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RELI 206: The Bible in the ANE: Helpful Databases

Spring 2023 | Starbuck


How to find Foley's Databases:

First, you'll want to navigate to the Foley Library homepage. From there, you'll  look for the tile called Databases underneath the main search bar. If you are off-campus, make sure you sign into your library account so you can access the online resources.


You will then end up on a page that looks like the image below. This page is a directory of every single database the library subscribes to. Use the search bar to navigate to the one you want to search. If you're not sure, use the list below to help you get started.


Try These Out:

  • ATLA Religion Index
  • Old Testament Abstracts
  • Humanities Abstracts
  • Religion and Philosophy Collection
  • Historical Abstracts

Use these tools

Quotation Marks (" ")

Enclosing a search in quotation marks will give you exactly those words in exactly that order.

Example: "the messiah" rather than just "messiah"

Asterisk (*)

An asterisk tells the database to fill in any letters where the asterisk is. It's useful for expanding a search to include variations on a word. This is useful because an author might be talking about the concept we are looking for in an article, but might not have used the exact word we searched for.

Example: if I want to find something about libraries or librarians, I would search for librar*. This will pull up library, libraries, librarian, librariansand librarianship. 



Also known as boolean operators. Most databases have facets for you to select specific operators, but you can also type them into the search bar in all-caps and the database will understand.

By default, databases run a search with the AND operator. If you do not specify, the database will assume all your search words are connected by an invisible AND. This gives you narrower results.


Example: I want to search for articles with both of the words Yehud Sheshbazzar.

I can expand my search by adding an OR between them:  Yehud OR Sheshbazzar. This will pull up any article that mentions either word: a bigger set of results for more recall.

The operator NOT does just what it sounds like; it excludes any articles that mention that word. For instance, Yehud NOT Qibya will search for any articles that have the word Yehud in them, but exclude any that also have the word Qibya, which is useful to get rid of results talking about a 1953 incident involving the modern Yehud settlement and the Arab town of Qibya.

Subject Headings!

See the next tab up top. :)


Think around your search question

Sometimes, the words that you think should be a good match for your topic do not yeild many results in the database, or bring the wrong results. In these cases you might need to get a little creative to find ways to get at the information you need.

For example, Yehud is a difficult search term. It's only come to be commonly used by scholars in the last fifteen years, so there are not many results when searching for this word. Previously, scholars used the word Judah. We could try that instead, but then we get results that are about Judah the son of Jacob, Judah the tribe, and Judah the kingdom in the wrong time period.

To get around this problem, we need to think what Yehud really is, and try to narrow searches that get us to that time and place. Yehud is the kingdom of Judah after 550 BCE, during Persian rule. So we could add the word Persia* to our search (the asterisk means the search pulls up variations on the word, like "Persia," "Persian," and "Persians"). Or we could try searching for a historical figure that we know is associated with the time and place, like Sheshbazzar or Ezra ben Seraiah or Nehemiah. Being creative in searches in this manner can surface hidden gold!

It's always frustrating to find a great article in a database only to learn that there's no full text. But the good news is, we can still get you the article! You can order it through interlibrary loan for free, and you get a PDF version sent to you very quickly: within two business days.

Our interlibrary loan system is called ILLiad. That's a great name — it always feels epic when I use it:

Picture of Achilles riding in triumph, holding up a book and saying, "I have the article!"

First, you'll need to create a free ILLiad account. Do this by going here and clicking "First Time Users Click Here."

There are two ways to order an article using ILLiad. The first is to click on Check Gonzaga Libraries for Full Text Options for a citation in a database:

Example picture

If we don't have the article in any other database, you'll see a link to request the article via interlibrary loan:

Example picture

Click there and you will be taken to the sign-in page for ILLiad. Once you sign it, the system pre-fills a form with all the information needed to order that article!

Example picture

Magic! All you have to do is click Submit Request Button. Our interlibrary loan librarians will get busy finding a library that owns the journal. Librarians from that library will scan the article and upload it directly to your ILLiad account! You will be notified when it comes in. It usually takes about two days. (Make sure you download articles to your computer when they come in: they eventually expire from ILLiad.) (Oh, and even though the name of the service is interlibrary loan, you don't need to return the articles. They're yours to keep. Books, on the other hand, do need to be returned . . . but you knew that already.)

The other way to order an article is not quite as magical, but still effective: just login to ILLiad from, click New Request --> Article, and fill out the form manually.

We can get most articles that are requested this way, and we encourage you to order articles with ILLiad if we don't have them! It's seamless and free to you. Don't let that perfect article get away!