Researching Journals

Keeping track of journals, and their online presence in particular, is a time-consuming task. However, there is no need to re-invent the wheel: there are websites that do a similar job already, so what I really want to do here is to provide links to those sites that try to keep track of journals in this field.

1 Links to Journals

a. Quite a few journals have some kind of online presence, though most of them require costly subscriptions if you want to read them. However, you will increasingly find a good number of journals that offer at least some content free of charge, so it is worth checking this out. I have put together a list of journals which offer free access to all or substantial parts of its print run, or journals that are exclusively available online, so you may wish to start with my list.

Also very useful is the list of journal resources put together by Saundra Lipton at the University of Calgary:

b. Most journals are not available online at present, or rather, they are not available without a costly subscription. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot get access to them at all. The website of Tyndale House at Cambridge offers a good list of well over 200 journals in theology and related disciplines: that is, journals which are available in their library, with links to their websites, where available. The Tyndale site is always worth checking.

Also very good is the list at ABTAPL:

General note: the fact that I mention these journals or websites here does not necessarily mean that I recommend them, or endorse them in any way. Of course, things change all the time, so if you are looking for an article in a particular journal and the list below or at Tyndale tells you that the particular volume / year / issue you are looking for is not available, that may have changed.

If a given journal is not available online, it is possible to pay Tyndale House to do a photocopy for you from their printed copies: that is, if they have the journal themselves. Their holdings are quite substantial, especially for biblical studies and for evangelical theology. They charge a small fee for this, of course, which is used to pay the Tyndale students who process your requests.

A general list for all sorts of online journals may be found at DOAJ and at Open J-Gate.

2 Searching for Relevant Journal Articles

The lists above are useful when you know of a potentially useful journal article. But what if you are trying to find a useful article in the first place? Increasingly, there are number of helpful free search tools available for this.

  • The Index Theologicus used to be a subscribers-only service, but is now freely available. It is based on journals housed at the University Library in Tübingen (Germany), comprising some 600 journals, special collections of articles, congress paper volumes, and so on. Don’t worry: the user interface is in English… The Index Theologicus does not find everything, of course: it is best to use it together with other search engines (see below).
  • Useful for searches in Biblical studies are the following three search engines (in each case, once again the user interface is English): BILDI (based in Innsbruck, Austria); BiBIL (based in Lausanne, Switzerland); and the google-based Biblical Studies Journals Search Engine (put together by the people at deinde). Finally, a shortcut for articles related to particular passages in the scriptures is the website The Text this Week:

Note that none of these search engines and databases are exhaustive / comprehensive.

3 Journal Abbreviations

If you come across a reference which sports an abbreviated journal title which you cannot work out, it is useful to try a list of journal abbreviations. There are a couple of websites that offer such lists:

Journal abbreviations are not really standardised, so you may find all kinds of variations. Anyway, this is a good place to start.

Print-based resources for this kind of information include:

  • Alexander, P H, J F Kutsko, J D Ernest, et al. (eds) 1999. The SBL Handbook of Style: For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers. [There is also a useful ‘student supplement’:]
  • Clines, D J A 1997. The Sheffield Manual for Authors & Editors in Biblical Studies. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.
  • Schwertner, S 1974. Internationales Abkürzungsverzeichnis für Theologie und Grenzgebiete / International Glossary of Abbreviations for Theology and Related Subjects / Index International des Abréviations pour la Théologie et Matières Affinissantes. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

I am not responsible for the content of external websites. The inclusion of a link on this site does not constitute an endorsement.