Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Religious Studies Library Guide: Home

Religious Studies Library Guide

Shelf Numbers for Books

The main shelf numbers for Religious Studies books are:

016.2 Bibliographies

130 Occultism

210 Philosophy and theory of religion

220 Bible

221 Old Testament

225 New Testament

230 Christianity

240 Christianity moral and devotional theology

250 Local Christian church and Christian religious orders

260 Christian social and ecclesiastical theology

270 Church history

280 Denominations and sects of Christian church

290 Comparative religion and religions

291 Comparative religion

292 Religions other than Christianity

293 Germanic religion

294 Religions of Indic origin

294.3 Buddhism

294.5 Hinduism

295 Zoroastrianism

296 Judaism

297 Islam

299 Other Religions

299.6 African Religion

306.6 Religious Institutions


Religious Studies Databases

You can get to our databases from and mousing over Search & Find and selecting Databases.

Databases for your subject

The main database of specific interest to Religious Studies is the ATLA Religion DB + ATLAS 1949+

You might also be interested in the African Christianity Bibliography. The African Christianity Project CD-ROM was published in December 1998. It contains an author listing of over 10,000 records from the African Christianity Bibliography together with the full text of more than 200 documents selected from archive and unpublished material held in the link institutions. This CD is available from a stand-alone workstation in the African Studies Library. These are some other very popular databases which might interest you:

· Academic Search Premier - via EBSCOhost (Full Text)

· Academic OneFile

· JSTOR & Project Muse Premium Collection

· SA ePublications

· Africa-Wide: NiPAD - via EBSCOhost

· Humanities International Complete - via EBSCOhost

· SocINDEX with Full Text - via EBSCOhost

· ScienceDirect (Full Text)

· Contemporary Women's Issues

· PsycINFO - via EBSCOhost

· Communication and Mass Media Complete - via EBSCOhost

· Philosopher's Index - via EBSCOhost

· Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) via Web of Science

· Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI) on Web of Science


PRIMO: the Basics of Survival on the UCT Catalogue


PRIMO is a tool for searching across the UCT library book catalogue as well as a selection of our databases of full text journal articles, all with one query.

You can find it on the library homepage at


In this example we going to do a search in the Sociology of Literature – (the study of literature as a reflection of its society), and a very nice topic for bridging both the Arts and the Social Sciences it is too.

We are going to look for a particular author – Nontsizi Mgqwetho.

This quick search brings up the copies that we have of her work, as well as books and articles about her work. 


Clicking on the TITLE of the top record takes me to the records for the printed books and gives me the shelf number so I can find them on the shelves: It says the book is available at the African Studies Library and other locations.

The African Studies Library is a research and archive collection, which collects and preserves books in stock for the generations yet to come and attracts researchers from around the world. In consequence the African Studies collection books can only be read in that library and may not be borrowed. 

The Main Library copy is the one that can be borrowed, but you have to get into the full record to finds its specific shelf number.


The shelf number works like a street address – just follow the numbers up or down until you get to the address you want.  Shelf numbers keep related books together, so once you have found your book, it is often useful to browse the books on either side of it as well.

In fact, you don’t even have to physically be in the library to do it… If you again click on the title of one of the results, you will be taken to the full record for the book – which has a virtual browse option – so you can see all its neighbouring books…. You never know what you will discover that way.


By clicking on the blue subject headings in the record you can also call up similar books which share that subject heading.



On the search screen you can use a drop-down arrow to search only for electronic journal articles or electronic books or reference works.



In this example, restricting the search to Articles & other Electronic Resources, the top results are for electronic journal articles…



And further down we have an electronic encyclopaedia entry for her, also available online.



If I click on the title I will be taken to a full record for the article or electronic book, and a link to the database on which it lives:



And so to download the article:



The record also shows me how to cite the book or article – which I will need to do if I am going to use it in an essay:



Or, even better, it allows me to send the record to a program like RefWorks or Endnote, which does my citing for me, automatically, at the touch of a button….




