So far in our field searching series we’ve covered searching OT quotes in the Greek NT, the words of Christ, and footnotes and surface text. Today I’d like to look at the author field in the Theological Journal Library.
The Theological Journal Library is a massive collection of 500 journals, each containing numerous articles. I was curious exactly how many articles, so I did some calculations. I came up with 8,421 articles containing an author field, which should be most of the articles. But this number doesn’t include book reviews and a few other things. Imagine trying to sort through 8,421 articles in 500 print journals to find a specific article by a specific author! Thanks to Libronix, that’s an easy task. Thanks to the author field, it’s even easier.
When you know who the author of the article is and perhaps not much else, you can easily locate all of the articles by that author and find the exact one you’re looking for in no time. Simple use author: followed by the name of the author.
Let’s say you’re looking for all of the articles written by Dan Wallace, author of the popular Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics. There are a couple of ways you can go about this. It’s often sufficient to use just the author’s last name. So you could search for author:Wallace to find all the articles with the word Wallace in the author field. That search yields 23 hits. In this case, though, last name isn’t enough to give you only articles written by Daniel B. Wallace. You’ll also get some hits for articles written by Paul W. Wallace, Peter J. Wallace, and Wallace Benn.
You could try author:"Daniel B. Wallace", but that wouldn’t return any hits for "Daniel Wallace" without the middle initial or "Dan Wallace." In this case, it’s not an issue, since his name appears the same way in every article, but that’s not the case with many authors. Walt Russell is a perfect example of this. Sometimes his name appears "Walt Russell," sometimes "Walter B. Russell," sometimes "Walter B. Russell III," and still other times "Walter Bo Russell, III."
To get the best results, you will usually not want to do a quote search. I’d recommend using the individual’s last name and the shortest form of his first name followed by an asterisk. So I’d search for all Walter Russell articles with author:russell author:walt* in the same search. A search for all Daniel Wallace articles (author:wallace author:dan*) would look like this:
Not only is this a handy way to find a specific article you’re looking for when you don’t have a precise title, but it’s also a great way to explore the writings and theology of a particular individual or build a bibliography for a biographical paper you’re writing.
For more on field searching, see these previous posts: