Student in an Art Classroom

Art Research Guide

  • Find Background Info
  • Find Books
  • Find Articles
  • Find Images
  • Citing Sources

Find Background Info

Background sources, such as specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries, are an essential piece of the research process. They can help you:

  • Gather information about your topic and understand the scope of the research
  • Locate reliable sources and to clarify keywords
  • Pinpoint important authors, texts, ideas, and keywords about the research area. Knowing what the primary phrases and concepts are will help you a lot as you are searching library databases and online sources.

Credo Reference

Credo Reference is a multi-publisher collection of high quality reference titles covering everything from the arts to astronomy, law to literature, and science to Shakespeare. The collection currently contains over 162 titles taken from 36 different reference publishers and more titles are being added. Available titles also include a range of multimedia options including thousands of high quality diagrams, photographs, maps, and audio files.

Search Credo Reference

Art and art history book in Credo

Grove Dictionary of Art

This comprehensive dictionary includes detailed entries on art forms, materials, artists, periods, styles, and key issues in the history of art from around the world.

Grove Dictionary of Art

Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art

A useful resource for the study of art history, this dictionary contains short entries for themes, symbols, and subjects frequently depicted in Western art history.

Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art

Styles, Schools, and Movements: The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art

A survey text offering overviews of major trends in modern art from the late nineteenth century to the present.

Styles, Schools, and Movements: The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art

Smarthistory

This web resource features essays, videos, images, and other material on art from prehistory to the present. Art historians with a general audience in mind produce content.

Search Smarthistory

Find Books

Print and e-books are valuable sources for academic research. They will help you to gain an overview of your topic and often contain in-depth information about the scholarship or history of research on a subject. Some books are written by single authors while others include essays or chapters by multiple scholars within a discipline. Don’t let the length of books intimidate you because you don’t need to read them from cover to cover. Look at the table of contents and index to find the sections that are relevant to your work.

GriffinSearch

GriffinSearch is a good starting place if you are looking for books, journal articles, films, and other material available in the library. In addition to searching the Giovale Library catalog for physical materials, GriffinSearch finds e-books and articles from several of our databases.

Search GriffinSearch

WorldCat

WorldCat.org lets you search for books, articles, videos, and other material that are available in libraries worldwide. If you are doing in-depth research on a topic and are considering requesting resources through interlibrary loan, WorldCat can help you discover resources that might not be in the Giovale Library collection.

Search WorldCat

InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

InterLibrary Loan is a service where patrons of one library can borrow books and other materials and access journal articles that are owned by another library.

InterLibrary Loan

Utah Academic Library Consortium

Giovale Library participates in the Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC) and Westminster College students have reciprocal circulation privileges at UALC partner libraries. Each UALC library has different circulation policies, but all require a current, valid, legal photo identification and proof of current enrollment at Westminster. Some libraries may also require other verification methods, so it is recommended that you contact the member library you are interested in for details.

Utah Academic Library Consortium

Popular Titles and Featured Texts

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    The Spiral Jetty Encyclo: Exploring Robert Smithson's Earthwork through Time and Place

  • Discovered Lands Invented Pasts

    Discovered Lands, Invented Pasts: Transforming Visions of the American West

  • Making Art

    Making Art: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist

  • Modern Art A Critical Introduction

    Modern Art: A Critical Introduction

Find Articles

The Giovale Library provides access to a number of subject databases that you can use to find journal articles on topics within a specific discipline or field of study. The databases listed on this page are those that are most useful for finding research published in visual art and art history.

GriffinSearch

GriffinSearch is a good starting place if you are looking for books, journal articles, films, and other material available in the library. In addition to searching the Giovale Library catalog for physical materials, GriffinSearch finds e-books and articles from several of our databases.

Search GriffinSearch

Art Full Text

A bibliographic database that indexes and abstracts articles from periodicals published throughout the world. Full text coverage for selected periodicals is also included. Periodical coverage includes English-language periodicals, yearbooks, and museum bulletins, as well as periodicals published in French, Italian, German, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish. In addition to articles, Art Full Text indexes reproductions of works of art that appear in indexed periodicals.

