Digital Libraries

Purpose, Coverage and Scope
Digital libraries/repositories provide access to full-texts (books, journals, unpublished archives) and the true digital library will also give you access to other media (photographs, audio and video resources). The primary purpose of my short bibliography is to help folks on a lifelong journey of discipleship use high quality library resources available on the web for their Bible study; a secondary purpose is to support well-rounded discipleship, that is, daily practical Christian living, 24/7 Christianity, as I call it, with access beyond Bible study to scientific, medical, and creative arts research and literature. Digital Libraries for Discipleship or perhaps it should be Divine Digital Libraries! The word bibliotheca meant divine libraries after all initially!

Listed here are some of the open access digital libraries and selected other resources I use for my own study and research. You do have to register to use some of them but registration is free, often very simple and well worth it. Open access means available at no cost to the user, in other words, free but please be aware that digital libraries and open access repositories are very expensive; somebody is picking up the tab, so consider sending a donation if you find them useful. I have arranged the libraries in alphabetical order by name and given brief descriptions. There are two sections. The entries in section 1 are categorized as General (I've tried to indicate the major subject of the library or subjects I use it for), Christian, Bibles/Bible Study Tools. If a smart phone app is available I try to make a note of it. Section 2 is a list of Special resources (e.g. Digital libraries for Missions). There are specialized (usually downloadable) Bible software that call themselves digital libraries. I use one of them (Logos) but I have not included them here as they are not free and most are still specialized Bible study tools. Similarly, I have not yet included web resources for Hebrew or Greek word studies of the Bible (like the Blue Letter Bible where you can do a Strong's search, Hebrew and Greek word searches by English definitions and more). I am considering including a few such resources along with digital libraries in the areas of finance, law, etc.  I will probably reorganize this into a subject bibliography when I do so. If you find my bibliography useful or would like to suggest resources to add, please let me know. Thanks.

Section 1: General

Alexandria Digital Library - - A geo-referenced digital library and emerging geo-spatial digital archive. I use it to see the modern maps and satellite views of areas of Jesus' ministry, where the Gospel spread in the Apostolic age, etc. You can probably do same with Google but I worked as a researcher on this library briefly and Google Maps wasn't even being thought of then! (General, Earth Sciences) aka The Internet Archive - - Within you can search subsets of theological digital collections and Internet sites. I use two collections from here: Princeton Theological Seminary digital library + - Wayback Machine (old websites). See also Open Library (listed below). (General, Christian)

Bible Gateway - - This is not really a digital library but it is an easy and excellent resource for searching different versions of the Bible in English. Allt he standard translations and then some more are here in one place. An app is available for Iphone, Android, and Kindle Fire. (Bibles)

Cambridge University Digital Library - - This link is to the Christian Works collections from Cambridge University Library. A fantastic selection of 1000 years of documented church history, liturgy, and devotion, in manuscripts, codex and other forms such as Book of Hours, psalters, in Latin, Greek, English languages. Includes a full digital reprorduction of the the Codex Bezae (Greek + Latin New Testament)(Christian) 
Christian Classics Ethereal Library - - Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI (Computer Science department) maintains this excellent resource. This was the first theological digital library I began to use (2006) and it has grown from what was essentially just a collection of Christian classics and reference books to a full-fledged digital library. Now, you can search within the full-text books. Even more importantly, you can search by passage, definition and also in Scripture. A single search box with passage and a pull-down menu with choices will retrieve from the Bible and from a choice of commentaries, hymns, sermons, or other resources; for example, you can see the sermons on Galatians 1. Using the definition search and entering the word "church" retrieves definitions from Matthew Easton as well as William Smith's Bible Dictionaries as well as Scripture (where the word church occurs) as you can see here  (Christian)

Digital Public Library of America - - I love this library for the wealth of information it contains about American churches (local history) especially. Apps are available. I have not tried any but they totally intrigue me as they seem quite innovative. DPLA was only recently launched in April. I've yet to learn about it. Watch for a special post. There's no way I can summarize it all here.  (General, Local Church History - United States of America)

Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism - - This is a full-text articles database and it has multi-lingual resources (English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Indonesian, Portuguese). I find it a decent source for articles on World Christianity and also whats happening ecumenically. For example, Globe Ethics Foundation's discussion paper on digital Ethics submitted to the World Summit for Information Society +10 Process (May 2013). (Ethics, Religion, Christian)

HathiTrust Digital Library - - Not everything in this library is full-text. You will also find it much easier if you apply and get yourself the U-M Friends login (very simple process that takes only a minute or two). The HathiTrust is a consortium of major research universities in the US who had the copyright-free books (I'm being liberal here) in their collections scanned and digitized and have now made it available through this. Good resources for older academic theological books. (General, All subjects)

