A Word about Theological Journals Search

opens new windowTheological Journals Search (TJS) is a Google custom search engine (CSE) that targets over three thousand web pages, to retrieve full-text articles from some 500 open access journals and other periodicals related to religious studies, scripture studies, theology, pastoral and practical ministries, and cognate disciplines.

The initial impetus for creating this custom search engine in October 2006 was observing the proliferation of open-access, faith-related journals on the Web and perceiving the need for a way to search them all at once rather than one by one. At that time, several librarians including ATLA’s Margaret Tarpley, Dallas Baptist University’s John Yaeger, and the University of Calgary’s Saundra Lipton among others were compiling lists of open-access theological journals, trying to get a handle on all those OA titles that were multiplying so quickly (and still are). While it is important to have those free resources listed in a single place, it is inconvenient and really unfeasible to search each journal individually. TJS was created in an attempt to meet this need by allowing hundreds of these journals to be searched simultaneously, much like a database.

At that time DOAJ had already been created (2003) but, as I recall, it then had only a limited number of religion titles. Then I heard about Google's custom search engine, and the rest is history. TJS now searches 3,387 web sites but I've lost count of the precise number of journal and magazine titles. A low estimate would be 500. It may be as many as 750.

While the faith orientation of Oral Roberts University is Spirit-empowered Christianity, TJS includes periodicals that represent many perspectives including those of other religions. I believe, as the Christian Scriptures teach, that the Holy Spirit pours God's love into the hearts of believers (Rom. 5:5), enabling them to recognize the image of God in every human person and people group on earth (Gen. 1:27: Eph. 3:14,15), empowering them to love those whose faith commitments differ from their own, and prompting them to pray that others, as well as themselves, will receive greater enlightenment and come to a fuller knowledge of the truth (Eph. 1:17-19). Accordingly, it is my earnest desire that TJS will serve not only those who have "received the word of God with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11), but any who, like the Magi of old, seek the revelation of God that they may worship and live in faithfulness and truth.

As time permits, I continue to add new open-access titles as I become aware of them. Suggestions are always welcome! In addition to titles and URLs, please provide a description including subject and date coverage, ISSNs, indexing (if any), and type, e.g.,peer-reviewed. I also love to hear how TJS has helped the research of scholars, students, librarians, anyone who is seeking to better understand the truth, beauty, and goodness of God. Knowing that people continue to find TJS useful brings me great joy and motivates me to keep up dating it.

Sally Jo Shelton, Ph.D.
Theological Librarian, Retired