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Art Research

Art Index

The principle tool for searching for scholarly articles in art is Art Index (found on the Databases A-Z page).  Use this tool to focus in on the work itself, as well as the broader areas such as the artist, style, or medium. 

Searching Library Article Indexes

  1. Try a title or keyword search
  2. Most databases have a list of suggested subject words on the initial results page. Look at them (you may need to toggle them open) and copy the useful ones. If there is no list, then look at a number of potentially useful records and copy down words and phrases from the "subject" or "descriptor" area of single record. Some databases provide a thesaurus of terms which can lead to broader, related, or narrower terms you may not have thought of.
  3. Go back to the search screen and search BY SUBJECT/DESCRIPTOR using the words you learned about as a result of your first search.
  4. Be sure to connect search terms correctly using the following techniques:

Boolean connectors

  • AND connects different concepts and narrows a search: Picasso AND Cubism
  • (  OR  ), with parentheses, combines synonyms/related terms and broadens a search: Mondrian AND (Netherlands OR Holland OR Dutch)
  • "  "  Use quotation marks for phrases: "abstract expressionism" AND Kandinsky
  • Stem*  Use the asterisk as a wildcard character to retrieve variations on a common stem: paint* retrieves paint, paints, painter, painting, paintings, painter, etc. Very useful for capturing plurals

Extra Suggestions of particular use

You have two proper nouns: the name of your artist and the name of the work.  Use them as SUBJECT terms (watch out if your work has a foreign language equivalent)

Be sure to use the limiters on the advanced search screen to limit to :

  • Document Type: Article
  • Publication Type: Academic Journal

Be sure to use the limiters on the results screen on the left to limit to:

  • English Language
  • Appropriate Date ranges

Use the green "FindIt" button (or the "check for full text" link) to check on our access to these articles.


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