Category Archives: Research Tips

Accessing Biblical Commentaries as a Distance Student

by Melody Detar, Divinity Librarian

Venerable Bede (672-735). English monk, historian, and Biblical commentator.

Venerable Bede (672-735). English monk, historian, and Biblical commentator.

Biblical commentaries are an expensive, yet essential part of theological research. Since theological publishers have been slow to release commentaries and other theological resources digitally, students must often still rely on print materials for their research (although it never hurts to check for ebook versions as well!). Here are our tips for accessing commentaries as a distance student:

  1. The first thing to remember is to start your research early! Although you may take time in actually writing your paper, we recommend that you aim to gather the necessary resources as early as possible. This is so that you provide adequate time to ensure the resources you need are available and that there is time to acquire what you need.
  2. Select what resources meet your needs. If you are overwhelmed by the vast number of commentaries that are available, you are not alone! That is why the Regent University Library provides a research guide specifically aimed at helping you locate commentaries. This guide also houses a list of recommended commentaries developed by School of Divinity faculty.
  3. Request your selected resources through InterLibrary Loan (ILL). ILL can either ship circulating books to your home or provide resources electronically. When requesting commentaries, the book chapter option is recommended because the ILL department will scan up to 100 pages of a book and make it available as a PDF. This is faster than shipping books and is absolutely free of charge! Keep in mind that you do not need specific page numbers when entering a request; you can simply reference a passage, such as “Mark 9:14-29.”
  4. Consider local libraries. If you live near a theological library, you may prefer to browse their materials and check out books, if that option is available. The Regent University Library is now part of a reciprocal borrowing group composed of a growing list of theological libraries nationwide. Check if a theological library near you is part of the group and you will have free access to their materials and permission to check out books. If you do not find a library near you on the list, you may consider using ILL at a local public library or you may purchase a card to check out books at a local theological library. The Regent Library will reimburse our distance students up to $100 per year for an academic library card. Click here for more information and a reimbursement form.
  5. As always, contact a librarian if you have trouble finding what you need. We are excited to help you succeed!

The Library doesn’t have what I need!

by Melody Detar, Divinity Librarian

But I need that article!

But I need that article!

Nearly all students have experienced the frustration of learning about a book or article that is perfectly suited for their research – only to discover the Library does not own it. On the 2014 Customer Satisfaction Survey, we received several comments from students who have experienced this situation, such as these:

  • “As I can only access the e-version, there are many resources which I need that are not available online.”
  • “The Library has a great selection of resources; however it doesn’t always have the journal publications or books that I’ve needed for my research.”
  • “The databases don’t always pull up the articles needed for research.”

So when you are conducting research and discover a book that would be perfect for your project or an article with a citation but no full text, what should you do? Here are some tips:

When you can’t find the full-text for an article:
Sometimes, you may come across information about a journal article in one database, but find that it does not have the full text. The Full Text Journal Finder is a tool for determining whether the Regent University Library has the full-text of a particular periodical (journal, magazine, or newspaper) in any of our 170+ databases. Simply type the name of the journal (not the article) in the search bar to see if and where the periodical is available in our online databases or in print.

When you need a book or article not in the Regent Library:
If you need a book that is not in our catalog, or an article from a periodical that does not show up in the Full Text Journal Finder, request it through InterLibrary Loan (ILL). In most cases, our ILL team can procure the articles you need and deliver them to you in PDF in 1-2 business days. Most book requests take under a week to fulfill. Distance students can also use ILL to have books shipped from the Regent Library to their home at no charge. The only cost to you is to ship them back if you will not be visiting the Regent campus before the due date. (Keep in mind, we allow up to five renewals as long as they are not needed by another patron.) Distance students may now request that up to two books per term be shipped to them from libraries other than Regent.

The librarians are committed to supporting the research and studies of the Regent community, so if there is a book or journal that supports your long-term research projects or teaching, let us know! We understand that borrowing items via ILL is sufficient for many course projects, but major research projects or new courses necessitate that we have the book on hand. We are happy to take requests for book and journal purchases here.

Image Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest, “Frustrated Irish girl looking at computer,” accessed 11 Mar 2015,

Research Liaisons: At Your Service

by Sara Baron, Ed.D., Dean of the University Library

Many people start their library research with the indefatigable Google. However, in the library world we agree with author Neil Gaiman that, “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”

On the 2015 Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS), we received several comments from students who are not sure where to turn with discipline-specific research problems. Here are two sample remarks:

  • “[The reference service] was somewhat helpful, but I think I kept asking librarians for source advice in subjects they weren’t as familiar with.”
  • “[Just] like students have an academic adviser, give each student an academic librarian that they can go to for help on particularly difficult projects, so they have a friend at the library.”

Yes, you have a friend at the Library. For each discipline at Regent, there is a Library Liaison who specializes in research in that subject and can help you find the best possible information for your projects. See the table below to find the research specialist in your discipline. Feel free to contact them directly or request help through our Ask a Librarian page. Whether student or faculty, your Library liaisons are standing by to help you succeed at Regent.


Research has shown that students with a GPA of 3.5 and higher frequently state that working with a librarian has helped them succeed.1 Library liaisons will:

  • Save you time by directing you to the best resources.
  • Meet with you online (Skype or Google Hangouts), over the phone, or in person.
  • Help you develop information finding and evaluating skills that will serve you well in your academic and professional careers.


