Research Resources


Books

Types

  • Exhibition catalogues: a publication that is created in conjunction with an exhibition. This can be for a single artist, a group of artists, or around a concept. Generally, exhibition catalogues contain many pictures and sometimes essays by curators.
  • Artist monographs: a publication that focuses on an aspect or time period of a single artist's work. Similar to an exhibition catalogue, these will usually contain both images and a few essays or interviews with the artist.
  • Collected essays: a publication that is focused on the theory, history, or social impact of a certain type of art, stylistic period or concept. Usually, these books are comprised of text with just a few images used as examples.
  • Catalogue raisonne: a publication that is a complete record of an artist's work and publications. It will usually contain lists of works with exhibition information as well as bibliographies and lists of speaking engagements.

Finding

Key resources:
Pfau Library Catalog
Worldcat

Ways to search:
Try several different types of searches: keywords, author, title
Look at books with similar subjects or call numbers

Evaluating

  • Authorship: Who is the author? Who is the publisher? Are these people or institutions that have authority on the subject matter?
  • Accuracy: Are the general facts in order? Do the authors cite other works?
  • Audience: Who is the target audience? How does this effect the content of the book?
  • Currency: When was the book published? How has the world changed since the book was published? Are there ideas that have replaced or contradicted the ideas expressed here?
  • Scope: Is the book giving a broad overview of a topic? Is it developing an idea throughout the text? Is it presenting conflicting ideas on a topic?

Articles

Types of journals and magazines

  • Peer-reviewed: generally considered the most scholarly type of journal because each article is sent to another scholar who studies the same subject or something similar. In art history and education, these reviews are blind, meaning the reviewer doesn't know who the author is. These journals are usually considered most reliable due to this review process.
  • Professional Magazines: within the arts fields, professional journals are often considered to be appropriate sources for research. These journals are overseen by an editorial board or a single editor who makes decisions about who to publish. Often the articles published in these types of journals are reviews of exhibitions or examinations of trends within the art world. Be careful to consider each article closely before using them in research.
  • Popular Magazines: what distinguished these types of journals is predominantly their audience. Because the focus of these magazines is to reach a broad audience, information is often summarized or simplified in ways that usually are not useful for scholarly research.

Finding

Key resources:
Jstor
Wilson Art Index
OmniFile Full Text Mega
Googe Scholar (best when used on campus)

Ways to search:
Use bibliographies from other sources to find citations
Try a number of different databases. Each will contain a different set of articles
Use the filtering tools provided by the database (e.g. author, subject, date filters)

Evaluating

  • Authorship: Who is the author? What publication published it? Does that publication or author have a bias? Is it peer-reviewed or governed by an editoral board?
  • Accuracy: Are the general facts in order? Do the authors cite other works? Is there a vetting process?
  • Audience: Who is the target audience? How does this effect the tone and content of the article?
  • Currency: When was the article published? Are there responses to the article? Do other articles cite it?
  • Scope: Is the article a response? Does it overview other researcher's work? Does it evaluate a broad technique or style or does it focus on one artist?

Websites

Types of websources

  • Museums: these organizations usually have an interest in educating the public as part of their core mission. Therefore, you can often find special educational sites that serves as good, even scholarly sources. More and more museums are publishing lectures and interviews with artists or curators, so remember the best content may not be presented in a textual form.
  • Educational Organizations: there are independent or non-profit groups whose focus is to educate the public or further academic research on particular topics. These organizations will usually partner with other respectable organizations like museums or universities to help present materials.
  • Blogs: these are sites that usually post individual stories periodically. Though the vast majority of blogs are not acceptable for scholarly use, there are many that might be acceptable. Art historians, critics and museums often publish useful information in blogs.

Finding

Key resources:
Recommendations for other reliable sources (research guides, museums, etc)
ArtInfo

Ways to search:
Find professional organizations and look for a resources page
Try respectable institutions you know
Power up your Google searches by including site type restrictions (site:.org, .edu)

Evaluating

  • Authorship: Who is the author? What institution or organization runs the website?
  • Accuracy: Are the general facts in order? Do the authors link to other reliable sources? Do other reliable sites link to it?
  • Audience: Who is the target audience? How does this effect the tone and content of the article?
  • Currency: When was the page last updated? If there isn't a last updated date, does the design of the website give clues as to its age?
  • Scope: What is the motivation for the website (e.g. promote an exhibition, for use in k12 classes, etc.)? Does the website collect posts from across the Internet? Does it focus on a particular exhibition, idea or critic?

Helpful Resources