Category Archives: Library Faculty Recommendations

Library Faculty Recommendations: SimplyMap

SimplyMap image of S.E. Virginia and N.E. North Carolina with census tracksWritten by Marta Lee, Associate Librarian

A new Library database, SimplyMap, by Geographic Research provides Regent students and faculty with powerful tools for creating professional quality thematic maps and reports using demographic, business, and marketing data. SimplyMap turns complex data into valuable information that can be easily accessed and stored through a web-based, user-friendly interface.

SimplyMap creates a base map for the user to visually display material available from the census bureau. Variables include data from 1980, 1990, and 2000 censuses; data estimates from 2007 and 2008; as well as projections for 2011, 2012, and 2013. Users may also research consumer expenditures, business counts, market segments, retail sales, and quality of life. SimplyMap makes these complex data sources understandable and communicable through maps, tables, and reports.

As an example of the power of SimplyMap to enhance a research project, my most recent article, “Wild West Libraries” involved a study of public libraries in southwest Kansas. SimplyMap allowed me to show the percentage the population by county living in rural areas:

SimplyMap demographic analysis of SW Kansas

To begin using SimplyMap, log in from the Library database page. After logging in, you will need to set up a personal account in SimplyMap. After viewing the introductory video about the database, I recommend taking it for a spin and making a few maps. SimplyMap has a very gentle learning curve, and after 15-20 minutes you should have the know-how to dazzle your next PowerPoint audience with a professional looking thematic map!

Library Faculty Recommendations: Finding Bible Commentaries

Written by Robert Sivigny, University Librarian

Bible commentaries are a key resource for biblical opinion on a topic or text. They are indispensable for nearly every School of Divinity research paper, whether the topic is doctrinal, ethical, pastoral, or textual. This article will discuss how to find commentaries in print and then explore where online full-text Bible commentaries may be found.

Considering the number of Bible commentaries in print, selecting the best ones is an important process, often ignored. Bible commentaries at the Regent Library are arranged on the shelf by book of the Bible-Genesis through Revelation. Currently, for example, there are approximately fifteen shelves devoted to commentaries on the book of Genesis. A guide, Selected Resources for Old and New Testament Studies, by Drs. Pannell and Holman, is excellent for identifying good scholarly Bible commentaries. This forty-seven page guide, arranged by book of the Bible, is available online on the Library Divinity & Religion Subject Guides. Select the Websites tab, then Bibliographies and Guides. A copy is also available for loan at the Reference Desk.

Suppose, for example, you are looking for the best commentaries on the book of Jeremiah. A check in the Jeremiah section shows twenty-six commentaries, with an asterisk beside the most highly recommended titles. Off-campus students should browse this list, identify the commentaries they want, and request them through the Regent Interlibrary Loan.An Annotated Guide to Biblical Resources for Ministry, by David R. Bauer

While there are several other good commentary selection guides, I recommend David Bauer’s, An Annotated Guide to Biblical Resources for Ministry. Bauer, a biblical studies professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, organizes his recommendations into four sections: the whole Bible, the Old Testament, Early Judaism, and the New Testament. The Old and New Testament sections are further arranged by book of the Bible. Bauer includes useful descriptive paragraphs on his recommended commentaries. Bauer always follows his recommended list with a second list of other significant commentaries, giving a fuller picture of what is available on each book of the Bible.

While researchers have an abundance of scholarly commentaries in print to choose from, finding full-text commentaries online remains a challenge. There are a number of older commentaries online, including those by Adam Clarke, Matthew Henry, and Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown. These are available on sites such as and, but I hasten to say that these should not be used for School of Divinity research papers! The best scholarly online commentary series currently on the Web is the IVP New Testament Commentary series at Not all the books of the New Testament are available, but sixteen are. The IVP New Testament Commentary series can be accessed by selecting Additional Resources on the left-hand side bar of the homepage.

NetLibrary, available from the Regent library databases collection, currently offers the Believer’s Church Bible Commentary series published by Herald Press, a Mennonite publisher. The series states in its forward that it is published “for all who seek more fully to understand the original message of Scripture and its meaning for today-Sunday School teachers, members of Bible study groups, students, pastors, and others.” The series can be viewed by opening the Advanced Search option within Netlibrary. With the advanced search menu displayed, type, “commentary” on the first line as a title search and, “bible,” on the second line as a subject search.

Ebrary Academic Complete, another electronic book collection available from the Library databases, also offers a few commentaries that might be of assistance. After logging into Ebrary, click on the advanced search option on the left-hand menu and type “commentary” as a title search and “bible” as a subject search. Currently, five works are available, not all commentaries: Theodoret of Cyrus’ Commentary on Daniel, Diodore of Tarsus’ Commentary on Psalm 1-51, Laura Lieber’s Study Guide to the JPS Bible Commentary: Haftarot, Eliezer Segel’s From Sermon to Commentary: Expounding the Bible in Talmudic Babylonia, and Daniel Frank’s Search Scripture Well: Karaite Exegetes and the Origins of the Jewish Bible Commentary in the Islamic East.

