ATLA Selected Religion Web Sites Project  


The ATSRW project is designed to make selected web sites in theology and religion accessible through local OPACs. The project is limited to freely accessible web sites and does not include subscription databases, e-books, or e-journals (unless the web site is a portal to these types of works). The association based program distributes the labor-intensive tasks of selecting the sites (collection development), creating bibliographic records in OCLC (cataloging), and updating records to reflect the dynamic nature of internet resources (maintenance). The records will be available for purchase through OCLC as a WorldCat Collection Set. Link to online order form. Records are added quarterly as subsets. Institutions can purchase subsets individually or create a standing order to receive subsets as they are added to the collection set. Significant changes in web sites (i.e. title or url changes) that require revisions to the records will be reported on this web site. Institutions can edit local records or purge subsets from their OPACs to be replaced with an updated version.

Why catalog web sites? 

Scholarly Web Sites have become increasingly numerous in the past decade, but efforts to provide access to patrons through conventional methods are problematic.  Much of this is due to the fluid nature of web sites that resists traditional methods of bibliographic control.  Although multiple approaches have been implemented to aid patrons in finding relevant web sites in their research interests, none has emerged as a tool that would be equally viable for both patrons who are computer savvy and the more traditional library patrons. Until such a tool is created, many of our libraries will rely on multiple methods of access to the Web in the hopes that most of our users will find one method or another fruitful. 
The argument for creating MARC records for web sites and downloading them into local OPACs rests on the undisputed role of the library catalog as the essential tool for directing researchers to scholarly resources. Items in a library's collection (physical and virtual) are selected, collocated and given subject analysis to aid the researcher in finding resources in diverse formats. Many web sites are valuable resources that will be missed if they are not included among the other formats found in our libraries.

Brief history  

The ideas for this project were first proposed at the 2001 Annual Conference of the American Theological Library Association. At the 2003 Annual Conference, a group of interested members formed a listserv. During the following months, the groundwork was laid to establish a collaborative project. Negotiations with OCLC resulted in the acceptance of the project as a WorldCat Collection Set. The 2004 annual conference provided the setting for a workshop in cataloging electronic web sites and a roundtable to discuss the project and recruit participants.


The project listserv will serve as the communication tool as the project continues to evolve. Three groups will divide the responsibility of selecting, cataloging, and maintaining the integrity of the information in the records (periodically review for valid url's and changes to the title, content, etc.). All ATLA members will be invited to participate as a member of one of the three groups or through submission of web sites to the selector group to consider for inclusion in the collection set.  

Join the listserv

Subscription to the Managing the Web listerv is by request to the list administrator.  Please submit your request here.   Use the phrase "subscribe to managing the web" in the subject line.
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