Annotated Bibliography

last modified 2018-03-13T12:50:29-04:00


Note: This guide emphasizes tools available in Tarver Library to assist you with identifying sources for your annotated bibliography.  Rather than before where we selected the dictionaries and commentaries for you, this assignment requires you to identify the sources.  You will take the next step by focusing on the interpretation of your text found in a mix of popular and scholarly sources, including books and articles, reflecting a range of ideological perspectives--liberal, moderate, conservative.  You will need to pay attention to the publishers of the resources you identify as well as capture complete bibliographic information.  A guide on preparing an annotated bibliography has been prepared by Tarver librarians.  This is a PDF version of the guide from Dr. Whitfield.  Remember to follow Dr. Lewis' instructions, especially if they conflict with the information in the Tarver guide.

  1. discipline-specific database for religion produced by the American Theological Library Association … ATLA (adding the full text serials give you the S)
  2. includes articles and books
  3. select ATLA Religion with ATLA Serials from this page, from the database box on the University Library website (remember to login before beginning your search), or from the main Christianity Subject Librarian page under Christianity databases

ATLA has special indexes.  The Scripture search is a good place to begin looking for articles and essays that provide interpretation on your selected text.  You can browse the books in canonical order and use the expand feature to drill down to the chapter and verse level.  Selecting an entry at the book, chapter, or verse level executes a search for all records indexed with that book, chapter, or verse.

For example, clicking to select Ecclesiastes, clicking to expand Chapter 3, and clicking to expand verse 1 returns all records indexed that include Ecclesiastes 3:1 anywhere in the database:

  • click on the scriptures tab near the top of the screen


  • click to select Ecclesiastes

  • click [Expand] on Ecclesiastes to show the chapters

  • click [Expand] on Chapter 3 to show verses

  • click on Next to see Verses 1-2
  • clicking on Verse 1 returns all results where Ecclesiastes 3:1 is indexed anywhere in the database

  • You may need to use the refine tools on the left-hand side of the screen to limit your search, especially to limit the results to English.
  • Most of the articles in the database will include links to PDF or to the link resolver to locate full-text available in other resources.

  • If no PDF or linked-text is available, be sure to follow the prompt to search to see if a print copy of the journal title is available.
    • Note:  these could be at either Tarver (Macon) or Swilley (Atlanta) library so pay close attention to the location line.
  • Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is also an option for obtaining articles without any full-text or print.
    • The link resolver will lead you to the ILL form.
    • Since you are already logged in, all of your information and the bibliographic information needed to submit the form should be automatically captured.  If you forgot and didn't log in, you will be required to do so to submit the ILL form.
  • In addition to articles, this database also includes entries for essays and chapters included in books.  A search on Exodus 21:22-25 returns the following citation:

  • Clicking on the Find Full Text button takes you to a screen that allows you to search the library catalog.  Remember, you search for books, including essays, in the catalog:

  • clicking on the link to search the online catalog by ISBN for books takes you to this screen:

  • Be sure to pay close attention to the location, since many of these items may be at the Swilley Library on the Atlanta campus.
  • You can request that an item at the Swilley Library be sent to you by clicking on the blue Request button and completing the form.
  • Most items can be sent in three to five working days.  We recommend not including a date in the "cancel if not filled by" box.

  • This guide focuses on using the Scripture Citation tool.  Pay attention to the subject headings used in the search results, since they may direct you to other articles that may also be of interest.

You need to include a mix of popular and scholarly sources for this assignment.  A good idea is to spend some time brainstorming on possible keywords and subjects before searching.  Different combinations will be needed for databases (primarily retrieving articles) and the library catalog where subject searches might be more effective.  Dr. Lewis has already identified some of these by grouping your texts according to topics.  As an example, keywords for the passages related to marriage and sexuality might use:

  • christianity and sexuality
  • marriage and sexuality
  • human sexuality
  • sexual excitement
  • desire
  • erotica--religious aspects


  • Keep a running list of these topics, since not all will work in all databases or the online catalog.
  • Review your search results paying close attention to the subjects assigned to articles and books, and add new terms to your list.
  • You may want to add in the name of your book to narrow your results.  For example, marriage and sexuality and Genesis.
    • You will need to try both Song of Songs and Song of Solomon, since both names are used.

Here's an example of a search using Academic Search Complete

  • Use the toolbar on the left-hand side of the screen to refine your search.  You may have to try several different combinations.  Refer to your list of keywords created before you started searching and add more words from the subjects used to describe articles.
  • Most of the articles in the database will include links to PDF or to the link resolver to locate full-text available in other resources.

Library catalog:

The most effective search in the library catalog is a subject search for the book containing your passage, limited to the Tarver Library, looking especially at criticism and interpretation.  Here is a screenshot, take careful note of changes to the default searches:

  • Use a subject instead of a keyword search.
  • The subject heading is Bible. <name of the book>.  For example, Bible. Genesis or Bible. Isaiah
    • Our catalog interface may be smart enough that you don't need to include the period (.) after the word Bible.  I advise including it anyway.
    • The Library of Congress is particular about the name of the book.  You must use Song of Solomon in the catalog, Song of Songs is not used
  • You may want to limit your search, at least initially, to sources available at Tarver.  We can request items from the Swilley Library (Atlanta).

