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ART 392: Art History: Theory and Methods

Fall 2011
This guide will suggest some of the many avenues you might explore for your research. It certainly isn't complete; feel free to explore the library's website and/or discuss your research with a librarian either in person, via e-mail, or through chat.

Barbara Fister
Anna Hulseberg
Julie Gilbert
Jeff Jenson

Table of Contents:

Reference Books for Context and Background
In the reference section you will find a number of specialized encyclopedias that are invaluable for gaining an overview of a topic and getting leads to key books about it. For every field of study you will find one or more encyclopedias that delve into subjects with scholarly articles written by experts. This listing provides a few examples, but a reference librarian may be able to suggest ones more appropriate for whatever your question is.
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  • New Dictionary of the History of Ideas
    New York: Scribner's 2005
    Covers a wide range of ideas historically and internationally. Particularly strong for overviews of current ideas taken in historical context, listing essential and significant texts that contributed to the development of concepts.
    • Location(s): Ref CB 9 .N49 2005
  • Encyclopedia of American Social History
    New York: Scribner's 1993
    Filling in the holes left in conventional political/biographical history sources, this set covers topics such as religion, class, gender, race, popular culture, regionalism, and everyday life from pre-Columbian to modern times in lengthy and well-documented articles.
    • Location(s): Ref HN 57 .E58 1993 (3 vols.)
  • Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century
    New York: Scribner's 2001
    Covers major ideas and issues in American social, political, and military history with articles as specific as "The Chinese Exclusion Act" and as broad as "Domestic Life."
    • Location(s): Ref E 169.1 .E626 2001 (3 vols.)
  • Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century
    New York: Scribner's 1996
    An ambitious survey of American cultural, social and intellectual history in broad articles arranged topically. Each essay/article is followed by a thorough and very useful bibliography for further research.
    • Location(s): Ref E740.7 .E53 1996 (4 vols.)
  • Encyclopedia of Religion
    Detroit: Macmillan Reference 2005 2nd ed. edition
    Covers religions from around the world and through history as well as people and ideas related to religion. The articles are written by experts in their fields and include excellent bibliographies. This new edition includes hundreds of new articles, thoroughly revised coverage of all topics in religion, and a handful of "visual essays" that illustrate visual culture as a significant aspect of religion.
    • Location(s): Ref BL 31 .E46 2005
  • Growing Up: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia
    Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio 1995
    Offers articles on a wide variety of topics relating to childhood, examining the different ways cultures raise children. Topics addressed include adoption, competition and cooperation, developmental stages, fatherhood, language acquisition, parenting styles, sex (gender) identity, and parents' preference for boy or girl children.
    • Location(s): Ref HQ767.84 .B76 1995
  • Encyclopedia of Sociology
    Macmillan 2000 2nd edition
    This set provides up-to-date and scholarly discussions of topics in the field such as class and race, ethnicity, economic sociology, and social structure. Each article is written by a specialist and all have excellent bibliographies.
    • Location(s): Ref HM425 .E5 2000
    5 vols.
  • International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences
    Macmillan Reference 2008 2nd edition
    A massive encyclopedia of social sciences topics, with each article written by an expert.
    • Location(s): Ref H 40 .A2 I5 2008 (9 vols)
  • Oxford Reference Online
    Over 100 full text language and subject dictionaries and reference works. Topics covered include general reference, language, science and medicine, humanities, social sciences, and business. These handbooks do not go in depth, but can provide quick, succinct answers.
Tracing Citations to Find Good Sources
To some extent, scholars index each others' work by including references to related research. Mining the reference lists you find in books and articles is an excellent way to locate important sources. Once you find a good scholarly source, it can lead you to more. These tools are also ways to tap into the network of scholarly communication.
  • Annual Reviews
    Online access to the contents of the Annual Reviews, a series of books that contain essays summarizing the research on hot topics in a variety of fields. Of particular interest for this course would be the annual reviews of sociology and anthropology. If a review essay covers a topic you are interested in, it's an invaluable tour of the landscape of the research related to that question.
    tables of contents 1932-present; full text from 1998-present
  • Google Scholar
    This search engine points toward scholarly research rather than all Web-based sources. It is stronger in the sciences than in the humanities, with social sciences somewhere in between. It includes articles, books, conference papers, theses, and other materials. In many cases, it does not link to full text but only to the publisher's site, where you are invited to buy the item. Don't do that; we can almost always get you a copy either in our library or through interlibary loan.