Are you aware of the services your Library liaisons provide? These include:

  • Acquiring resources for your research and classes.
  • Developing research guides for your courses, or even a particular assignment, such as a big research project.
  • Teaching your students research skills in your classroom, in the Library, or online.
  • Helping you embed Library tools into your Blackboard courses.

A study published in Libraries and the Academy found that university faculty consider four functions of their libraries’ liaison program to be especially important:2

  1. Communicating with teaching faculty.
  2. Providing library services.
  3. Responding to faculty requests.
  4. Providing research expertise in the discipline.

The Library liaisons at Regent provide all these services and more!

Regent University Library Liaison Responsibilities for Instruction, Developing Research Guides, and Collection Development – 2014-2015:

Disciplines (Undergraduate & Graduate)

Library Faculty

Business & Leadership

Business Administration, Organizational Leadership, Strategic Leadership, Business, Leadership Studies, Economics

Harold Henkel


Communication, Cinema-TV, Journalism, Theatre, Animation

Instruction & Research Guides
Harold Henkel

 Collection Development
Sara Baron


Practical Theology, Theological Studies, Divinity, Ministry, Renewal Studies, Biblical and Theological Studies, Christian Ministry, Theology, Youth Ministry

Melody Detar


All programs, including: Curriculum & Instruction (including Curriculum Collection), School Administration, Higher Education, English Secondary Education, Interdisciplinary Studies (PreK-6 teacher licensure), Math Secondary Education

Sandy Yaegle


Harold Henkel

Foreign Languages/Studies

Hispanic Studies, French & Spanish

Harold Henkel

Research Guides &
Collection Development
Georgi Bordner


Government, Public Administration, International Studies, American Government & Politics, Homeland & International Security, International Relations & Foreign Policy, Political Philosophy

Jason Stuart


Harold Henkel

Information Systems Technology, Mathematics,

Biophysical Sciences

Jason Stuart

Psychology & Counseling

Human Services Counseling, Psychology, Criminal Justice

Instruction & Research Guides

Psyc/Coun- Sandy Yaegle

CJ- Jason Stuart

Collection Development
Sara Baron


1Steven Bell, “Keep Them Enrolled: How Academic Libraries Contribute to Student Retention,” Library Issues, 29, no. 1 (2008),

2Julie Arendt and Megan Lotts, “What Liaisons Say about Themselves and What Faculty Say about Their Liaisons, a U.S. Survey,” Libraries and the Academy 12, no. 2 (2012),

Easy eBooks

by Sandra Yaegle, Head of Public Services

Feedback Express

Each year on the Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS), we receive comments from students who like ebooks (and would like us to buy more) and from others who find them difficult to use and wish we would just stick with printed copies. Here are two comments from the 2014 CSS:

  • “It will help students tremendously with papers, if the library has more ebooks available.”
  • “Reading ebooks is difficult and not user friendly. Having a real book is much nicer, and I have used a purchased book rather than use the ebook.”

The Library currently has over 300,000 ebooks in the collection, and it is becoming easier to find and read them. The first thing you may be asking is how to locate them. The best way to search for ebooks is to use either the Library Catalog or One Search. See our Locating e-Books page for tips on using the Catalog or One Search to find e-books.

All of our e-book collections provide the same full-text access as the printed version. Most of our ebooks also allow you the option of reading online or downloading it to your computer or mobile device. Our Downloading eBooks page has video tutorials that will show you how to do this.

Although nothing quite replaces the feel and smell of paper and ink, ebooks have some nifty features of their own: Some of our ebooks allow you to take notes, look up words in a dictionary, or search for key words or topics inside the book.

For a complete list of ebook collections in the Library, see our ebook Collections page. For your convenience, this page also lists free ebook and audiobook sites on the Web

“There is absolutely no difference between a hardcover book or an audiobook or a multimedia book application. There is no difference between a high quality paper or e-ink screen or a high-resolution Retina display. The biggest pleasure comes from what we read, not from on what we read.”*

Happy reading.


*Piotr Kowalczyk, “50 Most Inspiring Quotes about Books and Reading” Ebook Friendly, 2015,

Finding Scholarly Journals

Feedback Express

In the 2014 Customer Satisfaction Survey, we received a number of comments from students regarding both the ease of access and quantity of our scholarly journal collection. Here are three examples:

  • “I have trouble finding some articles and journals I need.”
  • “Clearer web directions for journals would be helpful.”
  • “The library is very limited when it comes to journals.”

To address the question of access first, finding scholarly journals in full-text is easy, using the Full-Text Journal Finder. This tool indexes all journals, magazines, and newspapers for which the Library databases provide full-text coverage. For most databases, the Full-Text Journal Finder not only points to the correct database, but even links directly to the desired periodical within the database.

Divinity librarian Melody Detar has made a quick YouTube video on this important resource:

With regard to the number of scholarly journals in the Library, we have significantly decreased the quantity of periodicals in print form in recent years in order to subscribe to the greatest possible number of online databases and journals. Our databases currently provide full-text access to more than 270,000 periodicals.

InterLibrary Loan to the Rescue!

In 1815 Thomas Jefferson argued that the Congress required a great library for the reason that “there is…no subject to which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.” Like Jefferson, we consider that there is no subject to which a researcher at Regent might not explore, and our InterLibrary Loan team works to ensure that you get the books and articles they need, even if they are not in the University Library.

When you come across a journal to which the Library does not have full-text access, simply place your request through the ILLiad system. In most cases, our InterLibrary Loan team can get the article you need in only 1-3 days. You can also request that we purchase a subscription to a journal using our online Suggest a Title for Purchase form.