Use these databases to find articles, books, and other literature on your topic.

Reference Databases

Use reference databases to find statistics, definitions, and general essays about your topic.


For print-only items, please use our library catalog to locate the suggested sources below.


Specialized Reference Works

Atlas of Religious Change in America, 1952-1990

Peter L. Halvorson. 1994

Maps and analyses of county-level data for American religious denominations from 1952-1990, drawn from “The Church Membership Studies”, are provided. The maps illustrate the percentage of church membership in each region as well as percentage of change in total membership over time.

Churches and Church Membership in the United States, 1990: an enumeration by region, state, and county, based on data reported for 133 church groupings

Martin B. Bradley et al., editors. 1992

This volume contains statistics for 133 Judeo-Christian churches or groups, providing information on the number of churches and members for regions, states, and counties in the United States. It consists of tables with an accompanying fold-out map illustrating which group predominates in each area. Appendices at the end of the volume provide information on the information gathering process, the situation with dual memberships, and on the churches themselves.

New Historical Atlas of Religion in America

Edwin S. Gaustad. 2001

This revised atlas contains color maps, charts and graphs focusing on major religious groups from the 1600s. There is some information on Native and African Americans. Essays include source information on individual traditions within each time period discussed. Indices of authors, titles, places, religious bodies, names and subjects, and a bibliography can be found at the end of the atlas.

Historical Atlas of the Religions of the World

Ismail R. Al-Faruqa. 1974

Illustrated essays introduce the history of the religions of the world while maps furnish insight into the developments of traditions over time and in space. It is divided into three parts: religions of the past; ethnic religions of the present (those religions localized to region of origin); and universal religions of the present. It includes an appendix of chronologies and an index. Essays are signed and most essays include a short bibliography.

Religious Bodies in the United States: a directory

J. Gordon Melton. 1992

These very brief descriptions, grouped by religion, include contact information and a list of religious periodicals associated with the tradition just discussed. An alphabetical index can be found at the end of the directory.

Biographical Sources

Dictionary of American Religious Biography

Henry W. Bowden. 1993

This source provides brief biographical sketches of religious persons from all chronological periods of American history and most denominations. Persons who were deceased as of 1992 are included. The appendixes list denominational affiliation and birthplace of the figures included in the work. A select bibliography of 85 books arranged by category and an index conclude the work.

Religious Leaders of America

J. Gordon Melton. 1991

This work provides biographical profiles of American and Canadian religious figures from 1865-present. This source attempts to be more inclusive than other biographical sources by providing profiles of black, female, and Native American religious leaders as well as non-Christian leaders in the United States and Canada. It does exclude missionaries and those whose primary work occurred outside North America. It includes an appendix of each leader’s religious affiliation and index.

Who’s Who of World Religions

John R. Hinnels. 1992

Short biographical sketches of people from formally established churches and new religious movements as well as historical figures from ancient religious traditions are provided. It includes maps, an index, and a bibliography.


America’s Alternative Religions

Timothy Miller. 1995

Seven major categories of alternate religions are discussed: established Christian alternatives; contemporary Christian and Jewish movements; religions from Asia; religions from the Middle East; African-American freedom movements; ancient Wisdom and New Age movements; and others (e.g., Scientology and Satanism). An overview of each tradition is presented, followed by a bibliography for further reading. The volume concludes with two appendices, alternative religions not covered in full and a chronology of alternative religions in America, and an index. Entries are signed.

Eerdman’s Handbook to the World’s Religions

R. Pierce Beaver. 1994

This work contains articles on the history and beliefs of religions around the world, and the study of religion. Entries are signed. A rapid fact-finder and an index can be found at the end of the volume.

Encyclopedia of African American Religions

Larry G. Murphy, J. Gordon Melton, Gary L. Ward, editors. 1993

This encyclopedia provides comprehensive coverage of African-American religious groups and leaders of the past and present as well as major issues in African-American religious life. Included is a chronology and directory of all religious groups/denominations which have entries in the encyclopedia. Cross-references are from biographical entries to church or religious tradition. A subject/organization/personal index concludes the volume.

Encyclopaedia of Religion

Mircea Eliade. 1987

This is the most complete and authoritative single encyclopedia on religion. Use the index volume (volume 16) to find all references to a topic.Entries are signed and suggestions for further reading follow each entry.

Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics

James Hastings. 1908-27

Containing articles on all world religions and great systems of ethics, this work provides comprehensive coverage. The material is dated as there have been no revisions since 1927. A list of cross-references is provided in volume 1 although cross-references are scattered throughout the set. Entries are signed and brief bibliographies follow some entries. The last volume is the index to the set.

Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience

Charles H. Lippy & Peter W. Williams, editors. 1988

This is a comprehensive study of all religious experience in North America although primary emphasis is given to developments in the United States. The three volumes are organized by topic or theme. Each essay is signed and is followed by a bibliography for further reading.

Encyclopedia of World Faith: an illustrated survey of the world’s living religions

Peter Bishop & Michael Darton. 1988

This encyclopedia provides a historical approach to major world religions of the East and West. It concludes with a bibliography for further reading, a glossary to assist with unfamiliar terminology, and an index.

History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: an encyclopedia

Gary B. Ferguson, editor. 2000

This encyclopedia provides a comprehensive survey of the historical relationship of the Western religious tradition to science from approximately the fifth century BCE to the late twentieth century CE. There are 103 signed articles divided into 10 major categories: (1) relationship of science and religion; (2) biographical studies; (3) intellectual foundations and philosophical backgrounds; (4) specific religious traditions and chronological periods; (5) astronomy and cosmology; (6) physical sciences; (7) earth sciences; (8) biological sciences; (9) medicine and psychology; and (10) occult sciences. Each essay includes a bibliography to assist the reader with further research. An index in included at the end of the volume.

