Religion Subject Guide - Library & Learning Resources - City College of San Francisco Go to the CCSF library's main page Find Books using the library's Catalog Find Articles in periodical & reference databases Search the web Library information, frequently asked questions Go to main CCSF web page

Finding Books

Reserve Books

Subject Headings

Reference Sources

Finding Articles

Web Resources

Evaluating Sources

Citing Sources

Additional Help

Religion Subject Guide

Subject guides are designed to help students begin the research process, find reputable sources, and save time.

Searching the Library Catalog for Books & Other Materials

To locate books and other materials in CCSF Libraries, select the Library Catalog from the Library's Homepage. You will notice many ways to search, such as Title, Author, Subject, Subject Keyword, etc.

Examples of Subject searches include:
Religion, Religion and Politics, Religion and Science, Buddhism, Islam, Islam – United States, Prayer, Aguaruna Indians -- Religion

Reserve Materials

Reserve Materials include books, sample tests, class notes, and other items that instructors put at the library for class use. The check out time is shorter than regular circulating books.

To search for a book on reserve in the Library Catalog, select either Reserves by Course or Reserves by Instructor.

When you have located the materials, write down the Call Number and Title and present this to a staff person at the Circulation Desk.


Browsing the Library Collection

Materials in the Library are shelved by call number according to the Library of Congress classification system. Books are arranged on the shelves by subject.

Relevant areas in the collection to find materials on religion include:

Religions. Mythology. Rationalism BL1-2790
Judaism BM1-990
Islam, Bahai Faith. Theosophy, etc BP1-610
Buddhism BQ1-9800
Christianity BR1-1725
The Bible BS1-2970
Doctrinal Theology BT10-1480
Practical Theology BV1-5099
Christian Denominations BX1-9999


Library Materials

Reference books provide background information and overviews on a given topic. Relevant reference books for religion include:

Reference Sources

Man, myth, and magic: the illustrated encyclopedia of mythology, religion, and the unknown. Richard Cavendish, editor in chief. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2000. BF 31 E52 2000 Vols. 1-8 Rosenberg Reference

The Oxford dictionary of world religions. John Bowker, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. BL 31 084 1997 Rosenberg Reference

Atlas of the world’s religions. Ninian Smart, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. G 1046 .E4 A8 1999 Rosenberg Reference.

Taking sides. Clashing views on controversial issues in religion. Daniel K. Judd, ed. Guilford, CT: McGraw-Hill, Dushkin, c2003. H61 .T3577 2003 Rosenberg Reference.

The encyclopedia of American religious history. Edward L. Queen. New York, NY: Facts On File, c1996. BL 2525 .Q44, 1996 Rosenberg Reference

Encyclopedia of American religion and politics . Paul A. Djupe and Laura R. Olson. New York: Facts On File, c2003. BL 2525 .D58 2003 Rosenberg Reference.

Electronic Reference Sources from the CCSF Ebooks collection

For more information about eBooks go to:

Encyclopedia of religious rites, rituals, and festivals 2004

Encyclopedia of new religious movements 2006

Encyclopedia of women and religion in North America 2006

A popular Dictionary of Buddhism 1997

Who's who in the Old Testament together with the Apocrypha 2002

The Quran : an encyclopedia 2006


Searching for Articles in Periodical Databases

Periodical databases group together journal, magazine, and newspaper articles by subject. They also usually provide abstracts (brief summaries) and the full text of the articles. Do you need help identifying the differences between scholarly journal v. popular magazine articles?

Note: Most periodical databases are part of the private, passworded Web, so you will need to have a current CCSF ID card with a barcode to access those that CCSF subscribes to. All current CCSF Student ID cards should already have a barcode. More information about obtaining a library bar code.

Infotrac is a brand name for several databases with coverage from 1980 to the present. Most relevant for religion topics is InfoTrac’s Religion & Philosophy database which covers topics in the areas of both religion and philosophy. InfoTrac’s Expanded Academic ASAP and OneFile databases also have useful materials. These databases let you limit your results to articles only from scholarly journals by checking the box "Refereed titles."

Literature Resource Center
Literature Resource Center has traditional reference works, critical information on authors and their works, and current journal articles. It is valuable for biographical information on authors of works relating to religion, and for critical information on both an individual work and an author’s body of work

CQ Researcher
CQ provides lengthy research reports written by the editorial staff of the Congressional Quarterly Co. There are many reports related to religion. Some examples are Religion in America, Evolution versus Creationism, Prayer and Healing, and Religious Persecution. There are also reports on related moral or ethical issues such as issues of reproductive ethics, teaching values, assisted suicide, designer humans, and the ethics of war.

Ethnic Newswatch
Ethnic Newswatch is comprised of newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press in America. Search here for ethnic aspects of topics related to religion.


Finding Web Resources

Below are some examples of academic/scholarly web sites on Religion. If you use a search engine, such as Google, remember to evaluate the quality of the results.

Web Resources for General Reference

Virtual Religion Index
An extensive and well organized index of Web resources with useful annotations that speed the targeting and process of research.  From Rutgers University.

Voice of the Shuttle – Religious Studies Page
Links to resources including general studies, specific religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikkism, etc.), nonreligious views (Atheism, Agnosticism), issues of law and religion, society and religion, and religious studies courses and departments.  From the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Encyclopedia of Religion and Society
“Full text online of the Encyclopedia, with table of contents, covering the spectrum of religions.”  The Encyclopedia of Religion and Society is from the Hartford Institute for Religious Research, and its editorial board is comprised of a number of respected sociologists of religion.

The Internet Sacred Text Archive
“a freely available archive of electronic texts about religion, mythology, legends and folklore, and occult and esoteric topics”  Particular focus is on believers’ (defined very broadly) sacred texts, including both primary and secondary materials.


Evaluating Sources

Content Evaluation Guidelines
Advice from the Medical Library Association

Evaluating Webpages: Techniques to Apply and Questions to Ask
A UC Berkeley - Teaching Library Internet Workshops

Critically Analyzing Information Sources
Developed by Olin-Kroch-Uris Libraries at Cornell University.

Evaluating and Citing Source
A quick and easy check list to use when determining the quality of web documents. Prepared by Librarians at CCSF.


Need More Assistance?

For additional help you may contact the Reference Desk by phone at (415) 452-5543 or stop by the East and West reference desks at the Rosenberg Library.

Electronic Reference Service to CCSF students, faculty, staff and registered community users. Use this service when you are NOT in a CCSF library.

Library and Web Research Workshops
FIfty minute workshops are given throughout the semester on effective methods in searching for books, articles and information on the Internet.

Evaluating and Citing Information Sources
Several useful sources for evaluating the quality of web pages, how to prepare citations for a "Bibliography" or "Works Cited" list, and how to avoid plagiarism.

Purdue's Online Writing Lab
One of the most thorough and easy to navigate writing labs avaialble!

A+ Research and Writing
Hosted by the Internet Public Library.

Writing Process @ CSU
Colorado State University developed these guides which "focus on a range of composing processes as well as issues related to the situations in which writers find themselves."

Send comments or suggestions to:

Manly Horowitz
Subject Selector
(415) 452-5541

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Last updated September 13, 2007