This page lists free websites and open access (OA) resources available online to aid current IWS students in their research and studies on worship-related topics. To learn more about OA, consider reading A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access by Peter Suber.
Find items and search the collections of thousands of libraries around the world from one convenient search engine.
Discover the library nearest to you by using your location online. This site is especially encouraged for international students who want to find resources and connect with their local library. Look for a university or a seminary library within driving distance of where you live. Many academic institutions will allow guest users to access their online subscription databases via a library computer on their campus.
This site is recommended for students in the US seeking resources from their local libraries. IWS encourages students to get a library card at their local public library. Many public libraries allow borrowing of books, online resources, remote resources, and interlibrary loan from other libraries. If in the United States, contact your local public library about their InterLibrary Loan (ILL) policy. For a nominal fee (usually under $5.00), many public libraries will request copies of articles or books from other libraries for your use. You can usually get a public library card free from the library serving the city or county where you live.
Although the Atla Religion Database® (Atla RDB®) and AtlaSerials PLUS® (Atlas PLUS®) offers the full-text of many resources, it also includes citations and abstracts for resources that are not available in full-text. If you find a citation without a link to full-text, there are several additional places you can look. Many subscription journals embargo access to recently published issues and articles, but make archived copies of older issues available free on the Internet. Try searching one of the resources below for the author/title of the resource, or for the title of the journal.
Google Scholar provides a broad Internet search for scholarly literature from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other web sites, including articles, theses, books, and abstracts. Search results may include citations to restricted non-IWS subscription resources as well as links to full-text works.
JSTOR is offering increased JSTOR access for free for a limited time. JSTOR is a database that provides access to more than 12 million academic journal articles, books, and primary sources in 75 disciplines. JSTOR allows individuals to register for a limited free access account. This enables users to read up to 6 articles every 30 days online for free.
The Open Access Digital Theological Library curates high-quality content in religious studies and related disciplines from publisher websites, institutional repositories, scholarly societies, archives, and stable public domain collections without regard for theological or confessional perspective. The OADTL makes content easily discoverable and retrievable through a single search interface hosted on OCLC WorldShare and provides free access to over 165,000 ebooks and millions of articles.
From the website: “Give us a scholarly paper and we’ll search thousands of sources with millions of articles to link you to free, legal, full text articles instantly. If we can’t get you access, we’ll start a request from authors, and guide them on making the work available to you and everyone who needs it. Use either the website, browser extensions or API.”
Project MUSE houses digital humanities and social science journals, books, and other works. Their open access section makes some of these resources freely available without login or registration for access.
While the IWS Library provides over 450 eBooks on worship topics through eBooks on EBSCO for current students, many other eBooks are freely available online. Try searching one of the resources below for the author/title of the resource.
From the website: “Search the world’s most comprehensive index of full-text books.” Some full-text available, with many previews of book texts.
A database of millions of digitized books from the collections of academic and research libraries, including open access and out-of-copyright works available free in full-text.
From the website: “The Internet Archive offers over 20,000,000 freely downloadable books and texts. There is also a collection of 2.3 million modern eBooks that may be borrowed by anyone with a free archive.org account.”
The Open Access Digital Theological Library curates high-quality content in religious studies and related disciplines from publisher websites, institutional repositories, scholarly societies, archives, and stable public domain collections without regard for theological or confessional perspective. The OADTL makes content easily discoverable and retrievable through a single search interface hosted on OCLC WorldShare and provides free access to over 190,000 ebooks and millions of articles.
ORL is an aggregation of more than 20,000 peer-reviewed, open access, scholarly monographs. Users can maintain a bookshelf for all their open access book content.
A collection of 70,000 free eBooks, including digitized out-of-copyright works as well as current titles provided by contemporary authors.
While digital copies of IWS Theses are available to IWS students, staff, faculty, and alumni through the library catalog, consulting other theses related to worship outside of IWS can be helpful for research. Try searching one of the resources below for dissertations and theses related to worship.
Open-access electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) from participating institutional repositories. The database is open for submissions from research institutions and individual authors around the world.
Freely available doctoral dissertations and projects from music and worship students at Liberty University.
RIM® Online is a freely available database that indexes DMin and DMiss projects from reporting schools of theology accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Indexing began in 1981. Author, title, project advisor, institution, and subject access are provided. In addition, an abstract for each project is included when one has been provided by the author.
The Theological Research Exchange Network (TREN) is a library of over 25,665 theological thesis/dissertation titles representing research from as many as 152 different institutions, including the Institute for Worship Studies. also makes available conference papers presented at annual meetings of several academic societies. IWS has many TREN resources already located in Populi Library, but not all. IWS subscribes to TREN edocs, so IWS students, staff and faculty may obtain a copy of any TREN electronic document at no cost by emailing a request to the IWS Library. Microfiche and printed copies of TREN documents are not included in the subscription but can be requested for a fee.
