the humanities and social sciences for over seventy-five years, the database also covers many important scientific journals through the 1950's. The database may be searched simultaneously with Humanities Abstracts Full Text and/or Social Science Full Text using the same subject vocabulary to cover the literature from 1907 to the present.
IBZ Online
The IBZ is an "international bibliography of periodical literature covering all fields of knowledge." It indexes periodical articles in all subject areas from around the world in German, French and English.
JSTOR is a project of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for development of a digital library in support of the arts and sciences on the World Wide Web. It will eventually consist of over one hundred journal titles in the areas of anthropology, asian studies, ecology, economics, education, finance, history, mathematics, philosophy, political science, population studies, and sociology and will already contains over two million journal page images. These journals are fully searchable. More information can be found at the About JSTOR site.
Periodicals Archive Online
An archive of digitized, full-image journal articles, international, scholarly literature in the humanities and social sciences disciplines from 1802 to 1995 with links to JSTOR enabled.
Periodicals Index Online
Periodicals Index Online is a database of millions of articles published in the arts, humanities and social sciences, across more than 300 years.
Project Muse
Project Muse provides online access to the full text of the Johns Hopkins University Press's 40+ scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics in a searchable database.
Social Science Full Text
Social Science Full Text is a bibliographic database that indexes and abstracts articles of at least one column in length from more than 415 English-language periodicals published in the United States and elsewhere plus the full text of selected periodicals. Coverage includes a wide range of interdisciplinary fields covered in a broad array of social sciences journals. Subjects covered include: addiction studies, anthropology, area studies, community health & medical care, corrections, criminal justice, criminology, economics, environmental studies, ethics, family studies, gender studies, geography, gerontology, international relations, law, minority studies, planning & public administration, policy sciences, political science, psychiatry, psychology, public welfare, social work, sociology, urban studies.
Web of Science
Web of Science comprises three databases: the Science Citation Index Expanded; the Social Sciences Citation Index; the Arts & Humanities Citation Index. Together, these three databases index more than 8,000 high quality, peer-reviewed journals cover-to-cover, providing users with complete bibliographic data, full-length author abstracts, and cited references.
Wilson Web
A collection of periodical indexing databases covering the Arts, Humanities, Sciences, and Social Sciences. You can search the databases separately, or use WilsonWeb's Check Relevant Databases feature at the bottom of the initial search screen to search across multiple databases simultaneously.

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This file last modified 9/15/09.
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