Hunting for resources – how does library benefit the contemporary religion reseacher?

​What exactly is your research topic?

”My research field lies at the intersection of comparative religion and literary critics. Recently, I have  focused on the works of Kersti Bergroth,  who also has written the Finnish play Anu ja Mikko.  I analyse the topic from the point of view of religion: Berghroth was an anthroposophist and I explore the ways  in which anthroposophy and spirituality are reflected in her life and works.”

Such research undoubtedly requires a wide range of source materials

”This is indeed true. Berghroth was a very prolific writer, who wrote not only novels but also a great number of causeries and journal articles. In addition, there is a lot of archive material to explore. The archives of the Anhtroposophical Society in Switzerland is the furthest that I have travelled to find resources.”

So the source materials may be physically located in various places.

”Yes. On a national level, Finna has made a significant difference, because it allows you to simultaneously search many library and archive collections. For a researcher, for example, the collections of the Turku University Library and the Donner Institute Library are part of the same continuum due to their physical proximity and it is only natural that they can be searched in one place.”

Which of the Turku University Library’s resources do you especially prefer?

”The collections are nowadays so large that I cannot say that I know all of them. For contemporary religion, the ATLA database (American Theological Library Association) is of course  very important.

I was pleasantly surprised by the library workstations where you can access the National Library’s collection of digital newspapers and journals. I had previously used the freely available older online material but in this way I’m also able to access more recent materials. I immediately found more than a thousand potential sources!”

So the library benefits a researcher?

”Not just benefits, but is essential.  The Google searches provide us only unorganised data, whereas the library helps to find real information and knowledge. And without knowledge the research work is  impossible.”



The religion database ATLA contains over two million references from nearly two thousand journals and full texts from more than 300 journals. In addition, the multidisciplinary databases, such as Academic Search Premier and JSTOR include a great number of religion resources. The links to the databases can be found through Volter or via the ResearchGuides.
The National Library’s digitized collection of Finnish newspapers and journals until 1920 is freely available online. The more recent digital newspapers and journals can be accessed through legal deposit terminals in the Feeniks and Teutori libraries.
Through the legal deposit terminals it is also possible to listen and watch the materials of the Finnish Web Archive and the National Audiovisual Institute.
Interviewer: Ilmari Jauhiainen
Facts: Tiina Suikkanen
Translation: Kristiina Hintikka
Photos: Päivi Letonsaari


Published date 10/12/2017 9:25 AM ,  Modified date 10/12/2017 9:34 AM