This guide surveys some of the main resources you will use in your research. All of the sources below will lead you to citations,
and some will even take you to the full text. Record the citations as
you go, even the ones that don't seem useful at the time.
Remember, no research topic survives contact with the library. Some floundering is a natural part of this process, but don't be afraid to ask a librarian or your professor if you are feeling truly lost. As you begin to get a handle on the literature around your chosen subject, your focus will shift and the questions you can ask will deepen.
Getting Started - Use Reference Sources!
Scholarly subject encyclopedias like the Grove are great places to begin to get a handle on a subject. The articles are written by academics in the field, and contain good bibliographies that will point you to more sources. An experienced researcher knows that there's no shame in looking up terms and topics that are new to her. If you're not encountering the unfamiliar, you're not stretching yourself.
Oxford Art Online (including the Grove Dictionary of Art)
An encyclopedic source for information on artists, famous works, artistic movements, and stylistic periods. Articles contain bibliographies. Also available in a print edition at N 31 D5 1986 Ref.The electronic database contains the full text of the print articles, as well as additions and revisions. The print volumes and the electronic database contain different visual images.
Oxford English Dictionary (only the best dictionary of the English language)
Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography
N 7565.E53 1998 Ref.
A very useful source for researching themes in art. It provides clear and concise analysis with references at the end of each entry
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Whenever you're doing research, think critically about how much you can trust the sources you find. It helps to keep the following questions in mind:
Who is the publisher? Is it an academic press, a university, a museum, a company or an individual?
Who is the author? What are their credentials? Have they written anything else in this field? (check the library catalog!) How have others in the field received their work?
What is their evidence and organization? Do they cite reliable sources to provide evidence? Do they make coherent arguments? Do they have biases or conflicts of interest?
When was this published? Is it recent or completely out of date?
For more on evaluating sources, see the Williams College Libraries guide.
Slide Room (Art 211): T,Th,F 9-12 and by appointment.
Ask a Librarian
by phone: x2212
by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
in person: Research Help Desk- 4th floor, Wiliston library
- Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. -5 p.m.
and 7 p.m. -9 p.m.
- Friday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
- Saturday 1-5 p.m.
- Sunday 1-5 p.m.