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ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials Plus: Home

Introductory instruction on using the ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials Plus to find relevant articles on theological topics and scripture passages.

ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials Plus ("ATLAS")

The ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials Plus ("ATLAS") is a database that combines the largest online collection of major theological journals (over 400 titles) with a broad index of other religion publications (articles, book reviews, essays, and more). The online materials are available in full-text, but many of the indexed materials are not. It will likely be the database you use the most in your time as a seminary student. ATLAS is an Ebsco database like a number of our other databases, but it has some navigational tools specific to theological study that we are going to explore in this guide.

  • Not sure what a database is or how to use one? Visit the Finding Articles LibGuide for a basic explainer.
  • Having trouble accessing ATLAS from an off-campus location? Visit the Remote Access LibGuide, or call the library front desk for assistance at 412-924-1354.

Accessing ATLAS

  • From the library homepage, choose the Articles and Databases link under RESEARCH.
  • You will find all of the library databases listed in alphabetical order. The ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials Plus is the 4th database listed (not to be confused with the ATLA Historical Monographs Collection). The orange link will take you to the database via the proxy server, which will require your last name and library barcode if you are not on the campus computer network.
  • If you are off campus and experience access issues, see Remote Access: Library Account & Databases for further assistance.
  • If you are a PTS alum having trouble accessing ATLAS via the Articles & Databases page, that is the incorrect entry point for ATLAS for Alums. Alums have access to the ATLAS Database through the Alumnae/i link on the PTS homepage. A PTS account is required. If you do not have a PTS account, fill out the PTS Account Signup Form.

Searching ATLAS

EBSCO Databases

The ATLAS database runs on the EBSCO platform. That means the main components of the search screen looks the same as all of the other EBSCO databases PTS subscribes to (Academic Search Premier is an 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, ATLAS 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", ATLAS will return all materials tagged Theology, Doctrinal. ATLAS 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.

ATLAS Search Limiters

The ATLAS database provides a number of limiter tools that you can use during or after your search to further narrow the results to the most relevant and accessible materials. If you wish to use limiters during your initial search, they can be found at the bottom of the Basic Search screen.

If you choose to use them after you initial search to filter and refine your results, they can be found on the left-hand side of the page.

  • The Full Text limiter is handy if you are not on campus and want to see only digitally available materials.
  • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals eliminates any non-scholarly items, like articles from newspapers or trade journals, from your result set, and is a stipulation often required by professors.
  • Source Type or Publication Type allows you to limit to ONLY the type of material you are looking for, which can be handy if you're getting a lot of book reviews or books in your results when you want journal articles only.
  • Publication Date or Year Published allows you to narrow the results to a publication timeframe appropriate for your topic. If you're looking at current pastoral counseling practices, for instance, you won't want articles from the 90s.
  • You may also choose to limit by Language as you likely don't want results you can't read.

Research and Instruction Librarian

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Mark Russell
Barbour Library
616 N. Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
(412) 924-1393


This guide was created by Alyson Pope.