National Science Digital Library - - The big reason this library is included here is because in the early years of its life with NSF I was the chair of the NSDL Evaluation and Educational Impact standing committee. How could I not add it? :). Educational resources contributed and created for teaching science, all levels. Good resource for understanding scientific concepts but use with care and attention. The resources have been contributed by educators and researchers from all over the US and sometimes, the links are items for purchase. (General, Science and Science Education)

Open Library - This is same as Internet Archive (mentioned above). I love this site. A lot of classics. They claim to have over a million books. You can add a book if you don't find it listed but you must be logged in to do this. Its a slightly longer process to set yourself up with an account but I find its worth doing it. I tend to use CCEL (listed above) for Christian Classics of which I'm aware and Internet Archive/Open Library for all others, in Christianity and in Literature and other fields in general. (General, All subjects)

Perseus - - This is a Greek and Latin classics and humanities digital library. I rend to use their Art and Archeology Artifacts Browser/Collection. For example to see the site of Corinth.(Humanities, Classics)

Princeton's Theological Commons - - This is where I read books of sermons, biographies of early and modern church folk, Christian martyrs, etc. Princeton created this with also known as Internet Archive (mentioned above). There's about 76,000 books of which 26,000 are from Princeton Seminary Library. Subjects range from Bibles, Church History, Philosophy, Catholicism, with the majority being Protestant (Christian)

PubMed and PubMed Central - and - These are places I go for life sciences, scholarly research on medical issues and in-depth health information. PubMed Central is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. PubMed is also free and includes citations; PubMed Central provides full-text. (Life Sciences, Bio-Medical, Health)

Religion Online - - Offers ~ 6000 full-text article for free from recognized religion scholars. Not all are Protestant Christian and includes Jewish, Catholic, Scientology and more. Use it with a bit of care. For example, they list several articles under the category Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but most are about him and only one, the poem Who am I? is by him. (General, Religion)

Section 2: Special Digital Library Projects, Initiatives, Societies and Websites

American Theological Library Association List of Cataloged Web Sites - - its a bit old (cataloged in 2005-2008) but still useful if you want to know the theological digital library and other electronic collections initiatives

Biblical  Studies - - Lots of free theological article, bibliographies for pastors and seminary students, and rare and out-of-print theological books. Again, use with care as sometimes they just point you to the publisher site for paid access.

Digital Bible Society - - Offers free online Bibles in many different languages: Arabic, Bengali, English, French, Greek, Hebrew, Indonesian, Malay, Russian, Spanish, Telugu, Turkish, Urdu, and Vietnamese. Their "Treasures Libraries" for sale includes precious other resources in each language. See Vietnamese Treasures as an example.

Free Theological Journals Google Custom Search -

History of Missiology from Boston University School of Theology -

International Mission Photography Archive from University of Southern California's Digital Library -

John Howard Yoder Digital Library from the Palni Collections of the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary Library (Elkhart, Indiana), Goshen College's Mennonite Historical Library (Goshen, Indiana), and the Mennonite Church USA Archives (Goshen, Indiana) - - Resources here on Third World and Missions such as this recent audio on The Power and Powerlessness of the Church an address at the 1982 World Mission Institute. Yoder is a Mennonite theologian best known for his defense of pacifism and this library holds his unpublished writings and other media.

My Utmost for his Highest. - - Oswald Chambers' daily devotionals, a classic text devotional for 365 days of the year has its own website. (Devotional, single author)

Online Reference Works - Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion - - Reference works points to classics and other resources such as Perseus Digital Library and more.

Online Texts - Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion - - This is a good resource which points to other resources on topics such as Anglican history (Fulcrum), Tertullian's writings (CCEL), postmodern Christianity (Web), etc.

Oxford Text Archive - - This is the one of the earliest and still a premier electronic text archive for linguistic and literary resources (English, some Greek). Some resources are restricted and you must apply for approval before you can get them.

Princeton's Digital Library Initiatives - - Two collections are of interest. Princeton Lectures on Youth, Church and Culture by well-known scholars such as Dorothy Bass, Jurgen Moltmann and many more are available as pdf files or can be read online and the Abraham Kuyper Digital Library collections.

Zotero - - This is a research tool, a personal research assistant, software that you download and install on your computer. It is not a digital library. I figured that if you browsed this list all the way to the end you deserve a special reward. Zotero is similar to bibliographic and reference management software like Pro-Cite and RefWorks. It lets you collect, organize, cite and share your research resources easily.

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