ATLA Scripture Search and Special features

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Welcome to the the Milligan Libraries online tutorial: Scripture Search in ATLA Religion Database and ATLASerials PLUS!

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This is an online guide that will introduce you to the Milligan College Library resources in real time on a live webpage.

Move through the guide by using the arrows at the bottom of the box.

Use the actual webpage to complete the guide activities.

Scripture Search

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ATLA Religion Database and ATLASerials PLUS is a database indexing the best journals, book reviews and books on Biblical, religion and theology topics. It now includes what was formerly the ATLA Catholic Periodical and Literature Index. 

One unique feature of ATLA database is the Scripture Search. This tutorial will demonstrate how to use this feature.

MCSearch does search the ATLA database.  But if you want to use the Scripture Search feature, you must be searching directly in the ATLA database, not MCSearch.

Scripture Search

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This is the Milligan Library homepage. To navigate to the ATLA database, click on the light blue tab labeled "Databases".

If you are off-campus, you will be prompted to log in. Use your Milligan Network ID and password, the same one you use for Canvas.

Click the down arrow to the right of "Choose a category..."

Select "Religion & Philospophy". 

Click on ATLA Religion Database and ATLASerials PLUS.

A new screen should appear.

What word is left of the new search box?

Scripture Search

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In many cases, you can find exactly what you need in ATLA by doing a exact phrase search on your passage, "Hosea 11" (use the "").

But there is also another way to search.

Look at the blue horizontal bar at the top of the webpage. You may need to pop it out, but clicking on the three horizontal lines at the top of the page.

Click on the word "Scriptures".

A new page should open with a listing of the books of the Bible in order starting with Genesis.

What phrase is to the right of the EBSCOHOST icon?

Scripture Search

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Let's pretend that you were doing an exegesis on Deuteronomy 1:1-18. 

Click on "Deuteronomy".

How many results were there in both ATLA databases for the search on "Deuteronomy"?

Scripture Search

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This is ALL the results in the ATLA databases that have a discussion of some passage from the book of Deuteronomy. Since we only want results for Deuteronomy 1, this is not very helpful. Click the back button on the browser. You should be back at the list of books of the Bible.

This time, click on "[Expand]" next to the word "Deuteronomy".  Now you will see a list of individual chapters from the book of Deuteronomy.

Click on "Chapter 1".

How many results are there for Deuteronomy, chapter 1?


Scripture Search

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Click the back button on your browser.

At times you may want to limit even further and look at the verse level.  

Click "[Expand]" next to chapter 1.

Click on verse 2.

How many results are there for Deuteronomy 1:2 in both ATLA databases?

Note that many of the results discuss more than just verse 2 (and sometimes discuss several chapters).

Other Features

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Religion resources may be written in other languages. It can be frustrating to look at a results list with many items that you cannot read. Here is a solution.

Look at the left hand side of the page. Scroll down until you see Language. Click on Language. You can now limit your search results to just languages that you use. For this activity, please select only "English". Be aware that you can select any languages you read for future searches.

What other language can you use as a limiter for these articles?

Other Features

2 of 5There is one other ATLA quirk of which students should be aware. 

In ATLA, the source icons can be misleading. The Periodical icon is used for several different types of resources, not all of which are periodicals. 

To determine the type of source look within the citation for Publication Type:

Publication Type: Article is a journal article.

Publication Type: Book is a book.

Publication Type: Essay needs more explanation. Essay should more accurately be described as a chapter in a book. Frequently these are books in which each chapter is written by a different person.

**If the database is telling you that an Essay publication type needs to be Interlibrary Loaned, STOP! The Milligan College libraries may have the item. Go to the next section to learn what to do.

Other Features

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Keeping with our search on English language resources on Deut. 1:2, scroll down several screens and find: 

Kaleidoscopic patterns and the shaping of experience

This is the title of the CHAPTER. Look at the citation and find SOURCE: This is the BOOK TITLE.

What is the title of the BOOK with the chapter entitled: 
Kaleidoscopic patterns and the shaping of experience?

ATLA does not communicate with our library catalog as to our holdings for the book. Before ILLing, please look up the BOOK TITLE in the catalog here to check if we have the book with the chapter (Publication Type: Essay) you need.

Other Features

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This concludes the tutorial on Scripture Search in the ATLA databases.

Two other religion databases: Old Testament Abstracts and New Testament Abstracts have their own Scripture Search. You must go to those databases and use their Scripture Search.  You cannot use one Scripture Search for all three religion databases.  

Other Features

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For more information about searching and locating the full text of resources, we recommend completing two other tutorials:

Introduction to MCSearch

MCSearch: Advanced Strategies

If you have any questions or are not finding the resources you need, please contact the library:


Phone: 423-461-8703 (Welshimer Library)

Phone: 423-461-1540 (Seminary Library)

Chat: Click here to start a chat session.

You can continue to search in ATLA or close the tutorial and return to the Milligan Library webpage, by clicking the "x" in the corner of the tutorial.


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