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Thursday, June 15

10:30am EDT

Trends in Theological Education and Implications for Theological Librarians
This session will explore some of the emerging trends in graduate theological education as observed by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, with specific attention to ATS data resources and recent patterns in accrediting actions as well as the speaker’s own experience working with member schools. The session will also describe the ATS Educational Models and Practices study and will share some of the initial discoveries from this major research initiative. Participants will be invited to reflect on these trends in light of their own institutional contexts, with particular emphasis on the ways in which these affect the current and future work of theological libraries and librarians. The session will also include time for discussion of the current adequacy and possible future directions for the ATS Commission on Accrediting’s Standards of Accreditation and well as its data collection services, and will also explore how these same issues might relate to other accrediting and institutional contexts.

avatar for Debbie Creamer

Debbie Creamer

Senior Director of Accreditation, Association of Theological Schools

Thursday June 15, 2017 10:30am - 11:20am EDT
Saturday, June 17

8:00am EDT

A Database of Syriac and Arabic Historical Registers and Archives
The presentation discusses a plan of creating a database of the historical registers in the Library of the Forty Martyrs in Mardin/Turkey, dated between the 15th century and the 19th century. These records relate to ecclesiastic aspects which include: birth, baptism, marriage, and death records. In addition, there are biographies of clergies, saints, notables, writers, and copyists. Furthermore, the lists of ecclesiastic ordinations such as deacons, monks, nuns, priests, bishops, and patriarchs are included. The last major category present in Mardin’s archives is documents relating to endowments and donations.

These archives are important sources for the social religious history in Near East during the Ottoman period. The database would offer direct access to scholars and students of Ottoman history to the sources and the possibility to examine the duplicates of original documents as well as the possibility to search a particular word in the documents. This topic relates also to the area of librarianship, the use of technology, scholarly communications, and programs that apply to religious studies bibliographers working in university settings. In short, the extracted social, cultural, religious, and geographic information in these archives will be stored in a database system and made of use to scholarly research by schema program.

avatar for Iskandar Bcheiry

Iskandar Bcheiry

Metadata Analyst, ATLA
Iskandar Bcheiry is a Metadata Analyst for ATLA. He is also a historical researcher in the field of Syriac Studies and Christian-Muslim relationship.

Saturday June 17, 2017 8:00am - 8:50am EDT
Oakwood B

10:30am EDT

Framing Authority in Theological Libraries: Addressing a Potential Challenge for Information Literacy
As libraries work to incorporate the ACRL's Framework for Information Literacy into their instruction, theological institutions in particular face potential hurdles based on the various religious commitments of their communities. Perhaps the greatest difficulty comes with the Framework's first section: "Authority is Constructed and Contextual." Isn't such an assertion relativistic in a way that threatens religious faith? Whenever creedal, magisterial, scriptural, or other authorities are recognized as privileged within religious institutions, the ACRL Framework may be met with considerable student anxiety. In these situations, librarians need to be equipped to help reduce anxiety before their efforts at information literacy training can be successful.

This paper will first discuss how authority in research is similar to and different from authority in a religious context, in order to assuage some anxiety (perhaps even among theological librarians themselves) about the supposedly relativistic commitments of the Framework. Next, it will offer some resources for information literacy training in academic contexts where the authority question remains a sensitive one. Finally, it will propose some ways that the Framework itself could actually be used to stimulate new and creative theological reflection within religious communities.

avatar for Evan Kuehn

Evan Kuehn

Theological Librarian, Trinity International University

Saturday June 17, 2017 10:30am - 11:20am EDT
Oakwood A

10:30am EDT

Survey on Information Needs/Information Seeking Behavior of Seminary Students
A category of information users that interests me in particular is that of Seminary students. There are several studies exploring the information needs and information-seeking behavior of college students including Religion majors, but not much work at the Seminary level. For instance, one such study is Lipton and Nyrose’s article entitled “Study of the Information Seeking Behavior of Theology and Religious Studies Students,” published in the American Theological Library Association Summary of Proceedings 65: 288–306. More work needs to be done at the graduate level to explore the patterns of behavior of advanced degree students.

This study will explore the findings of a particular graduate student population, the Seminary students from the University of the South. The data covers the cycle of the entire academic year 2016-17 by recording all reference and research transactions organized in quantitative and qualitative categories from patron type to the type of question(s) being raised, the date, time and duration of the transaction etc. I will be focusing in particular on three questions: (1) How course assignments create information needs and set behavior expectations? (2) How available library instruction influences student behavior? (3) How age influences the use of research tools? The emerging patterns will be analyzed and reported as findings at the end of the study.

avatar for Romulus Stefanut

Romulus Stefanut

School of Theology Librarian and Faculty, University of the South, School of Theology
Hello! My name is Romulus. I am not the founder of Rome, nor do I have a brother called Remus. However, I love Roman history and material culture. I have a Ph.D. in Early Christianity and Hellenistic Judaism from the University of Chicago and an M.S.L.I.S. from the University of Illinois... Read More →

Saturday June 17, 2017 10:30am - 11:20am EDT

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