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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Theological Commons?

    The Theological Commons is a digital library of over 130,000 resources on theology and religion. Developed in partnership with the Internet Archive it contains books, journals, audio recordings, photographs, manuscripts, and other formats dating from 975 C.E. to the present.

    Please see the Acknowledgments page for information on our partners and sponsors.


  • How do I submit feedback about the Theological Commons?

    We welcome feedback from users, including general questions, data corrections, and suggestions for improvement. When contacting us, please provide the web address (URL) of the resource in question whenever applicable.

    We also encourage users to nominate materials for inclusion in the Theological Commons, although the materials normally must be in the public domain and held by Princeton Theological Seminary Library.

    The “Item Details” page for any individual item includes a “Submit Feedback” button. In addition, the footer at the bottom of every page includes a Contact Us link.


  • How do you select materials for inclusion in the Theological Commons?

    Selection of materials for inclusion in the Theological Commons is guided by the Library’s Collection Development Policy. Additionally, due to legal restrictions on copyrighted works, the Theological Commons only includes materials that are in the public domain or for which special permission has been obtained from the copyright holder. Typically, items published in the United States before 1925 are unambiguously out of copyright, and such items constitute the majority of content in the Theological Commons.


  • What should I do if I cannot find an item in the Theological Commons?

    If you cannot find an item you are looking for, there may be several reasons for its absence. The item may be under copyright or it may fall outside the scope of the Library’s Collection Development Policy. Digitization of materials held by Princeton Theological Seminary Library is ongoing, and some items eligible for inclusion have not been digitized yet. Contact us to nominate materials for inclusion.


  • What subjects are represented in the Theological Commons?

    The Theological Commons draws broadly from the fields of religion and theological studies, along with relevant material from ancillary disciplines (see above for details).

    Distribution of Subjects
    Protestantism 18,122 (13.9%)
    Missions 17,779 (13.7%)
    History 10,718 (8.2%)
    Catholic Church 7,967 (6.1%)
    Church History 7,247 (5.6%)
    Theology 6,864 (5.3%)
    Practical Theology 6,358 (4.9%)
    Language and Literature 6,290 (4.8%)
    New Testament 4,143 (3.2%)
    Philosophy 4,089 (3.1%)
    Bible 3,703 (2.8%)
    Worship 3,445 (2.6%)
    Music 3,393 (2.6%)
    Religion 3,392 (2.6%)
    General Works 3,142 (2.4%)
    Old Testament 2,887 (2.2%)
    Ecclesiology 2,327 (1.8%)
    Preaching 1,871 (1.4%)
    Social Sciences 1,851 (1.4%)
    Education 1,804 (1.4%)
    Bibliography 1,509 (1.2%)
    Psychology 1,330 (1.0%)
    Unclassified 1,197 (0.9%)
    Judaism 1,039 (0.8%)
    Fine Arts 1,002 (0.8%)

  • What institutions have contributed digital resources to the Theological Commons?

    The Theological Commons includes materials digitized by libraries and other cultural heritage institutions both nationally and internationally. The largest percentage of works in the Theological Commons has been contributed by the Princeton Theological Seminary Library.


  • For some books, the “Search within this book” option and “Copy to Kindle” button are unavailable. Why?

    The digital text file used to search each book, and to create its Kindle version, has been generated by an automated process. The accuracy of each software-generated text file varies due to factors such as the physical condition, typeface, page layout, and language of the original book.

    To ensure a good experience for the reader, we limit the availability of the digital text to books with an estimated error rate of less than 20%, and we make this estimate known in the interest of full disclosure. (Click the “Copy to Kindle” button, when available, to see that book’s estimated error rate.)


  • When I download a PDF file and copy it to my e-book reader, the e-book reader says the document cannot be displayed. Why?

    E-book readers, such as Kindle (excluding Kindle Fire; see below) or Nook, are designed only to display digital text, not digital images of pages from the physical book. The PDF files available in the Theological Commons include the images of the original book. Some e-book readers cannot display such PDF files.

    By contrast, devices such as iPad and Kindle Fire are full-fledged tablet computers, not strictly e-book readers, and therefore those devices can display the PDF files from the Theological Commons.