New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge

Albert Hauck. 1908-1914

This thirteen volume set is primarily Christian in focus but includes articles on other religions and religious leaders. Entries are signed and longer entries have suggestions for further reading. The last volume contains the index to the set.

Sacred Texts of the World: A Universal Anthology

Ninian Smart & Richard D. Hecht. 1982

This is an illustrated collection of sacred narratives from ancient and contemporary religions, including worldwide religions and small sects. There is an index followed by a list of sources.

Wilson Chronology of the World’s Religions

David Levinson. 2000

This resource presents a thorough overview of the major events in the development and spread of religion around the world. Coverage begins with religion in prehistoric times (approximately 100,000 BCE) and ends in 2000 CE. Each entry lists and describes a specific events or series of events and the year they occurred. Each entry is assigned subject codes to indicate the topic covered in the entry as well as to assist the user with cross-references. The entries cover seven major themes in the prehistory and history of religion: (1) religion of the prehistoric world; (2) religion in the ancient world; (3) major world religions; (4) other modern religions; (5) religious sects and cults; (6) religious tolerance and intolerance; and (7) special topics including Native American religion, African-American religion, and others. There are approximately 250 information sidebars which describe all of the major and minor religions. There are an index and a bibliography provided at the end of the volume.


Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions

Abingdon Dictionary of Living Religions

Keith Crim. 1981

This guide provides information on the historical development,beliefs, and practices of currently practiced world religions. There are cross-references as well as charts, maps, and illustrations. Terms used are in both English and non-English languages. Entries are signed. There is a guide to major entries which will assist users seeking a broad overview of a tradition.

Continuum Dictionary of Religion

Michael Pye. 1994

Brief definitions of religious terms, descriptions of God, and basic explanations of contemporary and historical religions and sects worldwide are provided. Cross-references to related terms are included. The volume concludes with a bibliography, providing suggestions for further reading.

Guide to the Gods

Marjorie Leach. 1992

This guide provides a worldwide overview of deities, evaluated in terms of function and attribute. It covers all times and places and includes an extensive bibliography and detailed name index. References following each entry refer to the bibliography at the end of the volume.

HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion

Jonathan Z. Smith, editor. 1995

This is a comprehensive work on all of the world’s religions with concise entries and references to technical terms. It covers religions from every geographic area and time period.

Oxford Dictionary of World Religions

John Bowker, editor. 1997

This dictionary provides a general overview of Eastern and Western religious movements. There are cross-references and some entries are followed by suggestions for further reading. The volume concludes with an index of Chinese headwords, their Pinyin alternatives, and a topical index.


Black Women and Religion: a bibliography

Marilyn Richardson. 1980

These annotated entries on the role of black women in religious traditions cover music, art, literature and A-V materials as well as academic articles and books. An appendix providing biographical references and an index are located at the end of the volume.

Bulletin Signalétique 527: histoire et sciences des religieuses


This print resource indexes and abstracts most major religion journals, both in English and other languages. All of the abstracts are in French.

Church and State in America: a bibliographical guide

John F. Wilson. 1986

Volume 1: The Colonial and Early National Periods is located at Mugar Memorial Library and provides an overview of resources dealing with the church-state issue in American culture from the colonial period to the Civil War. Essays are followed by a listing of books, articles, primary sources, and critical bibliographies. (Volume 2: The Civil War to the Present Day is available in the Law Annex.)

Ethics Index

Theology CD-ROM 1990-1996.

This is an interdisciplinary index to journal articles and essays in ethics. Topics covered include religious and philosophical ethics, bioethics, law, and many other subject areas.

New Religious Movements in the United States and Canada: a critical assessment and annotated bibliography

Diane Choquette. 1985

This is an annotated, classified bibliography of English language monographs, serial literature, dissertations, and unpublished papers documenting new religious and human potential movements in North America published from 1960 to 1983. It includes author/title and subject indexes.

A Reader’s Guide to the Great Religions

Charles J. Adams. 1977

This bibliographic guide to book and journal literature focuses on the history and traditions of the world’s principal religions. Rather than an annotated list of sources, it includes descriptive essays signed by contributors to the volume. It includes author and subject indexes.

Religious and Theological Abstracts


Abstracts of articles presented in theological and religious journals from 1958 to the present.

Science of Religion: abstracts and index of recent articles


This is a bibliography of articles contributing to the academic study of religion, excluding Biblical studies. Abstracts are in English although many titles are in the original language of the work being discussed. Each volume contains author and subject indexes.

Social Science and the Cults: an annotated bibliography

John A. Saliba. 1990

This bibliography provides comprehensive coverage of materials that address new religious movements as well as literature on alternative and other groups cited by scholars in the field. Annotations are descriptive rather than critical. Indexes to authors, religious movements, and subjects are found at the end of the volume.

Sociology of Religion: an organizational bibliography

Anthony J. Blasi. 1990

This source includes studies of better and lesser known religious traditions in the world as well as new religions and cults that have emerged in contemporary societies. It highlights the presence of religious traditions and denominations in national, regional, and local contexts. Some entries are annotated. Author and subject indexes are located at the end of the volume.

Women in American Religious History: an annotated bibliography and guide to sources

Dorothy C. Bass. 1986

This comprehensive guide to the literature dealing with women in religion from colonial times to 1984 is divided into seven sections: general works, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, African-American Religions, Native American Religions, and Others. Entries are annotated. A general index is included at the end of the work.