Category Archives: Features

As Seen on Twitter: August 2018


The ATLA Twitter feed is filled with news on ATLA events and product updates as well as stories that have relevance to the work of libraries and librarians.

Here are some highlights from last month’s @YourATLA Twitter feed:

• With the fall semester about to start, how will you introduce new students to your library? @ALALibrary has tips for making an introduction video: “Pounce into the Spotlight with a Library Introduction Video”

Shedding Light on the Syriac Manuscript Collection of the Oriental Institute-Chicago at the 54th Annual Convention of the Syriac Orthodox Church

Submitted by Iskandar Bcheiry, ATLA Metadata Analyst

On July 28, 2018, I had the honor of being one of the keynote speakers at the 54th Annual Convention of the Syriac Orthodox Church in North America held in Tampa, Florida. I delivered a lecture about the Syriac manuscripts collection in the Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago, with focus on some unpublished historical fragments and documents which shed light on the history of Syriac Christianity. The Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II with a group of archbishops from North America, Middle East, and Europe was present at the annual convention and in attendance of the lecture.

Catholic News at your Fingertips

Submitted by Jennifer Younger, Executive Director, Catholic Research Resources Alliance and Director of the Hesburgh Libraries Emerita, University of Notre Dame

Digitization has made a vast body of historical newspapers instantly accessible to scholars and students on their desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. Yet, religious newspapers of all stripes are conspicuously under-represented in the familiar online newspaper full-text databases, which are comprised largely of municipal and trade newspapers. Publicly available digital collections of historic newspapers, such as Chronicling America and those in several states, as well as commercial subscription-based databases, contain but a smattering of religious papers, despite the fact that religious thinkers and places of worship have significantly influenced every aspect of American culture, for good and bad.

The Catholic News Archive is filling one part of the gap by making Catholic newspapers freely available online to all users. We invite you to search topics, people, or events of which you want to get more information. Let us know about your experience.  

Southeast Asia: Part 1 – Singapore

Submitted by Maria Stanton, ATLA Director of Production

Dr. Kelly Campbell, Associate Dean and Director of the John Bulow Campbell Library, Columbia Theological Seminary, and I had the honor of representing ATLA at the 2018 Forum for Asian Theological Librarians (ForATL) in Jakarta, Indonesia. Considering the distance Kelly and I would travel to attend the conference, we decided to include visits to academic libraries in the region, eventually settling in Singapore as the focus. In this report, I will highlight key takeaways from various meetings.

The SCOOP: The Continuing Conundrum of Copyright and Course Reserves

Submitted by Christine Fruin, ATLA Member Programs and Scholarly Communication Manager

As the fall semester dawns and faculty prepare for classes, libraries return to questions of policy and legality as they process incoming course reserve requests. Copyright issues related to the provision of materials in an educational setting, whether via interlibrary loan, coursepacks, electronic course reserves or course management systems, have been contentious for libraries for decades resulting in the development of overly restrictive guidelines and policies fueled by confusion and anxiety. Much of the confusion and anxiety that exists today is the product of the continuing litigation against Georgia State University, who was sued in 2008 by three academic publishers claiming copyright infringement resulting from the posting of book chapter scans in the University electronic course reserve system.

Jacques Ellul and the Bible

Jacques Ellul
Submitted by Ginny Landgraf, ATLA Indexer-Analyst

At the end of June, I attended the 2018 conference of the International Jacques Ellul Society, “Jacques Ellul and the Bible,” at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Jacques Ellul (1912-1994) was a polymath. His official job was as a professor of law and the history of institutions at the University of Bordeaux, and he was an active lay theologian in the French Reformed Church.

Although his textbooks on the history of institutions went through several editions in France, he is better known outside France for his pessimistic-sounding social critiques such as The Technological Society (French 1954, English 1964), which claim that the search for the most efficient means to a given end is crowding out the ends themselves.

As Seen on Twitter: July 2018

The ATLA Twitter feed is filled with news on ATLA events and product updates as well as stories that have relevance to the work of libraries and librarians.

Here are some highlights from last month’s @YourATLA Twitter feed:

A Quick Tour of Some Libraries in South Africa

South Africa
Submitted by Barnaby Hughes, CPLI Metadata Analyst

After dropping my bags off at the hotel, I ventured out to see the sights of Cape Town. First stop: the National Library of South Africa (NLSA). Google Maps pointed me toward a beautiful, domed Edwardian building (formerly belonging to the University of Good Hope). When I arrived, a model was being photographed on one side of the double staircase leading to the entrance. I soon discovered, however, that this was not the main building of the NLSA, but the Centre for the Book.

Testimony: Searching for Dead People: Using Genealogy Tools for Name Authority Work

Submitted by Christa Strickler, Assistant Professor of Library Science, Buswell Memorial Library, Wheaton College

My fascination with genealogy began when I was 15 years old. Every week I would ride my bike to the library to scour the Internet for names, dates, and biographical details that would make my family history come alive. When my dad bought me genealogy software that enabled me to enter my data, link it to source information, and run reports for data accuracy, I became a fanatic. If I had known at the time that the cataloging profession existed, I could have predicted my future career.

Notes from the Road: Member Visits in Minneapolis

Submitted by Roger Morales, ATLA Member Programs Librarian

At the beginning of June, I had the opportunity to attend the Minnesota Theological Library Association’s (MTLA) conference held on Friday, June 9, 2018. During my time in Minneapolis, I visited two Institutional members: North Central University and Bethlehem College and Seminary.

North Central University

My first visit was at T.J Jones library at North Central University named after Rev. Thomas James Jones (1896-1970). Originally from England, Rev. Jones joined the faculty at North Central in 1946. A highly-skilled teacher who valued reading and study, he donated a large portion of his personal library to help North Central start its first library collection, which now holds about 50,000 print volumes.