Review from Choice Magazine

02 May 2014

Since its founding in 1936, one of the aims of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland has been to produce an updated version of John Julian's Dictionary of Hymnology, which was originally published in 1892, with a revised edition in 1907. But in the age of the physical book, expanding and updating a tome that already ran to over 1,700 pages proved too daunting. Only with the coming of the Internet did it become practical for an organization of the Hymn Society's means to be able to bring such a project to fruition.

Work on digitization and updating began in earnest about ten years ago, and the result is a magnificent resource, comprising over 4,000 entries by 300 authors and covering the gamut of Judeo-Christian hymnody from around the world. Access to the content is by keyword search or browsing, either through the full list of articles or by categories that are broadly grouped into Eras, Places, Traditions, Hymns, People, Collections, and General. These categories also serve as filters to help narrow search results. Initial articles are included in the browse indexing, so, for instance, one must look under A for "A Virgin Unspotted," which takes a bit of getting used to. The lack of an advanced search option is a minor drawback. However, the quality of the content is outstanding. Any library supporting the study of hymnology will want this tool at its disposal.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above.

M. D.Jenkins II, Wright State University


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