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The J. Oliver Buswell Jr. Library
Distance & DMin Students
For Distance & DMin Students

Doing Research

Always start your research from the Library homepage, which is your gateway to a wealth of research resources. Here is a sampler of what you'll find.

Finding Books

Books are valuable tools for research. Their comprehensive nature can help you learn about new subjects or provide you with greater depth of understanding for subjects you have already studied.

  • E-Books – Covenant’s growing e-book collection is accessible anywhere and includes some biblical commentaries in addition to academic titles from a variety of fields of study.
  • Covenant Library Catalog – Although you may not live close enough to the Covenant Seminary Library to visit us in person, our catalog is a powerful research tool for finding high quality books that you can get via interlibrary loan at your local library. Our collection is maintained by a staff of theological librarians and is designed to serve the diverse needs of students studying theology, Bible, counseling, and education. It is a treasure trove of valuable resources, so dig in.
  • WorldCat – Once you find it in our catalog (or if you want to broaden your search to a worldwide scale), search the world's largest library catalog—WorldCat. Combining the catalogs of nearly every library in the United States and many libraries around the world into one database, WorldCat will track down the book that you're looking for and find it in a library near you.

Finding Journal Articles

Journal articles give you focused information about a particular topic, and are often the best way to get the most up-to-date research. They are excellent sources for doing original research on a topic, and are also a great complement to what you find in commentaries.

While you are enrolled in classes you can access our full collection of online databases from anywhere in the world. If you would like to browse all the databases that are available, then check out the full list on the Library homepage. You can narrow that list to a particular subject area of interest, such as Religion and Theology, Counseling and Psychology, or Education.

See also: How to Access the Library from Off Campus

Resource Guides

  • Covenant Seminary Reference Guides to Library Resources – The Covenant Seminary Library maintains a variety of subject and commentary guides, which highlight important books and reference works.
  • Wabash Center Internet Guide – An excellent annotated guide to electronic resources on the Internet related to the study and practice of religion. Includes syllabi, electronic texts, electronic journals, Web sites, bibliographies, liturgies, reference resources, software, etc.
  • Congregational Resource Guide – Provides hundreds of annotated resource recommendations that address the specific, practical needs of congregations and their leaders. Includes articles, Web sites, news sources, organizations, books, periodicals, special reports, online topical explorations, learning pathways, etc.
  • Review of Biblical Literature – Presents reviews of books in biblical studies and related fields. A project of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Obtaining Resources

Using Your Local Library

Although your local public library may not have a finely honed theology section, it is still a valuable resource for your research needs. Libraries like to share, so any book or article that you need can most likely be obtained by your public library through Interlibrary Loan—usually at no or little cost. Just take the complete citation (title, author, source, date, pages, etc. as applicable) to the the Reference Librarian and ask about requesting the item through Interlibrary Loan. Be aware, however, that an Interlibrary Loan request can take up to two weeks to arrive in most places, so put your requests in early.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Ask about ILL at your library's reference desk, not at the circulation desk (the place where you check out your books). The reference librarians are typically the ones who handle ILL requests for the library.
  • If your local library is part of a library system (e.g., a county-wide public library with several branches), take your requests to the Headquarters or Main Branch. The headquarters is usually the hub through which your ILL items will travel, and it can sometimes take as long for an item to make its way between the headquarters and your branch as it does for the item to get to the headquarters from the lending library. The staff at the headquarters may also be more knowledgeable about the various services that are available to you.
  • Introduce yourself to the librarian that handles ILL at your library. Explain who you are and what you are doing and ask what would make it easier for them. Even this small attempt to get to know them will put a face with your name and often will bring better service from your library.

Using the Covenant Seminary Library

Whenever you're taking a class and you're in St. Louis, you're welcome to use the Covenant Seminary Library. Books check out for 3 weeks and can be renewed twice by phone or online for an additional 3 weeks each time. That's up to 9 weeks total. When the books are due back you can simply pack them up carefully in a box and mail them back to us. (Be sure to send them off a couple days before they're due in order to avoid overdue charges.)

Getting A Library Card

A Covenant Seminary Photo ID/Library card can be a handy thing to have. You will need to know your ID card number in order to access the online databases (although you can also find this number in the Library Tools section of the Portal). A Covenant Seminary ID will also allow you to check out books from the Covenant Seminary Library when you come to visit us. If you would like to get an ID card, contact the Distance Education or Doctor of Ministry office so they can walk you through submitting a photo.

Getting Help

If you need help with research for your coursework, thesis, or dissertation, the Library staff will be glad to help.

Phone: 314-392-4100
Email: library@covenantseminary.edu