31 August 2020
The Research Infrastructure on Religious Studies (ReIReS) is launching ReIReSearch, an integrated research database for religious studies. The database combines the rich collections of various European institutions, thus offering a new search tool and improved access to researchers in religious studies.
Researchers in religious studies face various challenges: they study events that took place across different eras, contexts and cultures. This requires a variety of sources, data types, and research methods. These can be hard to trace. The variety of systems (university) libraries and archives use to disclose their collections and the frequent lack of online visibility make easy access hard. Researchers are further limited in their search for new data because different library collections, once discovered, still require access to their own separate digital access points.
ReIReSearch, an integrated research database, is built to help researchers search for data from a single location while also making less visible datasets available to a wider audience. The goal of ReIReSearch is to integrate as much data as possible and make it available on a single platform. The design of this platform was based on the needs of researchers. The database can publish materials that are currently only hosted on local networks or personal computers.
New technological evolutions now make it possible for researchers to find, access, and reuse large amounts of data. By bringing together the rich collections of institutions across Europe, researchers can improve the quality and efficiency of their research. The European research landscape will benefit from this improved access to information, bridging the gap between different research traditions and broadening perspectives.
ReIReSearch contains a variety of contributions from the academic libraries of the Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, KU Leuven, and Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. At the moment, ReIReSearch includes among other things Hebrew manuscripts from 1700 to 1920 from the Jewish Community of Mainz, a digitized version of the sources of church councils, a selection of rare books and manuscripts from the Maurits Sabbe Library and books related to the fields of Slavic studies and religion. ReIReSearch also returns search results from the Index Religiosus database provided by Brepols Publishers for users who have access to this subscription database. ReIReS plans to continue importing data from other (academic) libraries and research databases as often as possible, thus adding to the usefulness of the service.
ReIReSearch is a coproduction of KU Leuven - LIBIS and Brepols Publishers. The database is accessible at https://reiresearch.eu.