Search Art Full Text

Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

Provides references to journal articles and professional literature on architecture, covering the history and practice of architecture, landscape architecture, city planning, historic preservation, and interior design and decoration.

Search Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

Find Images

In research on art and artists, you often need to find images and other types of primary source material. Although many of these sources are available on the web, you will want to make sure that the websites you use are trustworthy and contain accurate image reproductions. Also, remember that you need to comply with copyright laws when using images. Always cite images, just as you would any other source (see the Citing Sources tab for additional information). In addition to using the Google Image Search, try sources such as these:

Bridgeman Images

These digital image collections are accessible through Credo Reference. The Bridgeman Art Library is the most comprehensive and includes reproductions of visual art from throughout history.

Search Bridgeman Images

National Gallery of Art (NGA images)

The digital image repository of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Search NGA Images

Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection Database

A searchable database of artwork from the permanent collection of the Metrpolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Search the Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection Database

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Collection Search Page

Digital images from New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Search the MOMA Collection

Artcyclopedia

If you are looking for images of artwork by a specific artist, this website can help you search across museum collections. The links take you to reliable image sources produced by museums and galleries.

Search Artcyclopedia

Citing Sources

Citing your sources helps you avoid plagiarism and shows that you’ve done research to become knowledgeable about your topic. Proper citations allow your readers to track down your sources and help them understand how your research is connected to the work of others in your field. On this page, you will find guides and tools to help you format citations, and you will learn about what constitutes plagiarism.

How to Cite Sources

With all of the many ways that you can plagiarize someone’s work, either accidentally or on purpose, how can you make sure that you’re citing your sources correctly each and every time? One way is to become familiar with reputable sources that will help you learn or confirm that how you are citing your source is correct.

PurdueOWL contains writing guides, grammatical rules, and citation help that will assist with many writing projects.

Zotero is an ideal tool to gather, analyze, and document all of your sources.

Citing Images

You must always provide a citation for your images, just as you would any other source. Usually these citations will appear in captions and may be compiled into a list of illustrations in a paper or presentation. The format of your citation will vary depending on the citation style that you have chosen to use, but it will most likely include the following information:

  • Artist's/creator's name
  • Title
  • Creation date
  • Current location (museum or other repository)
  • Place of creation
  • Dimensions
  • Material/medium
  • Informatin about the source you acquired the image from (website, book, etc.)

Most ciation materials will include informatino about citing images.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism means taking someone else’s work or ideas and trying to pass them off as your own. Plagiarism can either be intentional or unintentional, and even the most careful writer could accidentally plagiarize without fully knowing it. For example, did you know that it is plagiarism even if you misattribute a quote to the wrong author? Even if you cited the source and took care to put their name in your bibliography, if the wrong person received credit for someone else’s work, it can still be considered plagiarism. Other lesser known forms of plagiarism include:

  • Copy and pasting someone else’s work and turning it in as your own (without citing your source)
  • Using a quote from someone without giving them credit
  • Inadvertently giving the wrong person credit, thereby not giving credit to the correct source
  • Not putting a quotation in quotation marks
  • Changing a few words here and there, but keeping the main ideas of a sentence without giving credit to the original author

That just includes written works. There are other ways that you might accidentally be plagiarizing images, videos, and music, too, such as:

  • Copying pictures from Google or another website to use without saying where you found the image
  • Using copyrighted music or video clips without permission. This includes playing "cover songs" without permission, too.
  • Making a video that includes copyrighted music or movies playing in the background

Of course, all of these scenarios of potential plagiarism can be avoided by knowing how to properly cite your sources. Just say where you found the image or who wrote the book and you’ll be fine.

Get in Touch

Chloe Barnett

Chloe Barnett

Instruction & Reference Librarian
Liaison Librarian for Art    
801.832.2266
cbarnett@westminstercollege.edu

Librarians are happy to answer questions via email, phone, or in-person.

Contact Chloe with a question or to schedule a research help appointment.

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