For your museum paper, you may do research using sources such as books, articles, and credible websites. This guide will help you get started on your research. If you need further help, please come to the library for a consultation with a reference librarian.
How do I find a book?
There are several ways to look for books. One is to browse the shelves. The general call number range for art books is N through NX–so you could come to the library and go straight to the shelves with the above call numbers and look around.
A more efficient way to look for books is to search the library’s online catalog.
- If you’re looking for books on a particular artist, type the artist’s last name, first name in the text box. Then set the search to “Subject Browse” and click search.
- Sometimes with lesser known artists, a subject search may not bring back any results. In that case, change your search to “Keyword Relevance Search.”
- If you don’t know the name of the artist, you can use Subject Headings to find books on a style of art or the period of a piece. Below are some subject headings you might find useful. Remember, type the subject heading in the text box, set the search to “Subject Browse,” and click search. When you get your results page, you will see that each subject heading is divided by places or time periods. All you have to do is to click the places or period you’re interested in.
Abstract Expressionism | Art Abstract | Art African | Art American | Art Ancient | Art Baroque | Art Byzantine | Art Celtic | Art Egyptian | Art French | Art Greek | Art Gothic | Art Modern | Art Nouveau | Art Renaissance | Art Rococo | Art Russian | Bauhaus | Christian Art and Symbolism | Cubism | Impressionism (Art) | Modernism (Art) | Painting Abstract | Painting Baroque | Painting European | Painting Gothic | Painting Medieval | Painting Modern | Painting Renaissance | Painting Romanesque | Post-Impressionism (Art) | Sculpture Baroque | Sculpture European | Sculpture Gothic | Sculpture Hellenistic | Sculpture Italian
Can I use a reference book?
Reference books are a great resource. You should use encyclopedias and other reference books to get background information on an artist, or to get an overview of the artist’s work, but then you should move beyond the encyclopedia to find other authoritative sources. (HINT: Encyclopedia articles will almost always have a bibliography that will lead you to other relevant works.)
Below are some reference books you might find useful:
- Contemporary Artists (REF N6490 .C6567)
- Dictionary of Art (REF N31 .D5)
- Dictionary of Art and Artists (REF N31 .M8)
- Dictionary of Art Terms (REF N33 .H25)
- Visual Dictionary of Art (REF N33 .V56)
- Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art (REF N7560 .H34)
- Illustrated Dictionary of Symbols in Eastern and Western Art (REF N7740 .H35)
- Oxford Companion to Art (REF N33 .O9)
How can I find articles on my topic?
For your assignment you may want to find scholarly and/or popular articles on the artist you’ve selected, the work you’ve selected, and/or the period you’ve selected. To find articles, use one of the databases listed below:
Gale Virtual Reference Library—use this database for information about a person or a topic
Literature Resource Center—for biographies, criticism, articles, work overviews, bibliographies and more
EBSCOhost—use “Academic Search Complete” and “MasterFILE Complete” for articles from scholarly journals as well as popular magazines and newspapers
ProQuest Newspapers—articles from the LA Times, 1985-present
ProQuest: New York Times Historical—articles from the New York Times, 1851-2006
Is there a way to find credible internet sites that my instructor will approve of?
The internet is a valuable research tool, but you have to keep in mind that anyone can put anything they want on the web. As a student, you need to think critically about the sources you find, and you need to evaluate the information. Important points to consider are criteria like authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, and coverage.
Art History Resources on the Web
Exploring Themes in American Art
LUCI: Library of University of California Images
Louvre Museum Official Web Site
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Sister Wendy’s American Collection
Timelines of Art History: The World (BC/BCE)
How do I get more help finding sources for my topic?
If you feel like you need help getting started, finding more detailed materials, or if you have any questions in general, please feel free to come to the library and ask a reference librarian for help.
If you have trouble accessing this page and need help, contact a librarian at the reference desk at (714) 484-7069.