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Art Research

Searching Library Catalogs

Library Catalogs are databases full of records of information about what is on a libraries shelves

  • BearCat - SUNY Potsdam's catalog, covering Crumb and Crane Library.  Once in this database, you can expand your search to the whole SUNY system.
  • WorldCat - a combined catalog of thousands of libraries.  Used for interlibrary loan
  • Illiad - the software used to manage Interlibrary Loan requests.

Search tips:

  • Use the correct mechanics of searching:
    • AND – connects different ideas
    • (  OR  )  - for lists of synonymous or related terms
    • Stem* - finds all word endings of a given stem (stem need not be a complete word
    • “    “  - keeps phrases of multiple words together
  • Discover and then search with the correct SUBJECT vocabulary
  • Dates are tricky.  Words expressing time periods are more accessible for student searching than actual year ranges

Remember, you are NOT searching the full text of the books, but merely a compressed record of information about the book.  Use a modest number of truly important keywords, not full sentences.

Extra suggestions of particular use

  • Remember, in an academic setting, the scholarly focus of your classes is about the WORK, not the ARTIST.  So NO BIOGRAPHIES.  Your selections should be about the works, styles, time periods, medium, etc, but NOT the artist's life.
  • Use SUBJECT searching. 
    • While you can search for your artist's name, watch out that the word "biography" is not in the subject.
    • For histories on the timeframe or art styles / movements
      • search with words first, e.g. renaissance, world war II, impressionism, DON'T use dates
      • if you need to refine, add additional broad topics, not your artist (so add art or painting instead of Rembrandt)
    • For scholarly books on the country the artist is from or where they worked
      • Use the correct name of the country as a subject search term (so Netherlands, not Holland or Dutch)
      • Add a keyword if necessary for the time period of your artist
    • For exhibition catalogs of the artists work
      • use the word exhibitions and your artists name as a subject search



Crumb Library: 315-267-2485
Crane Library: 315-267-2451

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SUNY Potsdam College Libraries
44 Pierrepont Ave
Potsdam, NY 13617