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Judaic Studies: Introduction

This Research Guide to Judaica Studies is meant to help you familiarize yourself with the variety of Judaic information sources available at Penn and to help you improve your research strategies in general. You may all ready be experienced using Franklin, Penn's on-line catalog, or searching important databases, such as RAMBI, the Index to Articles in Jewish Studies. Even so, part of the aim of this reference guide will be to highlight less obvious finding tools and discuss how to develop strategies for locating the specific information you need as efficiently as possible.

This GUIDE covers the general resources to which you have access via the University of Pennsylvania Libraries as well as links to additional resources found via the Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies(CAJSL) web-site, For more information, contact the CAJSL Public Services Librarian at [].

Where to begin

It may seem self-evident, but the first thing to consider before beginning any search is what type of information you are trying to locate: is it something specific (eg., a particular title); or, is it something less clearly defined (a general subject area or topic). Defining your question, topic or need before you start your search is perhaps the most important finding tool available to you: the clearer the research question, the better and more efficient the search.

Before beginning your research, it is also important to remember that all information is not equal in reliability. Just as with critical thinking, critical research requires skepticism and caution. In order to evaluate critically your information, you may want to keep in mind criteria like its source or authoritative basis, whether it displays a particular bias, its target audience (i.e., popular vs. scholarly), as well as the timeliness of the information (are you working with the most up-to-date and reliable sources).

Gettting started

If you have not already visited the Library at the Katz CAJS home page, you may want to begin familiarizing yourself with the resources that are compiled there:

The CAJSL homepage provides a structured guide to basic and advanced on-line resources in Jewish Studies. One highly useful guide to Penn's Judaica collections is the on-line CAJSL Library Information Page:

This information page offers ready access to and information about Penn's Judaica program:


More specifically, to access the menu to all the electronic resources compiled for the Jewish studies click on "community of interest"

From the CAJSL home page, you also can click to view Penn's annual on-line Judaica web-exhibits: Each exhibit is accompanied by a selected bibliography which can lead you to further information and additional readings about each year's topic.