UT Libraries' Newfound Press published English professor Michael Lofaro's "Southern Manuscript Sermons before 1800: A Bibliography" in 2010, but instead of limiting the bibliography to book form, Newfound Press also established an online search engine for Lofaro's book.
"English professor Michael Lofaro started working on a bibliography of Southern manuscript sermons," Linda Phillips, UT Libraries interim dean, said. "The texts he found would be not published. They were just manuscripts. (He) went all over the South looking for these."
"Southern Manuscript Sermons before 1800: A Bibliography" is the first guide published examining sermon manuscripts in the Southern colonies, and later, the states.
Full texts of the manuscripts are found in several different university libraries, including libraries at Georgetown University, University of Maryland and Oxford University in England.
But Lofaro did not begin the project. He joined it in 1976.
"This project had been started by a very prominent English professor here, Richard Beale Davis," Phillips said. "It was 1946 that he started it, using only index cards. Lofaro was the one who kept this work going after Davis' death."
In 2008, Lofaro approached Newfound Press to publish his database of sermons into a print edition.
The current database, which can be found on the Newfound Press website, was made by employees of the university libraries.
"The database was two years in development," Phillips said. "It's a very robust database."
The database contains such information about the manuscripts as keywords, author, date of sermon, denomination of the author and the repository of the texts, where the full text is located.
Newfound Press' online database allows users to search by any subject listed in the bibliography, including author, repository and books of the Bible.
Since the database has been online, it has received more than 1,700 manuscripts in less than a year, and the book has been downloaded 261 times.
Although the bibliography provides much information about the more than 1,500 sermons, the full text is not available on either the website or in the book.
"It's not full text because the full text is located in libraries all around the South," Phillips said. "The full text has not been digitized, but that would be a logical next step."
Newfound Press allows users to access the full text of the written bibliography on its website, as well as the opportunity for users to download the full text.
The bibliography is marketed towards scholarly research; however, the database is still pertinent to students.
"I took an Appalachian history course last year," Philip Davis, senior in history, said. "It would have been really useful to see what topics preachers were covering in the Appalachian area during the early history of the United States."
In addition to Lofaro's book, Newfound Press has also published books by several different authors.
"One of the reasons that we founded Newfound Press is to make very specialized scholarly material available around the world for free," Phillips said. "Publishers can't afford to publish books like these unless they are selling thousands of copies of these."
The database for Lofaro's bibliography is at http://dlc.lib.utk.edu/sermons/sermons_public.htm.