Monday, July 23, 2007

Online academic research in biblical studies

I've commended David Instone-Brewer's Tyndale Tech Emails in the past, and the January 2007 issue has some helpful guides to doing online academic research. I want to highlight a few things and add some additional information.

  • Note the suggestion about customizing search boxes, something that can be done in both IE7 and Firefox. I find that I use this feature regularly.
  • The Tyndale House Library Catalogue (TynCat) is extremely useful. Searches return hits that are linked to bibliographical data and price comparisons, but you also get further linking to indications whether the publication is available online (using Amazon or Google) and links to reviews. Note that you can also 'browse' nearby books in the library based on your hits. (This is one of the things I like to do in a physical library.)
  • He commends the Index Theologicus at Tübingen, and I concur, but biblical scholars should especially note the Scriptural Reference page. It a great help for finding articles on a specific verse.
  • The SBL Forum has featured a couple articles on using Google Books and other online tools for scholars. I've previously commented on this latter article and provided a couple extra suggestions.
  • TynCat noted above does a nice job of comparing prices for books, but if you use Firefox, I really recommend the "Book Burro" addin. If you are looking for a book (at Amazon, Abebooks, Alibris, etc...), it 'senses' the book and provides a transparent little bar at the top like this:
If you click on
the bar, it opens up and looks like this:Not only does it do comparative pricing (user-customizable list of places to look), but you will note that I have also customized the addin to my location, and it searches WorldCat libraries and let's me know which libraries and how far away they are that have the book.

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