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ACCESS TO THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF ONLINE THEOLOGICAL RESOURCES IN THE WORLD

The RTC is pleased to announce that we have recently become co-owners of the largest collection of online theology resources in the world, the Digital Theological Library (DTL). The DTL is comprised of a growing collection of 600,000+ eBooks, 21,000+ Journal titles and 150+ Databases.  It has the mission of offering the “highest quality digital resources in religious and theological studies at the lowest possible costs” (https://libguides.thedtl.org/about). The DTL will be available for RTC student use from 2021.

In recent years there has been an increasing demand for the provision of digital library services. This has grown with the move to the Melbourne campus and the rising number of students studying by distance mode (including all students for most of 2020 in response to COVID-19). The RTC has continued to expand their digital resources since the introduction of the Wheelers and EBSCO eBook platforms in 2014. During 2020 in response to student demand, and the difficulty in accessing the RTC Reading Room during the Melbourne lockdown, we committed to trialling a number of new databases in the search for the combination of library tools to best meet the information needs of the student body. The result of this research was an overwhelmingly favourable decision by staff to move forward with the DTL.

The RTC Academic staff believes that the DTL will build on existing library services and increase the strength of the collection, including through the provision of the following benefits:

  • Greatly extending the quantity of available digital resources which both deepens and broadens the resources available for student use in assignments, projects, other research, and personal studies.
  • Expanding on the quality of our library collection including providing some of our current print books digitally, including some of those contained in our unit reading lists.
  • Increasing our range of digital commentaries which is a feature that many students have been requesting as a priority in recent library service surveys. Examples include selections from The Bible Speaks today, Story of God, NIV Application, Word Biblical and the New International Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments.
  • Improving accessibility of library resources with the DTL able to be accessed from anywhere and at any time which will greatly benefit students studying by distance who are unable to access our print collection as well as extending the resources for on campus students.
  • With students required to reference journal articles in their assignments, the range of journal articles and journal titles provided through the DTL will also greatly enhance the depth of reference material.
  • The resource databases provided by the DTL provides the RTC with the opportunity to access a wealth of resources that were previously cost prohibitive in digital format.
  • As a co-owner the RTC can recommend new items for purchase and holds a position on the board of the DTL with input in decision making.
  • We are the only Australian college offering access to the DTL which gives students a unique point of difference with the range of literature they can access.

In addition to the exclusive resources provided through co-ownership of the DTL, the Digital Theological Library also offers an Open Access version (OADTL) of high quality religious material available in the public domain. These are available for anyone to use and may benefit other readers of this article as well as being of further benefit to our students.

You can read more about the DTL at https://libguides.thedtl.org/home or contact our librarian at cwakefield@rtc.edu.au. More information will also become available on the library section of our website in the coming months.

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