Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

AIM Library Orientation: Articles & Databases

Journal Articles - PTS Databases

The Barbour Library's databases will be your primary source for electronic scholarly articles, and through indexing can also assist you in finding relevant print materials.

Accessing the Databases 

Searching the Databases

  • Visit the Finding Articles LibGuide for introductory instructions on navigating our various databases.
  • Check out the Using the ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials Plus guide for more detailed instruction on using the ATLAS database. This database is a massive theological resource and the one you will likely find yourself using with the most frequency during your seminary studies. It also has specific tools for searching that are very helpful when doing biblical studies research.

Searching EBSCO Databases

EBSCO Databases

These screen captures are from the ATLA Religion Database with AtlaSerials PLUS (aka ATLAS), which runs on the EBSCO platform. The main components of the search screen are the same across all of the EBSCO databases PTS subscribes to (Academic Search Premier is another example), and you can cross-search multiple databases simultaneously through the EBSCO Databases (all) link on the library's Articles and Databases page. 

Search Fields

As you can see in the screen capture below, the basic search screen allows you to search up to three combinations of fields at a given time.

The 'Select a Field' dropdown boxes allow you to choose the search field for the term you've entered from a variety of options such as All Text (which functions like a keyword search through the full text of documents), Title, Author, Language, Subjects, etc. If the user doesn't make a suggestion, the 'Select a Field' default is a keyword search of the  author, subject, keywords, title (including source title) and abstract of documents in the database rather than the full text. This allows the user the flexibility to enter a single word and begin keyword searching, or refine their search through specific and narrow combinations, as illustrated below.

The search above cross-searches for materials that have Karl Barth identified as a named subject, doctrinal theology identified as a subject, and the word "ethic' anywhere in the text of the document. It brought back 40 results.

*A note on Subjects: Like the Barbour library's online catalog, EBSCO uses Library of Congress Subject Headings (supplemented with some subjects they have created), but unlike our catalog, one does not have to know the exact wording of a Subject Heading to perform a Subject Search. As an example, if a Subject search was done with only the word "doctrinal", EBSCO will return all materials tagged Theology, Doctrinal. EBSCO item records also frequently include numerous Subject Heading hyperlinks that can be used to perform Subject searches or inspire relevant search terms.

The dropdown boxes on the left-hand side of the basic search screen allow you to change the Boolean operations of a search. If you're interested in more information about Boolean Searches, here's a video explainer. As a much quicker explanation, we'll use the search below as an example:

The traditional "AND" search of the terms above looks for materials with Theology, Doctrinal identified as the Subject and performs the default keyword search for documents that address ethics AND morality. It returns 6 results. However, by changing the Boolean operator to OR as illustrated, the search brings back any materials with Theology, Doctrinal as the Subject and either ethics or morality found in the default keyword search. That search returns 6623 results, and could be useful in the research process since the concepts of ethics and morality are closely related.

Access Options in Databases

Full Text Online Items

Items in the databases that are available in full text can generally be downloaded as PDFs, and can be read online in their entirety. The availability of full text is indicated in the result list by the PDF Full Text icon circled below.

If you are doing searching off campus or at hours the library is not open, you may only want to see Full Text Available items in your searching. You can use the limiter on the left side of the Result List to see only those digitally available items.

  When limiting your results to Full Text, you may also see the green Full Text Finder icon shown below. This occurs when the library has a subscription to the journal indicated, but not through the database. Using the Full Text Finder link will take you to the library catalog record for the journal, which should contain a link to the journal online.




Print Journals

Articles indexed in the databases include journals that we have only in print, or older volumes of journals that have not yet been digitized. If an item in the result list says PTS owns this title and has a Check Holdings in the Barbour Library link as well as a green Full Text Finder link, it is only available in print in the library. Either link will take you to the library record for the journal title, which will provide additional information you may need, like what volumes or years we have in the library. At this time we cannot allow access to the print journal collection, but are investigating COVID adjusted delivery options


Titles Not Owned by PTS

You may find relevant materials indexed in the databases that we don't own or subscribe to at PTS. Those items can be identified by a result record that states "Notes: ILL for items not held by PTS" and does not have other access options, like the item pictured below. If you are interested in such an item, it may possibly be obtained through Interlibrary Loan. Contact to submit an Interlibrary Loan request or for more information.