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History of the database

 

The database Index theologicus (IxTheo) informs with reliable and comprehensive information about published literature from journals and Festschriften in Theology and Religious Studies from the entire world. It uses as its base the literature which the Tübingen University Library acquires within the scope of its special collection in Theology and General and Comparative Religious Studies, as part of its commission and with support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). Within this collection are, among other things, approximately 2000 currently published periodicals, three fourths of which come from countries other than Germany. Festschriften and congress publications in this area are also extensively collected.

Part of being a library with an area of special collection, includes, not only collecting literature within that area, but also the dissemination of information on that collection. The Tübingen University Library has always complied with this obligation in an exemplary manner. As a result, since 1973 monthly lists about the newly acquired monographs in Theology and General Religious Studies have been published.

In 1975 the Zeitschrifteninhaltsdienst Theologie (ZID) was founded. It was primarily a current-contents-service, which printed the contents of the most important periodicals within the special collection area. Its reading gave a quick overview of the newest articles in Theology and Religious Studies. Every year and every five years cumulative indices of the authors, the personal subject headings, and the textual subject headings (for biblical texts) in the registered articles gave the ZID the qualities of a running bibliography, which was suitable throughout for retrospective research. ZID has hardly changed its outward appearance over two decades. However, it has consistently improved in terms of content. Since the number of assessed periodicals has steadily increased, the periodical market regarding literature in theology and religious studies is constantly monitored by the Tübingen University Library, and each newly published periodical is checked for its appropriateness for inclusion in ZID. In the course of its publication, ZID has acquired a vast number of friends throughout the world. One can no longer omit it from the landscape of bibliography and information in the area of theology and religious studies.

The year 1995 marks a breaking point in the history of ZID. At a glance this is first seen through an entirely new form in the printed issue which is published monthly, however, excluding the usual indices from 1997 on. They were from that point no longer produced conventionally, instead generated from a database which has been under constant construction since 1994. This encompasses principally the data which has been reproduced in the printed ZID issues from the 21st year of publication (1995). Furthermore, the bibliographic records from the older, conventionally produced ZID issues before 1995 are being successively inserted into the database. In 1998 the printed version was complemented by an Internet current-awareness service.

The printed version is being phased out at the end of 2000.

Since the middle of 1995 this database has been directly distributed. During its short history, it has not only reached a considerable size, it has also won numerable subscribers throughout the world. It grows by approximately 2000 titles per month, two-thirds of which are recent article entries, the rest the retrocatalogisation from the conventionally produced issues. Currently, some 600 periodicals are being constantly indexed. Moreover, selected Festschriften, published from 1995 on, and congress publications, published from 1999 on, are being added. The contents of the assessed sources are almost completely displayed. Omitted from the information are solely reviews - however, detailed reviews are included - as well as, as a rule, devotional and belletristic texts (sermons, meditations, poems) and short notices about congresses. The name of the database was changed to Index theologicus (IxTheo) in 2002.

The database Index theologicus is not a static size. This goes not only for its list of individual entries, which constantly grows, but includes as well the quality of its assessment, which has also consistently improved. The result from this is that in the database there are several types of literature listings which are clearly differentiated from one another:

·                     The retro-listing of title entries from the old style of print ZIDs, which are recorded via machine, one can easily recognise as having their source in a current contents list. So, for example, only the page is given upon which the article begins, not the bibliographically correct page numbering. Relevant development extends here only to the allocation of personal subject headings as well as of textual subject headings for biblical and parabiblical texts. Still, these minimal inventories are an important source for bibliographic research because retro-listing in the scope of the possible is being continued.

·                     A clear forward jump is marked by the description of those documents indexed from May 1995 on. They are made accessible not only through the development of the personal and textual subject headings - but also with a system of classification: through a general classification with verbal entry possibility which allows, for example, literature to be selected about a specific theological discipline or on a wider theme.

·                     In addition, further improvements in quality have successively been added. As a result the full bibliographic page numeration has been entered in the description of article descriptions from December 1995 on.

·                     Since March 1996, descriptions of recent documents - in addition to the heretofor developed components - are made accessible through subject headings on the basis of the Schlagwortnormdatei (SWD), the German normative file of subject headings. With this the database Zeitschrifteninhaltsdienst Theologie fulfills all aspects of a comprehensive subject search mechanism - at least in its newer levels.

 

Though the database in its beginning was exclusively distributed as an installable diskette series, its great quantitative growth made, after two years, the choice of the CD-ROM as a more adequate storing medium necessary. The CD-ROM version was being distributed by the Library itself from 1997 to 2001. From 2002 to 2006, the database was being published by Mohr Siebeck. Since 2006, the database is exclusively published online. On demand, it is availbale as a specially mad CD-R.

 

The database could never have been produced without manifold help which has been alloted to me from both far and near, and for which I would now like to express my gratitude:

 

·                     In particular, I thank the German Catholic Episcopal Conference, which beginning in 1998 grants financial support to the theological documentation of the Tübingen University Library. Thanks to this assistance, we have been able to put the work of theological documentation here on a solid foundation. With this support, the Catholic Church in Germany has filled the breach left by the short-sighted government information politics, which has refused to support documentation in this important field of scholarship and thus brought to an end the promising initiative of the THEODOK project (1980-1981);

·                     The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, who made possible, for the Tübingen University Library, not only the extensive acquisition of theological and religious studies literature, but also aided financially the planning and construction phases of this database;

·                     The allegro Development Division within the Braunschweig University Library whose software the database uses, and its director, Mr. Bernhard Eversberg, for his steady helpfulness;

·                     Dr. Thomas Riplinger (Tübingen University Library) for helping with the creation of the classification;

·                     The IxTheo-team members Cornelia Grotz, Dr. Christian Herrmann, Martina Kellmeyer, Susanne Schanbacher and Dr. Thomas Riplinger for their constant engagement with the construction of the database. Happy the «Supervisor» who has such co-workers;

·                     The student assistents who have taken part in the production of the database in alphabetical order: Karen Annemaier, Sonja Dobler, Manuela Hils, Wiebke Johannsen, Verena Lenkner, Martin Nehr, Martin Roeder, Beate Schulze and Christine Weber for the often sacrificing, conscientious and engaged work in the data entry.

 

 

Tübingen, January, 2007                                                               

The Redactor of the Database