Contact Information
  • Librarian: Celestina Savonius-Wroth
  • Location: Herman B Wells Library E560
  • Phone: (812) 855-1336
Libraries & Subjects
last updated: 4/20/2010

Guide to the ATLA Religion Database

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This is a brief user's guide for the ATLA Religion Database. Online help is available from within the database; you should also feel free to contact the Librarian for Religious Studies (see the left sidebar for contact information) or the Reference Services Department ( for further assistance.
Basic Search

There are several different search modes.  The default is Boolean/Phrase: here, multiple words will be treated as a phrase. To find all your words, separate each word with AND; to find any of the words, use OR.  In Boolean mode you can also use parentheses: for example, ((environmental) OR (ecology)) AND (ethics).


The other search modes are "Find all my search terms" (which does not treat a string of words as a phrase); "Find any of my search terms" (equivalent to using OR in a Boolean search); and "SmartText searching" (which allows you to enter a large amount of text).


Use an asterisk (*) to truncate or as a wildcard for more than one character (religio*). Use a question mark (?) as a wildcard for one character (wom?n).


There are numerous ways to limit your search: you can select particular publication years, search a specific journal, or limit your search to book reviews, full text articles, or peer reviewed journals.

Advanced Search

Advanced Search allows you to combine multiple search terms, and specify where you want your terms to be found: you can search by Author, Title, ISSN, Place of Publication, Language, etc.


ATLA has indexes for each search field, which are controlled vocabularies to aid with disambiguation. At the top of the page, select "Indexes," and scroll down to the appropriate one.  This allows you, for example, to search for a particular scriptural citation (from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament), or browse possible subject headings ("Subjects").  When you locate an appropriate search term, click "Add" and it will appear in your search box.  These terms can be combined with one another, or with any search term you provide: just type AND after the term, followed by a word of your choice, or search again for another term.

Finding Book Reviews

In Basic or Advanced Search, check "Review" under Publication Type, then search by the title of the book.

Browsing full text journals

To browse a particular journal, select "Publications" from the top navigation bar.  You can search by journal title, or by subject and description.  When you select the jounral you're interested in, you will get a list on the right side of the page indicating which issues are available for browsing.


Search Results

Once you have a list of search results, you can sort and limit your search.  At the top of the list is the "Sort by" tab, which allows you to sort by author or title (alphabetical), publication date, or relevance.  On the right side of the page, you can limit your results by date or publication typle.


When you find a result you're interested in, click "Add to folder;" these results will be saved so you can come back to them later.  As soon as you add something to your folder, the option "folder view" will appear on the right.  Click here to print, e-mail, save, or export your citations.


Search History

All searches performed during a single session will be saved under "Search History."  This can be useful if you want to remind yourself of a search you've already done, or check if you've used a particular term before.


(page updated by Laura DeLancey, 2010)
last updated: 4/20/2010