By Ken Fox
Today I’m thinking about theology – not a typical concern in my job as a reference librarian in a legal library, but a friend quoted paleontologist and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to me on how spirit is infused into material life, and I feel like exploring that a bit.
I don’t imagine that Quicklaw or the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest will have much on this question (although no doubt some witty legal scholar can prove me wrong), so I will need to look elsewhere.
In earlier posts, I told you how to access a variety of non-legal databases available through the Saskatchewan public library system. Today’s featured database is the Expanded Academic Index (EAI – also known as Expanded Academic ASAP), where I hope to find materials on incarnation and spirit-matter fusion and possibly an article on de Chardin.
If you have been following the posts in this series, you are now proficient enough at finding these goodies. But for the rest of you, here are some ways to find the EAI:
To begin, I do a Basic Search for “Pierre Teilhard de Chardin” (with quote marks). As always with Gale, the results are organized by Content Type. The default display has Academic Journals (249) in the main pane, and the full results summarized at the top of the right-hand pane. In addition to the 249 journal articles there are 257 Magazines, 4 Books and 51 News items.
Below the content types are filters for Full Text, Publication Date, Subjects, Document Type, and Publication Title. Since I am looking for something to read right now, I fill in the “Full Text” tick-box. There are still 212 academic articles and 253 magazine articles – meaning the index consists largely of full-text documents, which makes my eyeballs happy.
Teilhard de Chardin appears as a Subject Heading with 8 associated records, so I click on that. I am now down to 8 journal articles, 13 magazine articles, two books, and one news item. The list is much shorter because these items are subject-coded with de Chardin – they are each about him, whereas the other articles for the most part merely mention him. If I wanted a slightly longer list of citations, and had time to go hunting for their source publications, I could de-select “Full Text” at any time.
But this is more than enough to get me going. The list of academic titles in particular fill my head with interest and questions – “God in the rocks,” “Biological evolution and the universality of spiritual experience,” “Deceiver, joker or innocent? Teilhard de Chardin and Piltdown Man,” “An ecumenical response to the Sunday-Monday gap.” The two “Book” results turn out to be copies of the same article from “Great Thinkers of the Western World.”
That last result, the encyclopedia article, is possibly no better than its equivalent in Wikipedia, or another free web page – but those 8 alluring academic articles, as well as most of the news content, cannot be googled, or even scholar-googled.
So if you, like me, get curious from time to time about those heavy, academicky topics (and don’t have easy access to a university library), then you need to put away childish things – Google, Blekko, Bling, DuckDuckGo, “Ask Jeaves” – and make friends with your Expanded Academic Index.