Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Encyclopedias, Handbooks, and Reference Resources: General Resources

The Wiggin Library is here to support the study of liberal religion in general and Unitarian Universalism in particular. In addition to our extensive print and ebook collection and database access to thousands of journals and periodicals, our librarians can connect you with many other digital and print resources. This page provides an overview of our most used digital reference resources. 

Oxford Reference

undefinedOxford Reference spans over 20 different subject areas, bringing together 2 million digitized entries across Oxford University Press dictionaries, companions and encyclopedias. This interdisciplinary resource pulls entries from sources as varied as The Biographical Encyclopedia of Islamic Philosophy to A Dictionary of Food and NutritionFaculty or Student Login Required

Handbooks and Companions

undefinedCambridge Companions are a series of authoritative guides written by leading experts that offer lively, accessible introductions to major writers, artists, philosophers, topics, and periods. Wiggin Library subscribes to the Philosophy and Religion Series, which includes over 200 companions. Faculty or Student Login Required

undefinedOxford Handbooks Online - Religion contains essays on critical topics and emerging issues in the study of religion, complementing hundreds of essays on Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and cross-cultural thematic studies. All of these essays can be accessed individually through keyword searches related to religious traditions, thematic fields, and analytic approaches. Faculty or Student Login Required

undefined​Routledge Religion Handbooks provide authoritative and dynamic overviews of core subjects and topics in religion, covering substantial thematic surveys of key historical periods or cultures and explore interdisciplinary themes such as sexuality, art, literature, science and technology, politics, and global interactions. Routledge Religion Handbooks provide comprehensive overviews of major world religions, key religious texts, inter-religious relations, important religious concepts, and religion in context. Faculty or Student Login Required

Oxford Biblical Studies Online

undefinedOxford Biblical Studies Online is a continually updated and comprehensive biblical studies resource. It contains six different translations of the Bible, and thousands of entries from various biblical dictionaries, encyclopedias, and commentaries - including entries from resources such as the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies.  Faculty or Student Login Required

Cambridge Histories- Religion

undefinedPresenting history as a continuous and evolutionary process, the Cambridge Histories offer a big picture perspective in each subject area, making them essential reading for anyone researching or studying a subject that has an historical element. Faculty or Student Login Required

undefinedPresenting history as a continuous and evolutionary process, the Cambridge Histories offer a big picture perspective in each subject area, making them essential reading for anyone researching or studying a subject that has an historical element. Faculty or Student Login Required

'A State-by-State History of Race and Racism in the United States' by Patricia Reid-Merritt

undefinedA State-by-State History of Race and Racism in the United States by Patricia Reid-Merritt provides chronologies of important events, historical narratives from the first settlement to the present, and biographies of major figures from each state. It offers readers an unseen look at the history of racism from the perspective of individual states throughout the history of the nation. Including the District of Columbia, the 51 entries cover the state-specific histories of all of the major minority and immigrant groups in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and Native Americans. Every state has had a unique experience in its attempts to build a community comprised of multiple racial groups. The chronologies, narratives, and biographies that compose the entries in this collection explore the consequences of racism from states' perspectives, revealing distinct new insights into their respective racial historiesFaculty or Student Login Required

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

undefinedThe Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) organizes the work of scholars from around the world in philosophy and related disciplines to create and maintain an up-to-date reference work. Each individual entry is created and maintained by scholars in the field. While not explicitly about theology, many theologians and theological concepts are addressed in the SEP. 

Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)

undefinedThe Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) provides qualitative data about religious practice. It also includes specific features for educators, journalists, religious congregations, and researchers to understand this data. Data included in the ARDA are submitted by the foremost religion scholars and research centers in the world.

Ask a Librarian

If you have any questions about the Meadville Lombard Library, just ask!

We can help with...

  • Checking out books
  • Finding articles
  • Requesting interlibrary loans
  • Using digital resources
  • Answering research and reference questions
  • Citing your work

Looking for more resources?

The resources described on this page are among our most used general resources. If you are looking for more specialized databases and resources, check out the link below. We have over 300 databases and other digital resources available.  

Selections from the A-Z Resources List

Bahá’í Reference Library

The Bahá’í Reference Library is the authoritative online source of Bahá’í writings. It contains selected works of Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice, as well as other Bahá’í texts.

Berman Jewish Databank

The Berman Jewish Databank at the Jewish Federations of North America acquires, archives and provides open access to quantitative studies and related materials on North American Jews and Jewish communities; promotes use of its resources by its stakeholders; and encourages transparency in the public release and reporting of research on North American Jewry.

Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity

The BDCC is an electronic database containing the essential biographical facts of Chinese and foreign Christian missionaries, church leaders, evangelists, and laity chiefly responsible for laying the foundations and advancing the growth of Chinese Christian communities and their influence in societies around the world. While the database is widely inclusive of time periods and faith traditions, the distinctive focus of the project is on the lesser-known Chinese Christians of the modern era (1800 to 1950).

