By Mariah Lewis, Metadata Management Librarian
In April 2021, the Fordham University Library became a contributor to the American Theological Library Association (Atla) Digital Library. This status allows the Fordham Digital Collections to be even more searchable and develop stronger access points among the religious and theological research communities.
Fordham’s Digital Collections
The Fordham Libraries’ Digital Collections contains over 50 unique collections and over 60,000 items. The mission of the Fordham University Digital Collections is to aggregate, archive, and showcase content that has value to the Fordham University community. Outside the Fordham community, the Digital Collections serve as a way to connect and support the global wealth of knowledge. The collections range from The Ram and Observer newspapers, to archival objects within the library, and beyond. The types of content range from oral histories and recordings to photographs and documents. The interdisciplinary nature of the collection and the diversity of file types allows for a rich and dimensional experience.
Through the years, the Digital Collections have been upgraded to create a more cohesive research experience. These upgrades have been highlighted in previous posts, but include searchable closed captioning, improved faceted searching, date range searching, and more.
Atla & Atla Digital Collections
The American Theological Library Association (Atla) is a membership association for librarians and information professionals that dates back to 1946. Atla welcomes library members from academic institutions around the country who have a strong foundation in religious and theological research. Member organizations benefit from Atla’s resources for research, outreach, and professional development.
One of the benefits of Atla membership is the ability to contribute to their projects and use their resources. The Atla Digital Library is one of these projects. Currently, five Fordham collections can be searched within the Atla Digital Library. This includes Jesuits in Conversation, Avery Cardinal Dulles, S. J., Political and religious pamphlets of the Italian unification, 1815-1871, Arvo Pärt-Sounding the Sacred, and Archives and Special Collections. With two more on deck to be added in the coming months, any future digital projects will be considered for inclusion.
Atla Digital Library as a Research Tool
For those researching in the areas of religion and theology, the Atla Digital Library is a great tool for finding unique and powerful materials. By bringing together so many different institutions and indexing their collections, the power of the Atla Digital Library grows every day as more members contribute. Eventually, the Atla library will be open to hosting materials for institutions that do not have their own repository.
Fordham University Libraries is excited to be a contributor and continue to work with the Atla Digital Library in the future.