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*NEW* Encyclopedia of Ancient History

The long awaited Encyclopedia of Ancient History is now available after repeated publication delays. Unparalleled in scope with over 5,000 original, peer-reviewed articles, the Encyclopedia covers subjects ranging from the ancient Near East to Pharaonic Egypt, the Roman Republic, and Late Antiquity. Five general editors, twenty-three area editors, and a total of 1,827 scholars collaborated on this project. Villanova University’s own Christopher Haas, PhD, contributed articles on Axum and Hypatia. Although available in thirteen print volumes, the Encyclopedia was conceived and planned as a digital reference work. Its content will be continually updated, and new articles will be added over time. Readers are encouraged to contact the editorial board with corrections and suggestions for additional entries.

Searching and browsing the contents of the Encyclopedia seems unnecessarily complicated. A first-time user will be tempted to simply use the search box on the start page, which will retrieve keyword matches from all Wiley-Blackwell titles. Only upon closer inspection will the reader notice the “Search in this Book” link beneath the search box. The “Find Articles” options on the left menu are barely noticeable as well. Articles are organized in twenty-two topical categories to facilitate browsing. The scope of the Encyclopedia makes it easy to compare topics between various ancient civilizations. A good example is the seven different entries on calendars.

Articles vary in length but rarely exceed ten pages. PDF files of articles are available for downloading. Each article lists references and suggested readings. A good number of references are written in foreign languages, but available English language translations are included as well. A “How to Cite” link generates a basic citation for each article. Alternatively, citations can be exported to RefWorks or EndNote. Overall, this is an excellent new reference title and a good starting point for undergraduate and graduate students alike.

You may also be interested in the following new e-reference works from the Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World Series:
A Companion to Women in the Ancient World
A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East
A Companion to Tacitus

Questions or comments? Contact me directly (jutta.seibert@villanova.edu) or post your comments online.

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ATLA Historical Monographs: Not Just for Church Historians and Theologians

With the acquisition of the ATLA Historical Monographs collections, Falvey has added close to 30,000 new core titles in religion to its digital collections. Why would historians be interested in this collection? Read on to find out or simply visit the collection online to browse or search its content. Titles in the collection have been published between the 16th century and 1923 and cover a wide range of subjects. In addition to the more predictable histories of congregations, topics range from personal recollections of missionaries, including accounts of the opium war, to missions to Native American peoples, to the position of different churches vis-à-vis slavery in North America. This collection adds a wealth of new primary sources to the Library’s collection.

As with many other digital collections, this collection was originally filmed on microform for preservation and mass distribution purposes. Today these core titles are available in digital format as two distinct collections: ATLA Historical Monographs Collection: Series 1 (16th Century to 1893) and ATLA Historical Monographs Collection: Series 2 (1894 to 1923). Falvey owns both collections. Hyperlinks to ATLA Historical Monographs Series 1 and Series 2 can be found on the Library’s Databases A-Z list and the online catalog has records with links for each individual work.

Religion and philosophy are the core subjects, but interested readers will also find works on science, medicine, history and law. While theology is its own distinct discipline today, early modern theologians were often also scientists, doctors, historians, lawyers or philosophers. Therefore, a fair number of works from other disciplines are covered in this collection. Eight overview essays, located on the virtual reference shelf, give the reader a better understanding about the time periods in which works in the collection were written. The essays cover topics such as the Great Awakening, the history of the Catholic Church in America, the changing role of religion in the U.S. from 1850 to 1923, Cristian missionaries in China, and the economics of religious publishing in 19th century America.

This EBSCO collection offers a range of features which include PDF files and abstracts of all works, permalinks, bookmarking, personal notes, personal accounts, citations in all major styles, and an export function to RefWorks or EndNote. The full text view, a.k.a. the Digital Archives Viewer, makes it easy to jump to any page, illustration or chapter; browse a work page by page; bookmark individual pages; and search individual pages or the complete work. The full-text search is executed by optical character recognition software (OCR), and the reliability of search results depends on the quality of the original microfilm. The majority of titles are written in English with a strong showing of German, French, Latin, and Ancient Greek. The virtual reference shelf on the search and results screen includes a handy link to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Pre-19th Century Terms & Definitions to assist the reader in understanding the texts at hand.

Questions or comments?  Contact me directly (jutta.seibert@villanova.edu) or post your comments online.

 

 

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Last Modified: January 9, 2013