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The Patrologia Latina Full-Text Database

On the Internet

The Patrologia Latina Full-Text Database includes the full 221 volumes of Jacques-Paul Migne's Patrologia Latina. This scholarly work, printed originally in the 1850's, contains the works of Christian Latin authors from AD 200 to AD 1216. Later commentaries on these works by other Latin authors has also been added, but the emphasis of the database is on the original medieval and late Roman writings.


The Patrologia Latina Database (PLD) on the Internet is located at and is accessible to anyone with a Yale IP address, that is, using a computer which is networked through the Yale University system. The PLD is also available on CD-ROM in the Electronic Text Center, SML 509. A comparison of the two versions can be viewed at

Searching Patrologia Latina

The online database has been divided into several different types of search engines. These include:

  1. Simple Searches: This search engine allows you to search for single word and phrase searches throughout the entire PLD. While it requires a tight specificity in your search terms, it provides a quick, simple result.
  2. Boolean Searches: This search engine uses Boolean operators like AND and NOT to locate combinations of two or three words in a given paragraph, verse, or section. This is a good search engine for a comparative search or a more in depth search.
  3. Proximity Searches: This search engine allows you to locate words or phrases near each other, to find, for instance, every time that "Augustine" and "Spiritus Sanctus" appear in the same paragraph. It allows for more distance between phrases than the Boolean searches do.
  4. Bibliography Searches: Identify works by author and title. If the author or title of the work is known, this may be the fastest way to locate it.

Browsing Patrologia Latina

The last link on the opening screen allows you to browse through the contents of the PLD database. Unfortunately, these contents are organized by volume number, so this link will be somewhat unhelpful if you do not know the specific volume you are looking for, since there are 221 of them.

Interpreting Results

 Once you choose the appropriate search engine, you will be allowed to enter your search terms and restrict the search by period, author, date, and type of source. By restricting your search, you make it more likely to find your specific term.

Once your search is entered, the results will be shown, organized by volume, not by priority or frequency. A brief quote revealing the context of your search term, known as a sententia, for each document will be shown. You can also view the full text of each of the documents which are shown on the results screen by clicking on the appropriate link; however, this will not show you the surrounding context of your search term, but rather the complete document, making it somewhat difficult to use.

Printing and Saving Results

To print or save a document, highlight a section of text and go to the File menu under Netscape. Use the Print and Save commands just as you would for a word processing document. However, more large-scale printing is not permitted due to copyright infringements.

For More Information:

Consult the on-line help, the user manual available at the Electronic Text Center, or ask an ETC staff member. Please be aware that the ETC also has the Patrologia Latina Database on CD-ROM, which we recommend for more complex, exhaustive searches. If you are unable to find what you are looking for online, you may wish to try the CD-ROM version.

© 2000 Yale University Library
E-mail questions to
Phone Reference (203) 432-1775/1780


© 2007 Yale University Library
This file last modified 07/16/01
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