Art Research Guide
- Find Background Info
- Find Books and Films
- 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Find Books and Films
Print and e-books are valuable sources for academic research. They will help you 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.
Find Books Using GriffinSearch
You can use GriffinSearch to find print and e-books available through Giovale Library. To get started, search by keyword or type in the title of a book here:
Academic Videos Online (AVON)
AVON provides unlimited access to a comprehensive selection of videos curated for the educational experience.
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.
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.
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.
Popular Titles and Featured Texts
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
National Gallery of Art (NGA images)
The digital image repository of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection Database
A searchable database of artwork from the permanent collection of the Metrpolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Collection Search Page
Digital images from New York's Museum of Modern Art.
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.
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 the ideal tool to gather, analyze, and document all of your sources. It is compatible with GriffinSearch and other library databases, allowing you to save citations and articles while you research. Visit the Zotero website to find out more, or stop by the library for some help getting started.
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
- Creation date
- Current location (museum or other repository)
- Place of creation
- Information about the source you acquired the image from (website, book, etc.)
Most citation materials will include information 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 it in your bibliography, if the wrong person received credit for someone else’s work, it can still be considered plagiarism. Other forms of plagiarism include:
- Copying and pasting someone else’s work and turning it in as your own
- Using a quote from someone without giving them credit
- 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
- Copying pictures from Google or another website to use without saying where you found the image
Of course, all of these scenarios of potential plagiarism can be avoided by knowing how to properly cite your sources.