Both the netlibrary and ebrary Academic Complete may offer more full-text commentaries in the future, so it is a good idea to check these collections from time to time. Fore more help in locating scholarly resources on the Bible, contact the Reference Desk or e-mail Bob Sivigny, librarian for Divinity, at

Library Faculty Recommendations: Popular Collection

Written by Georgianne Bordner, University Librarian

Are you looking forward to Christmas break, when you’ll have time to read something that’s not required for your classes? Be sure to check out the Library’s Popular Collection, now located at the top of the stairs near Room 213. This small collection contains a wide variety of books that are perfect for leisure reading, including a few popular non-fiction books such as The Purpose-Driven Life and a number of Christian biographies, in addition to the Christian fiction that forms the bulk of the collection.The Curate's Awakening, by George MacDonald

Those who enjoy classic Christian fiction might be interested in the works of Scottish Victorian novelist and clergyman George MacDonald, who influenced C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkein, G. K. Chesterton, and other popular authors. Some of his best-known works are his fantasies Phantastes and Lilith, both located in the Library’s general collection, but he is also recognized for his realistic “theological novels,” which are well represented in the Popular Collection. Most of the editions found in the Popular Collection have been updated for modern readers by editor Michael Phillips. These include The Curate’s Awakening, originally titled Thomas Wingfold, Curate, which may be one of MacDonald’s best-loved novels. Like most of his works, this story of an agnostic clergyman who eventually comes to faith through a series of dramatic events contains many spiritual truths as well as a good story.

Those who prefer something more contemporary may enjoy Terri Blackstock’s suspense novels, which weave themes of faith and interpersonal relationships into exciting mystery stories. For example, in Private Justice, the first volume in the Newpointe 911 series, a fireman and his wife work to save their marriage and renew their commitment to God while trying to catch a serial killer. In addition to this title, the Library holds the rest of this series, the popular Restoration series, and other titles by this popular author.The Crown and the Crucible, by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella

Finally, fans of historical fiction might like the works of Michael Phillips and Judith Pella. If you are interested in Russian history and culture and are looking forward to the events surrounding the Big Read of Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich, you may be interested in Phillips’ and Pella’s series The Russians. Set in pre-revolutionary Russia, this series follows the saga of two families, one aristocratic and one peasant, setting their fictional stories in the true historical framework of the period. You’ll want to start with volume one, The Crown and the Crucible, and continue reading all seven volumes of the series.

If none of these suggestions appeal to you, don’t worry – The Popular Collection contains a wide variety of other popular titles from which to choose. Come see for yourself!


Library Faculty Recommendations: Finding playscripts

Written by Jon Ritterbush, Associate Librarian

Locating the full-text of playscripts can sometimes be challenging, but with the addition of new online resources at Regent University Library, the prospects for finding these scripts has improved.

If you know the title or author of a play you’re searching for…

the best starting point is often the library catalog.  A keyword search for a play such as Our Town may yield some helpful results including performances on VHS or DVD, and printed copies in other anthologies.   Even though the titles of some of these books may not include the phrase Our Town, it’s possible this play will be listed in the table of contents or other notes, which are captured through a keyword search. For an example, see this link to “Twelve American Plays” in the library catalog, and click on the More Details tab to discover which plays are included in this book.

If your catalog searches produce no results, or if you want to browse for plays…

Play Index is an excellent database for searching by title, author, subject, casting mix or genre.   Play Index includes citations for over 30,000 plays written since antiquity and published after 1949.   As a sample of its scope, Play Index identifies 52 plays with a subject of “crucifixion,” 90 plays about “prejudice,” and 118 plays about “poverty.”

Most citations within Play Index will include a brief abstract of the play, the number of acts andor scenes, the number of cast members, and additional subject descriptors.   Play Index does not contain full-text playscripts, but it does provide a helpful link labeled “Find this play in a book”.

Screen capture from Play Index

Following this link will lead to a list of titles where this play is published, including any anthologies or collections of plays.  For example, someone searching Play Index for Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard would learn there are 39 books that include the full text of this play, some of which are here at Regent according to the library catalog.

If you are looking for full-text playscripts online…

try this new database at Regent University Library: Twentieth Century North American Drama. This database provides full text to over 1,200 plays, and like Play Index, has the ability to browse by author, subject and date. Some 37 works of Thornton Wilder, including Our Town, are available in full-text through this database, as well as other works by American authors such as Zora Neale Hurston, Booth Tarkington and Langston Hughes.

Library Faculty Recommendations: eAudiobooks

Written by Harold Henkel, Assistant Librarian

Recorded Books logoIf you have ever found your self lamenting the time spent commuting to and from work, the University Library has an answer: eAudiobooks. With 2,080 titles in our collection, there is something for every taste. Subjects covered include biography & memoir, business, classics, government & politics, health & medicine, history, lectures, mystery, popular fiction, religion & spirituality, and science fiction. The collection also includes the complete Bible (with deuterocanonical books) and 162 foreign language and ESL courses by Pimsleur Language Programs. All of these audiobooks, except for the language programs, are narrated by professional actors and are a pleasure to listen to in your car or on your morning run.

Pimsleur logoTo use eAudiobooks, you will need to set up a free account inside this database. If you already have an account in netLibrary, you can use this username & password, since eAudiobooks is part of netLibrary. Once you have an account, you can download titles to your Windows Media Player and then sync them to your mp3 player. Unfortunately, eAudiobooks are currently not compatible with iTunes. eAudiobook files will play for 21 days from the download date and can be renewed online.

While listening to books is a different experience from reading, the Library’s eAudiobook collection is one way for overworked students (and faculty) to reconnect with books purely for enjoyment.