Metadata Analyst Profile and South Korea Spotlight: Su Hyeon Kang
by Todd Aiello/
February 03, 2023
One of the key features of Atla’s research tools that sets us apart from others in the religion and theology academic space is the expertise of our metadata analysts and editors. The Atla Metadata Team has ten indexers with graduate degrees in theology, religious studies, history, anthropology, philosophy, literature and languages, and the social sciences. Many also index areas of personal interest or research, such as sacred music or archeology. The team indexes in more than forty languages in total. Their expertise ensures that Atla can manage an extremely broad array of content at the highest level. Given the wide and varied accomplishments of the members of this team and their importance to our work, we have begun a regular feature on this blog in which we profile our metadata analysts and highlight some of the titles they are most excited about. This month, we will feature Su Hyeon Kang.
Su Hyeon grew up in Seoul, South Korea, a 5-minute walk from the Han River, where she has happy memories of family picnics and exercise on its banks. Her father was called to full-time ministry, and his role as a pastor brought the family further southwest of the river, near where she would eventually spend her college years. Favorite activities of her youth included church choir, Sunday school, youth group, and worship music, all of which inspired her to study the Word of God further.
Su Hyeon was also inspired by a love of learning languages in high school, where she studied German, Chinese and English in addition to Korean. This led to her studying Korean language and literature at Kyonggi University in Seoul, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree. She then followed her passion for the teachings of the Bible, studying theology and Biblical languages (Koine Greek and Classical Hebrew) and earning a Master of Divinity at Kukje Theological University & Seminary in Seoul. Experience volunteering at libraries and conducting research for her studies built an interest in librarianship, leading her to next pursue a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which she completed in 2015.
In the midst of earning these degrees, Su Hyeon’s career trajectory included several years as a Director of Children’s Ministry and choir director in Seoul, where she also gained experience preaching to adult congregations and built her knowledge in Christian education, missions, and practical theology in general. She also spent much of her early career working in libraries, including as a library assistant at Reformed Theological College, Geelong, Australia and at a branch of the Chicago Public Library, and as a data entry level cataloguer at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, and these roles further developed her interest in cataloging and subject analysis.
Around the time she was finalizing her MLIS degree, Su Hyeon applied for a part-time position with Atla’s digitization team. That position was filled, but Su Hyeon was then encouraged by Atla Director of Production Maria Stanton to apply for a full-time Metadata Analyst position instead, and having enjoyed studying Metadata while earning her MLIS, she agreed to interview. As she recalls, “Although it was called an ‘interview,’ it seemed more like my first day of work at Atla! I knew on that day that this job was for me.” She joined Atla in June 2015 as a Metadata Analyst and has enjoyed this role ever since.
In the early stage with Atla, she indexed journals related to Christian education, missions, and practical theology. Most journals were written in English, with a few journals in Chinese and German. Since 2016, when Atla started accepting Korean journals, the areas of coverage she indexed broadened to include Biblical hermeneutics, systematic theology, church history, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, and Korean Shamanism. In addition to deepening her knowledge of these topics through her work, she also enjoys refreshing her language skills in German and Chinese, as well as the Biblical languages such as Koine Greek and Classical Hebrew that she studied in college.
Outside of her work with Atla, Su Hyeon enjoys spending time at the “both calm and dynamic” Lake Michigan, which she says reminds her of the Han River where she spent so much of her childhood. She continues to enjoy singing and does so with her church choir. She lives in the greater Chicagoland area with her husband, who is a scholar of Hebrew languages, their two high-school-age sons, and their two turtles.
When asked what role Atla fills in the theology and religion space, Su Hyeon said, “I believe Atla is at the forefront of bridging the gap not only between scholars and religious practitioners as we index academic research articles and religious magazines, which are relevant resources documenting current trends, but also between religions as we add more titles on Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Shamanism, folk religions, and new religious movements. This bridging work has expanded from topical subject matter to geography to include titles from different countries. When I talked with some Korean scholars who studied theology in the U.S., they said that the Atla Religion Database was their main research tool and that they were glad that Atla wanted to include Korean titles.”
