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Global Mapping International

Libraries for Mission Research

On-line resources presently lack much of the depth, subtlety, and historical perspective needed to establish an effective cross-cultural ministry strategy. Deeper insight into both approaches to ministry and cultural context are often found in books and articles. The good news is that the Internet is an excellent tool for finding printed materials, which can then be found in your local library, or requested through inter-library loan.

Caleb Project's web site has a brief introduction to Researching People Groups in a Library, using reference materials found in many libraries. A Basic Missiological Research Guide, by Dr. A. Christopher Smith, soon to be released in printed form from GMI and included in the 20:21 Library CD-ROM, suggests library resources on a broader range of missiological topics. An excellent resource for understanding other cultures is the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF), available in microfilm and partially on CD-ROM in major research libraries. For additional information see the HRAF HomePage.

Library catalogs from most major North American research institutions are accessible through the Internet. Unfortunately, many of the catalogs are accessible only through an older Internet protocol known as telnet, which lets your computer act like a terminal attached to the library's computer. The telnet protocol is not directly supported by most web browsers, but telnet support can be generally be added at little cost and with only minor nuisance. See the Library of Congress Article "About Using TELNET and TN3270 from Web Browsers" for a further discussion. Reviews and download links for a variety of telnet software are included in the The Winsock Client Listing. Web links to an enormous number of library catalog systems are accessible from HYTELNET on the World Wide Web; you may wish to view this listing in order to decide whether the trouble of installing telnet software will be justified.

An increasing number of libary catalogs are accessible directly with Web browsers. Unfortunately, many of these systems are still experimental, and are often unable to keep up with the traffic generated by the rapid growth of the Internet. We have had the best results with these systems in (North American) morning hours, when students are less active. Many of the web-accessible library systems are accessible through the Library of Congress WWW/Z39.50 Gateway. The Library of Congress catalog itself is also accessible on the Web from the LC Online Catalog web page. Descriptions and links to a number of other library resources useful in people group research are included in Stanford University's Indexes & Abstracts for Anthropology.

Library systems with excellent holdings of missiological material (unfortunately, apparently with telnet access only) include:

Web-accessible library systems indexing particularly large holdings, including a wide variety of material of use in mission research include:

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