The left-hand side of the screen has all sorts of options for refining or restricting your results:


The most useful are probably Peer-reviewed Journals (the most respectable journals, I which every article is vetted by other academics), Subject or Resource type:

If you are getting too many results – and PRIMO can bring up a lot of results – you can use an Advanced Search to search more precisely:


And if you are looking for a very specific book, journal or article – for example from a reading list - PRIMO has a Find By Citation form which can help you find exactly that reference. I’ll use a good social science example here:


Just put in as much information as you have on the reference:

Shaffer, P., 1998. Gender, poverty and deprivation: evidence from the Republic of Guinea. World Development, 26(12), pp.2119-2135.

And this will bring it up in both print and electronic versions:

And clicking on the full text or database link will take you to it.


A digression into Boolean Searching


It is possible to create very precise searches just using keywords.

The trick is to combine them with Boolean Operators, wildcards and brackets. Most of our databases, including our library catalogue, take Boolean operators.

Consider this search string:

(child* OR wom?n OR gender) AND poverty AND Africa* NOT “African American”

The * is a wildcard – it calls up anything that follows the root “child” – so it will being up child and children or childhood……

The ? is a mid-word wildcard – calls up women and woman…

The OR expands you options – women or gender must come up in the results, it doesn’t matter which….

The (brackets) keep the OR words together and relate them to the AND which follows – otherwise the search would call up anything to do with women, regardless of whether it had to do with poverty and Africa….

Any words linked with AND must be included in the search results - OR broadens a search, AND tightens it.

NOT excludes a term. Be careful of this. First search without it, to get an idea of what you are missing.

“Inverted commas” enclose a precise phrase.


To use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) in PRIMO, you must enter them in CAPITAL LETTERS, otherwise PRIMO ignores them.


Don’t forget that you can restrict the search to electronic journal articles or electronic books only, using the drop-down arrow – useful if you are off-campus.


Subject Guide

Ingrid Thomson's picture
Ingrid Thomson
Humanities Information Division
Chancellor Oppenheimer Library
University of Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 650 3133

Subject Guide

Alex d'Angelo's picture
Alex d'Angelo
Chancellor Oppenheimer Library
+27 21 650 4475

Religious Studies Journals

 Although most of our journals are electronic nowadays, you may still find yourself needing a printed journal.

These are some of our print journals in Religious Studies.

· Arabica 492.705 ARA

· Catholic Bible Quarterly 220.05 CAT

· Commentary (American Jewish Committee) 296.05 COM

· Concilium 205 CON

· First Things 291.1705 FIR

· Harvard Theological Review 230.5 HAV

· History of Religions 200.5 HIS

· Islam and Christian Muslim Relations 297.19720 ISL

· Islamic Law and Society 297.905 ISL

· Islamic Quarterly 297.05 ISL

· Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 200.5 JOU

· Journal for the Study of Religion 200.5 REL

· Journal of Biblical Literature 220.5 JOU

· Journal of Black Theology in South Africa 230.05 JOU

· Journal of Contemporary Religion 291.05 JOU

· Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 291.1705 JOU

· Journal of Law and Religion 340.05 JOU

· Journal of Religion 200.5 JOU

· Journal of Religion in Africa 205 JOU

· Journal of Religious Ethics 291.505 JOU

· Journal of Religious Thought 200.5 JOU

· Journal of the American Academy of Religion 205 AME

· Journal of Theological Studies 230.5 JOU

· Modern Theology 200 MOD

· Muslim World 297.05 MUS

· Neotestamentica 225.05 NEO

· New Testament Abstracts R 225.05 NEW

· New Testament Studies 225.05 NEW

· Numen 205 NUM

· Religion 205 REL

· Religion and American Culture 306.605 REL

· Religion and Literature 809.05 REL

· Religious Studies 200.5 REL

· Religious Studies Review 205 REL

· Scriptura 220.05 SCR

· Semeia 220.605 SEM

· Signs 305.405 SIG

· Sociology of Religion 306.605 SOC

· Soundings 001.305 SOU

· Studia Islamica 297.05 STU

· Theology Today 205 THE

· Welt des Islams 297.05 WEL