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TH 401 - Mariology Seminar

A.  Introduction

This is a guide to selected sources of information related to the TH401H Mariology Seminar course, Spring 2009. Due to the depth of our collection on this topic as well as the variety of topics and subject areas you are able to pursue in this course, this guide is only meant to be a starting point for your research. For further research assistance, please contact the Theology Liaison Librarian.


B.  Research Basics

The reference librarians have created a group of Web pages named Research Help to help teach you the basics of library research and to introduce you to Geisel Library. On the Research Help pages, you will find a guide on Research Basics and a helpful guide on evaluating Web resources titled, our guide on Evaluating Websites.  Please take advantage of these resources.


C.  Reference Sources for Background Information

Reference books are shelved by Library of Congress call number in the reference stacks near the reference desk. They cannot be checked out, but photocopiers are available on the lower level of the Library. Online reference sources can be found in the library catalog, but most of the best for this course are listed directly below.

Reference Databases ONLINE:

New Catholic Encyclopedia 2nd Edition — online
     Ref BX841 .N44 2003 (print version)

OXFORD RefERENCE ONLINE, subject category: Religion and Philosophy: example encyclopedias this will search: Christian Church, Middle Ages, Saints, People of the Bible, Popes, World Religions, and etc.

Encyclopedia of Religion — onlinepossibly useful beyond Catholicism. For example, search: "Mother of God" or "Virgin Mary". This encyclopedia encompasses theoretical, practical, and sociological perspectives on religion, including cross-cultural looks at different religious traditions.
     Ref BL31 .E46 (print version, 15 vols.)

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy — online
More than 2,000 articles from the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy are now available online, making this an excellent source of background information for research in philosophy and related fields. The editors periodically add new entries written by leading scholars and also provide links to other sites and resources on the web, as well as updates of key entries. HINT: use "advance search", not basic. Example terms: "virgin mary", "immaculate conception", "virgin birth", names of philosophers, etc.

Reference Materials in PAPER:

Theotokos: a theological encyclopedia of the Blessed Virgin Mary
     Ref BT602.O23 1982

New Interpreter's Bible... scholarly articles, commentaries, reflections on each book of the Bible
     Ref BS491.2.N484 1994 (12 volumes) ... near other commentaries also

The Anchor Bible Dictionary
     Ref BS440.A54 1992

Encyclopedias on Catholicism - in paper
     Ref BX841

Catholic Catechism, 1994, + Companion, + Commentary
     Ref BX1959.3

The Encyclopedia of Christianity
     Ref BR95.E8913 1999

The Encyclopedia of Protestantism
     Ref BX4811.3.E53 2004 (4 volumes) and more in this area


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Search Tips

To search the library catalogs and databases highlighted in this guide you will need to use Boolean operators (ANDs and ORs), truncation, and quotation marks to pull up books and articles on your topic. Here is a brief overview of how to use Boolean operators and truncation:

  • AND - use AND to link together search topics (Plato AND aesthetics)
  • OR - use OR to link together synonyms or like concepts (analysis OR interpretation)
  • * - use truncation to pull up the root of a word with variant endings (Type art* to pull up items with the words art, arts, artist, artists, etc.)
  • Quotation marks - When performing keyword searches use quotation marks to search for your keywords as an exact phrase (Type "Art as Experience" to look for the exact title and/or phrase of: Art as Experience. If you do not enclose your phrase with quotes the database will look for the terms Art and Experience as separate words throughout the entire record)

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D.  Subject Heading and Keyword Searching

There are two main ways to search the library catalogs and databases, by subject heading and by keyword. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, it is important therefore to know the best time to use each method.

Subject Headings

Subject headings are keywords that are assigned to books and articles that capture the item's key subject matter and themes. Use subject headings to look for materials on broad concepts in general. Since the method of searching by subject heading will vary depending on what catalog or database you are using, please contact the Theology Liaison Librarian if you need extra assistance in using the subject heading search functions. Some Mariology related subject headings are suggested below in the next section.

Keyword Searches

Keyword Searches work best if you are researching a narrow concept for example, examining how the sacrament of marriage is approached by various theologians. Keyword searches will look for your search term(s) in the citation, subject headings, abstract, and chapter titles (if available).

Examples of possible keyword searches relevant to Christian Marriage might include:

  • mariology
  • "virgin mary" AND art
  •  "marian apparition" OR fatima OR lourdes
  • "Hail Mary" OR rosary
  • wedding AND cana AND (bible or gospel)
  • ("immaculate conception" or assumption) AND (dogma OR doctrine)
  • (gospel or testament) AND (proto or apocryphal)
  • Luke AND (commentaries or interpretation) AND mary

Other Search Terms - Remember Synonyms...

  • "virgin mary" OR "saint mary" OR madonna OR "mother of jesus" etc.
  • christ OR christian OR christianity OR bible OR biblical
  • catholic OR church

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E.  Find Books/Secondary Sources

First, see what Professor Sullivan has placed on Library Course RESERVES for you. You can borrow these items for up to two hours at a time, at the Library Circulation/Reserves desk, on your left after entering the Library.

Geisel Library Catalog — online
The first step when looking for books is to search the Geisel Library Catalog. Remember that you can search by keyword or by subject heading.

Depending on your exact topic, this course lends itself to specialized Subject Heading searching. For example:

HOT TIP also!!! Go browse the book shelves, on the main floor, and find call number BT590 up to BT675, in the General Collection. This is a large section of Mariology-related books! (though many other titles can be found elsewhere also.)

WorldCat — online
If you searched the Geisel Library Catalog above but could not locate a book on your topic try searching WorldCat, a database that allows you to search the collections of libraries throughout the United States. WorldCat uses the same Keywords and Subject Headings as our Geisel catalog.

