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Atlas for Alum: Home

Atlas for Alum

The Atlas for Alum database provides full-text access to 360+ journals in many diverse areas of religion and theology, with content in more than 20 languages from more than 35 different countries. Content includes articles, book reviews, essays, and more. Atlas for Alum is an EBSCO database, and 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 the basics.
  • Having trouble accessing Atlas for Alum from an off-campus location? Visit the Remote Access LibGuide, or call the library front desk for assistance at 412-924-1354.

Accessing Atlas for Alum


  • Alums have access to the Atlas for Alum 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 for Alum

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 for Alum Search Limiters

The Atlas for Alum 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.

Interlibrary Loan and Reference Librarian

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