Black Past

This 6,000 page reference center is dedicated to providing information to the general public on African American history and the history of more than one billion people of African ancestry around the world. We invite you to explore and use all the resources of BlackPast.

Buddhist Digital Resource Center

Buddhist Digital Resource Center (formerly Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center) is dedicated to preserving and sharing Buddhist texts through the union of technology and scholarship.

Coptic Encyclopedia

The Coptic Encyclopedia, with approximately 2800 entries written by 215 scholars, covers treasures of Coptic language and literature; Copto-Arabic literature; Coptic art, architecture, archaeology, history, music, liturgy, theology, spirituality, monasticism; and biblical, apocryphal, social, and legal texts. The encyclopedia was the fruit of years of effort on the part of its Editor-in-Chief, Aziz S. Atiya (1898-1988, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Utah), and its Principal Investigator, Lola Atiya (1917-2002, Doctor of Humane Letters). Donations by the Coptic communities in the Diaspora, a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1979 to 1990, along with numerous other sources, made the project possible.

Dictionary of African Christian Biography

The Dictionary of African Christian Biography (DACB.org) is an electronic, open-access resource that uses biography to document the 2000 year history of Christianity in Africa. This international, collaborative project is a response to the lack of historical information on the African figures who shaped this history. Biographical figures include men and women, clergy and lay people, Africans and expatriates from the full spectrum of communities that self-identify as Christian, from the beginning of the Christian era to the present, across the entire continent.

Dictionary of Social Research Methods

This new dictionary offers succinct, clear, expert explanations of key terms from both method and methodology in social research. It covers the whole range of qualitative, quantitative, and other methods, and it ranges from practical techniques like correlation up to methodological approaches such as ethnography. This wide-ranging approach enables it to cover terms needed by every social science discipline along with business and management, education, health, and other areas that encompass social research within their remit. This is an invaluable resource for students, academics, and professional researchers who undertake social research, or need to evaluate and present its results.

Disability Archive

The aim of the Disability Archive UK was established by Professor Colin Barnes to provide disabled people, students and scholars with an interest in this and related fields, access to the writings of those disability activists, writers and allies whose work may no longer be easily accessible in the public domain. It is hoped that the documents available via the Archive will help to inform current and future debates on disability and related issues.

Encyclopedia of Sikhism

The Encyclopedia of Sikhism is a 4 volume encyclopaedia on Sikhism prepared under the auspices of Punjabi University, Patiala by Professor Harbans Singh. The first volume of this work was initially released in 1992 by the President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma. The complete set of the 4-volume Encyclopaedia was released by Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in 1998. The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism was the first of its kind in the field of Sikh studies; it is comprehensive in its scope and includes entries to cover topics such as Sikh history, theology, philosophy, literature, art and architecture, customs and ceremonies, sects, personalities, shrines, etc.

Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (GAMEO)

GAMEO provides reliable information onAnabaptist-related (Amish,Mennonite,Hutterite,Brethren in Christ) topics, includinghistory, theology, biography, institutions and local congregations. Secular topics from anAnabaptist perspective andfull-text source documentsare also included. Produced by the Mennonite World Conference and other related societies.

Hymnary.org

Hymnary.org is an online hymn and worship music database for worship leaders, hymnologists, and amateur hymn lovers alike. At Hymnary.org you can search or browse hymns by title, tune, meter, key, scripture reference, and more. In partnership with The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, Hymnary.org now houses the Dictionary of North American Hymnology, adding over a million first lines of hymns, collected and organized by Leonard Ellinwood and later digitized by Mary Louise VanDyke and Paul Powell with the help of Hymn Society members all over the U.S and Canada -- making Hymnary.org the most complete database of North American hymnody on the planet.

JAINpedia.org

JAINpedia project began in 2007 with the vision of making the Jain collections in major UK institutions more accessible to the public. The ambitious plan opens up these important holdings through public exhibitions, events and a media-rich website featuring over 5,000 folios and original contextual material.

Pentecostal and Charismatic Research Archive (PCRA)

At different times and in different parts of the world, Pentecostal and charismatic expressions of Christianity have followed very different courses of development. A fuller contemporary account of these movements is possible if it is grounded in a better historical understanding of the variations from one time and place to another. To address this challenge, the Pentecostal and Charismatic Research Initiative (PCRI) is working with the USC Digital Library to build an online digital archive of primary historical materials - correspondence, organizational records, tracts, sermons, diaries, photographs, oral histories - from different regions of the world. In order to build this resource, PCRI is providing funding to selected seminary and university libraries so that they can digitize and catalog the most important materials from their collections.

Book Displays

Click the link below to check out the various book displays we update throughout the year. Current displays include new books, books written by faculty and alumni, and new books published by Skinner House.