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ATLA Journals Database - user guide: ATLA - What is it?

How to make the most of the ATLA/ATLAS for your research and writing.

ATLA - what is it?

ATLAS plus








ATLA Religion Database® (ATLA RDB®) & ATLASerials® (ATLAS®)

The ATLA Religion Database® (ATLA RDB®) is the premier index to journal articles, book reviews, and collections of essays in all fields of religion, with coverage from 1949 and retrospective indexing for some journal issues as far back as the nineteenth century. Journals are selected for inclusion according to their scholarly merit and scope. The fact that many publishers solicit the inclusion of their journals in ATLA RDB is indicative of the stature it has achieved in the community of religion scholars.

Database Details

  • Total number of records: 1.9 million+, including the following:
  • 1,800+ journal titles in total, 700+  of which are currently being indexed
  • 672,200+ journal article records
  • 267,000+ essay records
  • 620,000+ review records
  • 308,000+ book records

ATLASerials® (ATLAS®) is an online full-text collection of major religion and theology journals used by libraries, librarians, scholars, students, and religious leaders.

Database Details

  • Total number of records: 512,900+
  • Total number of journal titles: 310+

When you search ATLA/ATLAS, you are searching all of the resources listed above, as they are combined into one search interface.

Types of Materials:





“Multimedia” & “Other matter”

What is it?

Just what you’d think – articles from a wide variety of academic and general periodicals, i.e., magazines.

These are chapters from books where each chapter is written by a different author. Each chapter is indexed separately.

These are book reviews that were printed in journals.

This is the title of a book which has been reviewed in a religious journal.

These are basically a few stray entries of material that does not fit other categories – most likely entered because of a review in a journal.

How many are there

580,000+ journal articles individually indexed

245,800+ essay records from 17,700+ multi-author works

544,800+ book reviews of 279,000+ books

(see column to left)


Are any full-text?

Yes, perhaps 30-35% of them





Is this material helpful for my research?




Rarely…    these are not e-books!




Other helpful things to know:


  • The full-text articles in ATLAS are not ‘better’ or ‘more-important’ than the articles which are not full-text.  ATLA was simply given permission by some publishers first to digitize their articles, and so those showed up sooner.  They are continually adding more scanned full-text articles. Do not skip those which are not full-text online, or you may miss the most helpful articles on your topic!
  • Some journals are ‘peer-reviewed’ while some are not.  Those which are peer-reviewed tend to have a higher, more consistent standard of academic value.  Sometimes it may be helpful to limit your search to such journals to weed out less helpful articles.
  • Essays will most likely never be provided full-text online in ATLAS.  Check the main title of the book in our catalog at to see if the RTS Libraries own it. 
  • You can search for information by Scripture passage, which is great when working on exegetical papers or sermons.  Look for that tab toward the upper left of the screen.  Usually it works best to just search by book and chapter, but not individual verses; it then pulls up all pertinent articles and essays related to that chapter.



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Ken McMullen
RTS Library
2101 Carmel Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28226