Su Hyeon is excited to report on several titles she is indexing that will be joining Atla’s research tools soon, including a journal on Korean shamanism, another on Korean Islam, and a third on new religions of and in Korea. The journal on Korean shamanism, launched in 1999, presents research on Korean Shamanism in conjunction with the study of ethnology and comparative religion. The journal on Korean Islam, with its first volume published in 1989, seeks to provide in-depth research on Islam and religion not from Christian western scholars’ perspectives but from Asian Islamic scholars’ perspectives (mostly Korean Islamic scholars). The journal on new religions of and in Korea, established in 1999, provides scholarly interpretations and examinations of new religions not only in Korea but also in other countries from the perspective of Korean scholars. Please keep an eye out for updates regarding these titles in the near future.
In honor of Su Hyeon’s home country and recognizing its growing role as a source of religious and
theological scholarship, we would like to highlight several recent additions to our research tools from South Korea.
Titles Related to Korean Church History
- 한국교회사학회지, published by The Church History Society In Korea, is a journal that was
established by the Church History Society following its founding in 1966 as an academic
community. It serves the purpose of reading the times from the perspective of church history to serve as a prophetic voice for the church’s and society’s future. Indexed in Atla Religion
Database® (Atla RDB®).
- 교회사학, published by 천주교 수원교구 유지재단 소속 수원교회사연구소 (Suwon Church
History Institute), discusses the history of the Catholic Church in South Korea and the Suwon
Diocese in particular, compiling the history of each parish, public office, and sacred place within in order to further the development of faith and culture. Indexed in Atla RDB®.
Titles related to Catholicism in South Korea
- 가톨릭신학, published by 한국가톨릭신학학회 [Catholic Theological Association of Korea],
aims to establish the identity of the Korean Catholic Church in the 21 st century and develop open churches, open education, and theology to meet the needs of the present age. It lays the
groundwork for the development of theology and for the indigenization of Catholic theology in
Korean society, thereby helping Catholic theologians to promote exchanges with domestic and
foreign academic societies. Notably, it was the first Korean Catholic journal to be licensed with
Atla. Indexed in Atla RDB®, full text available in AtlaSerials PLUS® (Atlas PLUS®).
- Theological Perspective, published by 광주가톨릭대학교 신학연구소 (Gwangju Catholic
University Institute for Theology), was established to testify the Christian faith according to the times through professional research on Catholic theology and to provide Christian insight to the Catholic Church and Korean society, and to broaden the horizon of understanding of theology through topics such as philosophy, psychology, history, and sociology. Indexed in Atla RDB®.
Titles related to Buddhism and Confucianism
- The Journal of the Korean Association for Buddhist Studies, published by 한국불교학회 [Korean Association for Buddhist Studies], is a forum that serves as a place where scholars of Buddhism can actively debate and exchange ideas. The KABS endeavors to enhance our understanding of Buddhism through rigorous academic research and discussion. Indexed in Atla RDB®.
- The Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture, published by Sungkyunkwan University, is the only peer-reviewed, English language journal dedicated exclusively to research concerning the history and contemporary relevance of Confucianism. Indexed in Atla RDB®, full text available in Atlas PLUS®.
Titles related to religion and culture
- 종교와 문화, published by 서울대학교 종교문제연구소 [Seoul National University Religious
Studies Institute], seeks to motivate academic research into the various phenomena and
functions of religion and culture and to extend interest in the field. The periodical was founded in 1995 in response to wide demand in religious and academic circles for a professional academic journal on religious issues. Indexed in Atla RDB®.
- 문학과 종교, published by 한국문학과종교학회 [The Korean Society for Literature and
Religion], aims to explore the contents of literary works written in diverse languages from a
scholarly view. Its goal is to further the study of literature while exploring mankind’s existential quest to understand reality as well as interdisciplinary issues facing religion and literature. Indexed in Atla RDB®.
- 인격주의 생명윤리, published by 가톨릭생명윤리연구소 (Catholic Institute of Bioethics), aims
to introduce research papers based on personalistic bioethics and promote discussions that
contribute to the practice of respect for life and the establishment of health and medical
policies. Indexed in Atla RDB®.
Keep an eye out for future spotlights highlighting our research tools from other countries and regions. We will continue to spotlight these titles and invite you to let us know about subjects you’d like to read about in the future.
More information about coverage and how to access Atla’s trusted research tools on religion and
theology here: https://www.atla.com/research/
You can find full title lists, updated monthly, for all our products at the following
For more information on how content is evaluated and to learn how to recommend a title for inclusion
in Atla’s research tools: https://www.atla.com/for-publishers/evaluation-rdb/
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