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Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives: Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

Georgetown University: Kennedy Institute of Ethics-Bioethics Research Library

Introductory Information

Georgetown University: Kennedy Institute of Ethics-Bioethics Research Library

Address: 102 Healy Hall, 37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057

Telephone number: 202-687-3885

Contact information

Online catalog

Digital Collections link

Access Policies

Hours of service

Open to the public

Interlibrary loan: Yes

Reference policy

Background note:
The Library was founded in 1973 with support from the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. From 1974 to 2009, the library operated with contract support from the National Library of Medicine, grant support from the National Center for Human Genome Research, NIH, and other private and federal support. Currently the library is part of the Georgetown University Library system.


Books and monographs
Over 2,000 books in this collection have religious content. Publications date primarily from 1973 to the present. Subject emphases include bioethics, medical ethics, genetics, human experimentation, and death and dying. The Center collects material on the ethical, legal, social, and religious aspects of these topics. Two collections of special note are the Kampelman Collection of Jewish Ethics and the Shriver Collection of Christian Ethics. The Kampelman Collection is wide-ranging and is not limited to Jewish bioethics.

Archives, manuscripts, correspondences, and/or oral histories
Archival holdings include the records of U.S. federal bioethics commissions, Kennedy Institute of Ethics records and audiovisual recordings, oral history interviews, records on the Human Genome Project, and the papers of Dr. Edmund D. Pellegrino and Dr. Robert M. Veatch.

Videos and sound recordings
The audiovisual holdings of the BRL include hundreds of commercial and educational films as well as recordings of bioethics lectures and conferences.

Databases and/or electronic resources:
Bioethics Research Library Databases

Islamic Medical and Scientific Database: The intersection of Islam and bioethics has been represented in the Bioethics Research Library’s collection since 1974. In 2009 The Qatar National Research Fund awarded a three-year, million dollar grant to the Bioethics Research Library (Washington, DC) and the Georgetown University Qatar Library (Doha), to produce an online collection of scholarly resources pertaining to Islamic perspectives in the broad field of bioethics.  The Islamic Medical Ethics and Scientific database represents the collaborative effort of these two Georgetown Libraries. Bibliographic citations in the IMSE catalog are accompanied by abstracts and extensive subject headings with links to open access online sources for full text.  With two successive grants, the project staff  has identified more than 5,000 writings on Islamic perspectives on death and dying, genetic engineering, health care delivery, human experimentation, organ transplantation, and reproductive technologies in English and Arabic. Books, journal and newspaper articles, and web documents are some of the many formats collected.

Digital collections


Subject Headings

Abortion--Moral and ethical aspects; Bioethics; Bioethics--Religious aspects; Biotechnology; Catholic Church and health care; Death--Moral and ethical aspects; Death--Religious aspects; Euthanasia--Moral and ethical aspects; Genetics--Moral and ethical aspects; Health--Religious aspects; Health--Religious aspects--Catholic Church; Health--Religious aspects—Islam; Health--Religious aspects--Judaism; Human experimentation in medicine--Moral and ethical aspects; Judaism; Medical ethics; Medical policy; Medicine--Religious aspects; Religion and science; Religion and state; Sex and religion; Suicide--Religious aspects; Terminal care--Moral and ethical aspects