Theological libraries have a long history in librarianship, but very little work has been done in trying to understand the nature of the research sources that theological libraries collect. For example, within the social science subset of Journal Citation Reports, no journals were retrieved using the search terms “Bible,” “biblical” or “literature” and only one result was produced using the search term “theology.” As theological libraries (and libraries with large theology and religion collections) feel financial pressures to maintain a relevant and quality collection, while justifying each and every purchase, the need for a better understanding of the citation patterns within the broad fields of theology, church history, religion and biblical studies is needed. Thus, this study will examine a small sub-set of this literature to determine if any patterns or more general conclusions might be developed as a result of this study.
Statement of Problem and Sub-Problems
This study will investigate the authorial citing pattern of scholarly biblical literature covering Ecclesiastes. Specifically what types of material (books, journals, scholarly, popular, etc.) are most-cited as well as what authors and journals have been cited the most during the last ten years will be investigated. In order to do this, the corpus of related scholarly journal literature on Ecclesiastes over the last ten years will be gathered. Next each of these articles will be examined and each of their citations will be documented for format and authorship. Finally, these results will be collated to determine what types of material and which authors are most cited.
Statement of the Purpose of the Research
The purpose of this study is to better understand what authors, journals, and generally what types of material (books, journals, scholarly, popular, etc.) are being cited the most in scholarly biblical literature. For purposes of manageability this study will examine the academic journal literature produced in the last ten years on the biblical book of Ecclesiastes.
R1. What types or formats of materials are cited in peer-reviewed articles about Ecclesiastes in the last ten years?
R2. Who are the most cited authors in the articles in this study?
R3. Which journals are most-cited in the articles in this study?
Importance of the Study
The major benefit of this project will be to help theological libraries better understand what kinds of collections they need to maintain for the study particular books of the Bible as well as highlight what the potential relational ratios might exist between collecting books and journals. Since theological libraries spend thousands of dollars each year purchasing new commentaries and journal articles on biblical books, this study will likely directly inform the collection needs of these new materials. Since this type of study has not been done at this level of specificity it is difficult at this point to determine what might be the anticipated results. One definite result will be the ability to better determine if this kind of study would be useful on a broader level.
I am currently the reference librarian at Bethel Seminary. I have a Ph.D. in Religious Studies (emphasis in Bible) from Marquette University and am almost finished (I will be done in December of this year) with an MLIS from the University of Southern Mississippi. The intersection of these two disciplines, especially as they relate to the resource use and bibliometrics, has been of particular interest to me. This project will be a reworking of my Master’s research project for my MLIS degree.