  • Select the subject heading for criticism interpretation, etc. as a starting point.
  • Items under the subject heading for commentaries may or may not be as helpful.  Dr. Lewis has previously selected commentaries he wants you to use.  The purpose of this assignment is to select different sources that focus on the interpretation of your text.

  • This search may also identify e-books.  A guide to using these resources is available.

Instructions for your annotated bibliography include a mix of popular and scholarly sources.  Here are some tips for differentiating between these types of sources.

Scholarly journals

  • have a serious "look" with charts, graphs, few glossy pictures--black and white
  • written by an established expert, scholar, or researcher in the field whose credentials and institutional affiliation are listed
  • reviewed by a panel of experts (peers)
  • use the terminology and language of the specific field
  • provides an in depth analysis on a specific subject
  • contents usually include an abstract, literature review, methods, results, conclusion, footnotes, and a bibliography
  • generally published by a professional organization or scholarly press

Specific examples might include:

Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
Journal of Religion
Journal of Religious Ethics
Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Theology and Sexuality

Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Journal of Biblical Literature
Review & Expositor

Popular magazines

  • often slick and glossy, heavily illustrated with photographs--colorful
  • usually shorter articles written by staff or free-lance writers whose credentials may or may not be included
  • reviewed by the magazine editor
  • usually written in simply language with little depth--no subject expertise assumed
  • provides an general overview on a variety of topics
  • rarely include footnotes or bibliographies
  • published for profit

Specific examples might include:

Christian Century

Publishers of books in religious studies typically fall into one of four categories.

1. affiliated with specific Christian denominations
2. affiliated with colleges and universities
3. textbook publishers
4. independent

Below is a list of some of the more significant publishing houses and where they fit:

1. affiliated with specific Christian denominations:


  • Broadman Press—Southern Baptist Convention
  • Convention Press—Southern Baptist Convention (more popular)
  • Judson Press—American Baptist
  • Smyth and Helwys (primarily CBF, more popular than scholarly)


  • Baker Books
  • Brazos Press
  • Intervarsity Press
  • Zondervan

Mainstream Protestant:

  • Abingdon—United Methodist Church
  • Augsburg Fortress—Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Chalice Press—Disciples of Christ
  • Cowley—Episcopalian
  • William B. Eerdmans—Reformed Church in America roots
  • Pilgrim Press—United Church of Christ
  • SCM Press (and its various imprints)--Episcopalian
  • Westminster John Knox—Presbyterian Church USA


  • Herald Press

Roman Catholic:

  • Orbis Books—Maryknoll, concern for poor
  • Paulist Press—dialog with modern world

 2. affiliated with colleges and universities:

  • Chicago
  • Duke
  • Indiana
  • Mercer
  • Notre Dame
  • Yale

 3. textbook publishers:

  • McGraw Hill
  • Prentice-Hall
  • Wadsworth

 4. independent:

  • Continuum (T & T Clark, Trinity Press)
  • Harper & Row, HarperCollins
  • HarperSanFrancisco
  • Hendrickson
  • Open Court
  • Rowan and Littlefield
  • Wipf and Stock (reprints)

Doctrinal or Denomination-Specific Sources (both scholarly and popular)

1. targeted toward a specific audience

  • Baptist History and Heritage--Baptist perspective
  • Christian Century--opinion and news from the moderate to liberal Protestant
  • Christianity Today--conservative, evangelical perspective
  • Commonweal--Catholic perspective

2. have a wider appeal and usefulness beyond their denomination

  • Catholic Biblical Quarterly--one of the premiere resources for biblical studies

3. are often influenced by the sponsor/publisher

  • remember to discover the "who" behind the what

Almost all publishers maintain an active web presence. These are compilations of publishers.


  • You can also use Google to find additional information--look for a tab/header "about" the journal. As an example, here's the link for Baptist History & Heritage.
  • Make sure you get all the information you will need for your footnotes and bibliography while you are searching.  Take a picture with your phone, or save the links in a document, or do whatever you need to make sure that you capture all the information now rather than having to scramble later when you compile your footnotes and bibliography. 
  • You can put items in folders when using ATLA or Academic Search Complete.  Once in a folder, you can print or e-mail the items.

  • You can even use the citation feature to output the citation using the Chicago style.  Note:  Be sure to check the citation style to make sure it fits with what Dr. Lewis is requiring. 

  • Remember to use the map feature in the catalog to help you locate items on the third floor.

  • Electronic journals are found using the e-Journals link on the Tarver Library web page.  Remember, sometimes the link resolver sends you to a link to search for print titles.
  • Print periodicals in the Tarver Library are on the first floor and are arranged alphabetically by title, rather than by call number.
  • Current periodicals are separated on slanted shelves. You need to lift the top shelf in order to get to the other issues shelved underneath.