If you find a book that you want you can request it through interlibrary loan (ILL) by clicking on the Request ILL icon below the book's citation information. Please be aware that items requested through WorldCat can take a week to two weeks to be delivered, it is important therefore to request books through WorldCat early in the research process.

Consider Limiting your Search: WorldCat contains 100 million publications! While inputting seardch terms, also consider limiting your search to: English language, Books, Not Juvenile, Not Fiction, and after a certain date.


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F.  Find Journal Articles

The following databases will help you locate scholarly research in the field of theology. When examining your search results you may come across the WebBridge icon. This icon means that the full text is not available in the database you are currently searching. To locate the full text, simply click on the icon to determine whether the journal is available in Geisel Library or in another electronic database. If the article isn't available, click on the Interlibrary Loan link to request a PDF copy of the article from another library. Articles requested via ILL will be delivered to your college email address in approximately 3-7 business days. To learn how to use WebBridge, please watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins; includes audio).

Databases especially for Theology / Mariology

Tips to keep in mind:

  • Review citations for Relevance to your topic!
  • After connecting to an Ebsco database below (#1-4), you can search multiple databases together by using the Choose Databases >> link, and checking off any of the following four, or others.
  • See the Scriptures pull-down menu, for focusing on articles discussing very specific scripture chapter/verses.
  • Refine results to articles in English only, if helpful
  • Add your extra Topic terms as needed - remember synonyms!
  • Caution: some of these citations lack Abstracts (summary paragraphs)
  • Caution: "Journal Articles" limit will exclude Church and Papal documents!
  • Books too: these databases contain some Books also
  • Footnotes/Bibliography: email, save, or export citations in MLA style!
  • Use Ebsco's "Add to Folder" button to export a batch of citations

1.  Catholic Periodical & Literature Index — online, Ebsco
CPLI provides indexing to periodicals, books, newspapers, and papal documents dealing expressly with a practice of Catholic faith and lifestyle.

Databases especially for Scripture Themes and Citations

2.  Religion Database (ATLA) — online, Ebsco
Compiled by the American Theological Library Association, this database covers all religious traditions; strongest coverage is for materials dealing with the Judeo-Christian tradition. Caveat: these citations usually lack abstracts / summaries.

3.  Old Testament Abstracts — online, Ebsco
Thousands of article and book abstracts and citations related to Old Testament scholarship are available in this database, a product from ATLA and the Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Topics include antiquities, archaeology, biblical theology, and philology. Some linked full-text articles are available. The alphabetical list of scriptural citations included in this database allows you to narrow your search to articles pertaining to specific sections of the Old Testament. 1978-present)

4.  New Testament Abstracts — online, Ebsco
Thousands of article and book abstracts and citations related to New Testament scholarship are available in this database, a product from ATLA and the Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Some linked full-text articles are available. Try searching the Scriptures database, which allows you to narrow your search to writing pertaining to specific sections of the New Testament. (1985-present) 

5.  Religious and Theological Abstracts — online
Search here for scripture citations and summaries of articles appearing in scholarly religion and theology journals from around the world-Christian, Jewish, and other world religions are covered. Abstracts have been classified as Biblical, Theological, Historical, and Practical. (1958-present)

If you have trouble.... you might also try CrossSearch to find articles from JSTOR and Project MUSE databases:

Click HERE to search #6 & 7 below together. You must checkmark both databases by name. These databases are less theologically oriented, but they may still help. At results, click on article titles for fulltext. Failing that, WebBridge will facilitate InterLibrary Loan requests, especially for MUSE citations. You will do a title search by default - change the dropdown to expand your search to keyword.

6.  Project MUSE
This database offers all full-text articles from over 300 peer-reviewed journals; subjects include humanities, arts, medicine, mathematics, social sciences, and more.

Search here for full-text articles from major journals in the humanities and social sciences, including Annual Review of Sociology, Nineteenth-Century Literature, Philosophical Quarterly, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Coverage is generally from the beginning of publication to within 5 years of the current issue. Geisel Library subscribes to five JSTOR collections.


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G.  Selected Mariology-related Internet Resources

Searching the Internet can yield a vast amount of information, but in terms of quality and reliability, your results may be uneven at best. The ease and speed with which individuals can publish information on the web, regardless of accuracy or quality makes it imperative that when doing research on the web you know how to evaluate the information you find.

You may need pre-approval by Prof. Sullivan to cite these:

Catechism of the Catholic Church — Vatican Archives; Index page
A link to the index of the online Catechsim. Use Ctrl + F to search for sections discussing "Mary" etc. Nearby links to the more concise "Compendium" version also.

Catechism - alternate link — from U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops site

Documents of the Vatican II Council — Vatican Archives
A link to the online versions of Constitutions, Declarations and Decress of the Council.

"Mary, the Mother of Jesus" - EWTN Faith Teaching webpage — Mary Menu:
Popular Catholic website coverage of Mary-related doctrines, apologetics, devotion, and Church documents excerpts.


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H.  Citing Sources

See the library's Citing Sources guide for resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


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I.  ARTstor for Marian Art Work Images

Connect to ARTstor to access a half-million images and related text. These images can be printed for use in your paper, or included in PowerPoint demonstrations. Ask a Reference Librarian if you require assistance using ARTstor.

Search examples: "Virgin Mary", "Madonna", "Immaculate Conception", "Presentation of Mary", "Annunciation", "Visitation", "Nativity", "Wedding at Cana", "Assumption", "Coronation", etc.


Advanced Search allows limiting to Formats (paintings etc), Geography, Era...

You can view search results in larger view - recommended

On viewing each image: Zoom in and out, Move zoomed areas, and Rotate images...

Save an image to local PC: saves as full or zoomed-view portion

Or, save images to an ArtStor folder - if you create an account first


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