This guide is meant as starting point for searching literature on topics in the fields of religion and theology.
When searching for scientific literature, LibSearch, the VU library's search engine, is the first place to go. With LibSearch, you can search not only the (electronic) content of the VU library, but also that of many libraries worldwide. The search engine shows you which books and journals are in the VU library, and how you can access, consult, or request these materials. In the case of electronic access, a link to where the full text can be viewed or downloaded is provided. To search for literature on a specific topic, also check our LibGuide Smart and systematic literature searches.
Not all literature can be found with LibSearch. For example, not all individual articles from journals that have only appeared in print will turn up in LibSearch. Also, not all libraries are connected to LibSearch. We therefore recommend entering the same search terms in other search engines and bibliographic databases. The best-known search engine for scientific publications is Google Scholar. The advantages are that you can quickly see whether the full text is available online and that you can easily find related articles.
Below you will find a list of (subject-specific) bibliographic databases for which the VU has a license or which are Open Access. Before you start searching within a particular database, first check which literature is included. For example, some databases contain only articles or only publications in English. Also be aware that no database contains all literature and that all search engines and databases are human-made and therefore biased to greater or lesser extent. Combining databases therefore not only increases the chance of finding publications that are relevant, but also valuable and non-mainstream.
Reference works are a good starting point for your research. For instance, encyclopedias can help you to orientate yourself on a certain topic and find the most important terms, debates, and authors. They also contain a lot of potentially relevant references to (recent) literature and/or primary sources. The VU library has various (electronic) reference works, such as encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, and concordances. You will also find (electronic) editions, translations, and commentaries of (religious) texts.
The reference works for religion and theology can be found in the study room on the 10th floor of the mian building (B-wing, entrance via the 9th floor). The information on the bookshelves helps you to find a specific type of reference work (e.g. Bible translations) or works on a specific topic (e.g. ethics). NB: part of our collection of reference works is in the stackrooms and can be requested via LibSearch.
Below you will find some of the most important electronic reference works that are accessible through LibSearch or are Open Access. Some databases with primary sources are also included.
Below you will find a number of important journals for religion and theology that are electronically accessible via Libsearch or that are Open Access. The journals for theology and religion (general) derive from the list of top journals of the Louvain Index of Theology and Religious Studies for Journals and Series, to which we added journals that are specifically relevant for the research that is being done at the VU.
The VU library also still has many journals in print format. Note that indidivual articles from print journals not always appear in LibSearch. The most recent and current issues of journals are on display in the journals cabinet in the library on the 10th floor (B-wing, entrance via the 9th floor). Older print volumes are in the stackrooms; individual issues can be requested via LibSearch.
University Library of the Vrije Universiteit at Keizersgracht 162 (year unknown).
In the study room on the 10th floor of the main building (B-wing, entrance via the 9th floor) you will find books that have been recently acquired by the library for research and teaching at the Faculty or Religion and Theology. You can request these books via LibSearch or take them our for loan yourself by using the self-service station on the 9th floor. Most of the books, however, are in the stackrooms and have to be requested via the Place Hold (or Reserveren) button in LibSearch.
The VU library also has a collection of 80,000 early printed books and manuscripts. These can be requested via LibSearch and can partly be viewed online in our Imagebase.
Below you will find a number of websites where you can find digitized (older) books.
Gebedenboek of Van Hoff, c. 1520, VU library
Information about Off-campus access
We recommend that you install the Lean Library browser extension on your computer, which allows you to use automatically access digital content from the University Library and Open Access content to track your literature.
Read in How to get the PDF? how to find alternative versions of the publisher version of a magazine article.