It it a rough time for the word "religion". For some folks it is right up there with the "F-Word". What? I was going with "faith." What were you thinking?
How do you find information about the various faith based systems. Well for writers and journalists (and info junkies of all permutations) you might want to visit the Religious Newswriters Associations Online Library.
Two items of interest that you might want to put in your tool kit. First, on the right side of the screen is a link to a Adobe PDF book about writing on religion.
It is a 53 page primer on how to find reliable experts, the worlds largest believe systems and information about the three main groups in America. It is a good tutorial on faith based systems and how to locate solid sources.
Second, there is a meta - listing of various religious organizations links. For example if you or a patron was looking for information about religion and ethics as it pertains to medicine there is a link to the Center on Biomedic Ethics from the University of Virginia. Contrast that link with the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics.
Definitely worth a visit http://www.rna.org/library.php
I'm sure I've mentioned it before but just in case you also want to visit Beliefnet at http://www.beliefnet.com They have an extensive collection of reports about faith systems, opinions, articles and using the prism of religion to view the contemporary world.
For research, I'd start at Beliefnet but for tips and suggestions on how to find people or books I'd check out the primer at RNA.
Psst... if you just need to know what "Jainism" means then visit the Religion Style Book, click the letter J and get the strait skivvy.