General Synod library launches improved online databases

The Library and Information Centre of the national office of the Anglican Church of Canada has improved the ways that users can search, see, e-mail, save or print information from its five online databases.

The Library’s five online databases, which use INMAGIC software, are a unique and constantly expanding resource of information by and about the Anglican Church of Canada and the wider Anglican Communion. Three of the five databases are full text policy databases. Users can search for any word or subject in these databases and immediately see the complete text of the resolutions. The OFFICIAL Statements database contains all General Synod resolutions from 1924 to the present, as well as resolutions from the House of Bishops (1960 to present), Council of General Synod, National Executive Council (predecessor of the Council of General Synod) and Anglican News Service press releases from 1966. The LAMBETH database contains the indexed resolutions from all Lambeth Conferences and the COUNCIL database contains the indexed resolutions from all Anglican Consultative Council meetings.

Working closely with Vancouver-based consulting firm Andornot, the Library has designed new search screens, added new and friendlier index searching along with the ability to edit searches, and given users the ability to e-mail, save or print searches.
Users can perform searches, display records, delete individual records and then e-mail, save or print the results. Previously, users could only print one screen of records at a time.

Researchers can easily see all the terms in a field by clicking on “Browse Index” to open a dialogue box and start typing to move up or down in the index. Search results can also be displayed more easily with a greater number of reports that allow users to sort a search (depending on the database) by date (oldest to most recent or most recent to oldest), author, title or title of journal.

We hope that these improvements to the search, display and e-mail, save and print functions will allow users to make easier, faster and better use of the information in the databases.

The OFFICIAL Statements database brings all of the policy statements of the national office together in one place for “one stop” searching. Researchers can search for a particular word or phrase in the text of any resolution/record e.g. “smoking” or “common cup” but the most focused and relevant results usually come from searching in the Subject field. Library staff have added subject headings to approximately 80% of the records in the OFFICIAL Statements, 100 % of the records in the LAMBETH, and COUNCIL databases, and over 95 % of the book CATALOG and ARTICLE databases.

This indexing makes it possible for searchers to find records that contain information about individuals or concepts that have not been specifically named in the text. For example, the Rev. Florence Tim Oi Li, the first woman ordained a priest in the Anglican Communion in 1944, was the subject of resolutions at the 1948 Lambeth Conference but her name is never mentioned per se. Searching for “Li” in the Text Field will find no records but searching for “Li” in the Subject Field will find four records.

Similarly, searching for the phrase “Native people*” in the Text Field will return far fewer records than searching for this phrase in the Subject Field where it will find records which use that phrase but also earlier records which may have used the terms “Indians”, “Eskimo” or “Esquimaux” as well as specific tribal/national names such as “Cree” or “Nishga / Nisga”.

The ARTICLE database contains over 34,000 articles from more than 200 journals, almost all of them Anglican, many of them Canadian and some unique in Canada. Most records contain an annotation or summary in addition to Subject Headings.

The book CATALOG database contains more than 5,000 books and monographs, many indexed to the chapter or essay level. If an anthology contains 25 essays by 37 authors then every contributor is identified (and searchable) as an Author and each essay or chapter will be analysed and indexed. Anglican and Canadian contributors or content is usually highlighted in the notes.

We hope that these databases will be used by anyone wishing to learn more about the Anglican Church in Canada or throughout the Communion. Bioethics, ecumenical relations, human sexuality, indigenous peoples, interfaith dialogue, mission and evangelism, the ordination of women and social justice issues are only some of the subjects which can be researched in these databases.

Searchers are encouraged to browse and use the databases. Library staff are also available by e-mail to answer questions or perform searches upon request. The Library and Information Centre exists to gather information and to distribute it as widely and efficiently as possible to the largest audience. We hope that the improved online databases will be another step along the way.

Search the databases at:

For more information contact: Karen Evans, Librarian, Anglican Church of Canada, 80 Hayden St., Toronto, ON M4Y 3G2 (416) 924-9199 ext. 291 Fax (416) 968-7983 E-mail: [email protected]

Interested in keeping up-to-date on news, opinion, events and resources from the Anglican Church of Canada? Sign up for our email alerts .