One of the first things to do before embarking on any research is to check the current work on the topic being studied. In many cases, this can be very daunting: How do I find what has already been done? Sure, I can check CLIO to see if there are books published in my area of interest, but it can be hard to tell from the title or subjects listed in a CLIO record whether a book is relevant to my research. This can become especially hard with journals or edited volumes, which don’t include the titles of every chapter or article in the CLIO record.
Let’s say I am interested in finding out more information about a book printed in Mantua in 1474, called Nofet Tsufim. A search of CLIO for "Nofet Tsufim" as a keyword leads to seven books, two of which are relevant. It turns out that the two records are really for the same book, one of which is at Burke, and one at Butler. Okay, this is definitely a start. The book is a reprint of the original, with some comments in the introduction that are helpful for understanding the background of the book’s printing. But where do I go now for more information?
The answer is RAMBI. RAMBI has indexed (i.e. created a catalog record) for nearly every article or chapter dealing with Jewish Studies. When I put the same keywords in my search in RAMBI ("Nofet Tsufim"), I got 5 results, all of which were relevant to my research, and all from books/journals that I never would have picked up otherwise in my searching (Frank Talmage Memorial Volume, Prooftexts, Rhetorica, etc.). The results list the year and page numbers where my articles are found, and so all I have to do is check CLIO to see if we have it, and if we don’t, I can request a PDF copy of the chapter or article via Interlibrary Loan.