Below are official Christian denomination websites, linked directly to liturgy or worship resources whenever possible. This list is continually growing. To recommend the addition of a denominational website, please email the library at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has compiled tagged resources related to diversity, culture, and global worship.
From the About page: “FULLER studio provides free resources for individuals, churches, and communities committed to a deeply formed spiritual life.” Diverse topics such as African American Church, Asian American Church, Disability, Diversity, Korean Studies, Latinx Studies, Reconciling Race, Women, and Worship can be selected and viewed.
From the About page: “The Global Ethnodoxology Network envisions a future in which communities of Jesus followers in every culture engage with God and the world through their own artistic expressions. We offer networking, training, and resources for the flourishing of biblical and culturally appropriate arts.”
This Tumblr blog is maintained by Paul Neeley, a former member of the MWS 504 teaching team, and includes examples and links to various diverse Christian worship resources. A Tumblr account may be required to view content.
From the website: “We are a multicultural, Jesus-centered worshiping community.” Their website includes a blog and free multilingual and multicultural songs, chord charts, lyrics, scores, PowerPoints, and YouTube videos. Other resources, such as books and training, are available for purchase.
– Back issues available to view online for free
– Includes a free blog as well as articles that may require a subscription
This site contains a listing of and full-text links to writings not included in the 38-volume set of Ante-Nicene, Nicene, and Post-Nicene Fathers. These are compiled on the Tertullian Project website by Roger Pearse. The site contains unverified primary sources in the public domain.
The Early Church Fathers on the Internet Sacred Text Archive includes a comprehensive collection of early Christian writings compiled from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Listed on this page are texts from the Ante-Nicene, Nicene, and Post-Nicene Fathers. The site is part of the Internet Sacred Text Archive collection of Christian Texts compiled by John Bruno Hare. The site contains unverified primary sources in the public domain.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library is a digital library of hundreds of classic Christian books selected for edification and education, including writings of the Church Fathers and the Protestant Reformers.
This site has links to the full texts of many early Christian writings, including Athanasius’ On the Incarnation of the Word, the Didache, and some early liturgies. The New Advent site is maintained by Kevin Knight, a Catholic layman, and also includes many resources of importance to Catholicism, The site contains unverified primary sources in the public domain.
Digital collection of ancient and classical works in their original languages and many works translated into English.
Thousands of Christian hymns & Gospel songs from many denominations, most in the public domain, including lyrics, audio, sheet music, pictures, history & more. Includes indexes by topic (liturgical calendar) and scripture references.
From the website: “Hymnary.org is an online hymn and worship music database for worship leaders, hymnologists, and amateur hymn lovers alike. At Hymnary.org you can search or browse hymns by title, tune, meter, key, scripture reference, and more.” The website includes a lectionary with suggested hymns as well as information about hymn writers and authors.
Contains a variety of resources and topics related to Christianity and the arts, including Advent and Lent resources and devotionals.
From the website: “The Art in the Christian Tradition (ACT) database is a regularly updated visual image internet resource. Designed for scholars, students, pastors, and religious educators, all of the images may be used for non-commercial purposes, with attribution. There are currently 6965 images in the collection. The ACT is linked to another Vanderbilt Divinity Library internet resource, the Revised Common Lectionary. This linking allows leaders of worship and teachers to easily find visual art resources related to the scripture readings for each Sunday in the church calendar.”
CDRI is a repository of digital resources contributed by ATLA member libraries, and includes digital images of woodcuts, photographs, slides, papyri, coins, maps, postcards, manuscripts, lithographs, art and icons
Created by Luther Seminary, this resource provides commentaries from various contributors concerning the Revised Common Lectionary text.
This site features a wide variety of resources for study and liturgy based on the 3-year Revised Common Lectionary cycle. The Scripture Index posts historical references, commentary, and comparative textual resources, as well as citations to articles from major religion and theology journals, including references to articles in ATLA/ATLAS. Recommended hymns, images, children’s lessons, sermons, and other liturgy resources are provided for each scripture reference.
Information and data points on religion in the US and around the world, including Christian denominations. Features data that can be downloaded as well as links to websites of prominent denominations, religious traditions, religious profiles, and more.
An online resource library of various topics related to Christian worship, including videos, photos, articles, audio, Scripture presentations, live streams of worship services and more from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.
From the website: “Zeteo is a resource for preachers, worship planners, and others who study the Bible. Our mission is to provide access to a thought-provoking mosaic of content from over 100 online resources through a search engine and to let your wisdom and creativity do the rest.”