Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Welcome DMin Students (Summer 2011)

The Library joins the Seminary in welcoming DMin students to campus. Your work fills a very important role in the literature of theology: you connect theoretical concepts and models to the practical challenges of ministry. You apply critical intellect to what the Hebrew language calls: tikkun olam.

Our first advice to all Drew students: Enjoy the beauty of the setting here. The trees at Drew, which dominate the campus, have personalities of their own and, as Jewish philosopher Martin Buber taught about trees generally, enter into I-Thou relations with those who stop to notice them. Walk the campus, the many paths, and especially The Path, which connects the main campus to Green Villa apartments--it is an ideal, wooded path that gently undulates and fosters walking-meditation. You may encounter friendly deer!

Our second advice: Be prepared in your studies to have long-held assumptions questioned. The Library participates in this self-questioning daily. We, as most libraries, think of ourselves as a sanctum of learning and discovery. But where do all the books we house come from? Most of them derive from those very things we venerate on our campus: trees. Books are in that sense corpses of the once-living, or, as they have been called, "Felled Trees and Toxic Ink."1 The Library nonetheless persists in hoping that this shame does not discourage use of the books. We do, however, hold it up as the kind of contradiction that besets all serious thought.

We know that many of our students come from afar and do not have ready access at home to university libraries. Thankfully, more and more reliable scholarship is available online to aid distance students in their research. Here is a brief beginning bibliography of online sources. Two key databases for DMin students will be Research in Ministry, which indexes most DMin dissertations written in the U.S. and Canada, and Dissertations and Theses (find it listed alphabetically on this list), which offers up the fulltext, online, of many D.Min theses (and most of the Drew theses). Academic theses of any kind (Ph.D, M.A, D.Min, PsyD) are excellent sources of bibliography. Of course, students will want to consult the old, reliable ATLA index--always the starting point for religious research. The Library suggests a number of other useful online resources, including several online encyclopedias. Note especially Oxford Scholarship Online,which contains the fulltext of hundreds of books in religious studies.2

We are proud of a new service our ever-active Interlibrary Loan department is offering. If you live a distance from campus, and need a journal article or book essay in the library's print collection of books and journals, let us know and we will scan it for you and email it to you. Here is the form to fill out. To make sure you qualify for this service, click here.

While on campus, visit the Baldwin Room in the Library, in the northeast corner of Level E (a flight up the steps when you enter the Library). That's where all the past D.Min theses are filed, by year, and within year by author last name. You can borrow these, if you like. But do not think to slavishly copy one! Each author's inspiration is her or his own.

Students new to recent methods in research may like to take our online tutorial. Anyone who takes time to complete the tutorial will be ready to go with their research! A brief review of the research process is also available. Here is a summary of available library services. And here is the page we'll follow in the library orientation sessions on the afternoon of Monday, July 18, which the library staff anticipates with pleasure!

1. Rachel Donadio, "Saving the Planet, One Book at a Time," New York Times, July 9, 2006, Book Review section.

2. When accessing Library databases from off campus, you'll be prompted for your Login ID and password.