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We received this letter in response to the SBL Forum article: In the Beginning-Bibles Before the Year 1000 by Sandra Scham

  • Thanks for on-lining Sandra Scham's review of this Freer Sackler exhibit. It is doubly valuable for people like me who live at some distance from Washington and yet have intense interest in matters biblical and historical. It has both informed me and encouraged me to come to Washington see it.

    By the way, is there a catalog of it?


    T. M. Finn, Chancellor Professor of Religion Emeritus, College of William and Mary.

    (Editor's Note: yes there is a catalog available from the gallery giftshop.)

This letter refers to the SBL Forum news item: Library of Congress to close its African and Middle Eastern Reading Room
  • Dear Colleagues:

    The Library of Congress' plans for new exhibits in 2007 will not affect the reading rooms in the Thomas Jefferson Building. The statement that was issued to that effect was inaccurate and the African and Middle Eastern Reading Room will not close.

    Mary-Jane Deeb, Ph.D., Chief, African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress
This letter is in response to Bob Buller's article on : Google Books and Biblical Studies: A Developing Resource

  • As a librarian, I read Bob Buller's article on Google Books and Biblical Studies with interest. As information continues to move from text to electronic, librarians are especially concerned with how our patrons, both students and researchers, will locate that information.

    Librarians and libraries have invested heavily in tools and research to make scholarly information available. While Google Books is making a massive (and expensive) leap forward, it helps to remind researchers of the limits and potentials such tools have. Bob provided four quick tips on locating information in Google Book that revealed Google Book's limitations especially compared to traditional library tools. I'd like to point a few of them out.

    Library tools use what are called authority records to cull, for example, all of an author's name variations into one neat record. Proper use of authority records means that researchers are not at the whim of data-entry mistakes or publisher misprints. A researcher can do a search for an author and be confident that she has retrieved all relevant records. Similarily, library tools help "translate" non-English titles and phrases by connecting them to their English equivalents. Also, Bob left out an important research link that is available from a page view in Google Book: Find this book in a library. By selecting this link (which is unfortunately below the book seller links) a user is immediately connected to the book's catalog record in Worldcat, the world's largest library network. And if you have an account with Google or have your address in your browser preferences, it will let you know if the book is available in your area. It is an excellent tool!

    In closing, I thank Bob for reminding the researcher that information at your fingertips does not mean information found fast. As these tools develop and hopefully as more librarians and information professionals become involved, the researcher's labor will decrease. But till then I hope that researchers will enjoy the hunt!

    Kate L Ganski, MLS, Librarian, Salzmann Library, St. Francis Seminary

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Citation: , " Miscellaneous Letters," SBL Forum , n.p. [cited Jan 2007]. Online:


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