    One interesting feature of Google Scholar is that in includes a link to sources that cite a particular item.

    If you are using Google Scholar on campus, you will find articles available through the library's subscription databases linked, but those links don't appear off-campus.

  • Web of Science (Web of Knowledge)
    To use this database, first click on the "Web of Science" tab at the top of the page. Then you may want to uncheck sections that are not of interest, such as the Science Citation Index Expanded, to keep your search focused.

    Contrary to its name, this database includes social sciences and the humanities in its coverage. This is an index to the contents of journals (not books) published since 1997. One thing that it does very powerfully is link together sources that cite each other. If you choose the "cited reference search" tab at the top of the page, you can search for articles that cite a particular author. This can help you find more current related research and/or see how influential a particular scholar has been. You can also click on an article that looks interesting and then choose "view related records" on the right hand side and find articles that cite the same sources - often a good way to find research that is exploring the same issues.

    Bear in mind, though, that the fact that books are not indexed in this database means it does not cover many important sources for the social sciences and humanities.

Finding Books
When searching for books, bear in mind that catalogs list books by author, title, and subjects (using Library of Congress Subject Headings). The subject headings tend to describe the contents of the book as a whole, meaning the tidbit of information that you need may not be listed in the catalog. Try to think of books that might include the information you need and be prepared to broaden your search terms. Always look at the subject headings listed for books that seem to be a good match for your topic; those words and phrases may be good ones to use in a new search. If you're curious what the official subject heading is for a topic or for the "official" spelling of an author's name, you can search the Library of Congress's Authority Files. (This is generally an approach taken only by geeky researchers.)
  • MnPALS Plus
    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. This link takes you directly to an advanced search. You may also search by author, title, or subject from the library's main page.
  • WorldCat
    A mega-catalog that includes the holdings of over 10,000 libraries around the world. Use the "find it" button to request a book by Interlibrary Loan. In general, it's easiest to use this catalog to look up books you have already identified by title or author or if you have a fairly specific topic; it is so huge (over 150 million books and other items) that it can provide too many choices to browse through. Books owned by the most libraries are listed first unless you choose a different sort order.
    1000 CE-present; updated daily
  • Library of Congress Classification System
    In our library, books on the same subject are shelved together by call number according to the Library of Congress Classification System. When searching MnPALS, check the "Location" column for the call number.
  • Searching Inside Books
    Both Amazon (through it's Search Inside feature) and Google Books allow for full text searching of many books. This can be helpful for identifying books that mention a particular person, place, or phrase. Amazon tends to emphasize current books; Google includes the full text of over 7 million books, many of them published before the 20th century. How much of the content is available for view varies depending on the publisher and the copyright status of the book. Books published before 1923 are generally available in full text in Google Books.
Finding Articles and More
Databases vary in terms of what they index and how much of what they index is actually available through the database. Some are full text, some only include references and abstracts, and others are a mix of both. The "find it" button will help you locate articles that are not full text, either in another database or through Interlibrary Loan.

The databases listed here are just some of what's available. You can also browse for databases by subject to see what other options are available.

  • Academic Search Premier
    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database, Academic Search Premier indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage also includes many newspapers and popular magazines and spans virtually every area of academic study since 1975. Updated daily. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). View our Academic Search Premier tutorial.
    1975-present; updated daily
  • America: History and Life
    Indexes literature related to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistorical times to the present. This extensive database covers over 2,000 journals published worldwide including all key English-language historical journals, selected historical journals from major countries, and state and local history journals, as well as books, dissertations and book reviews.
  • Art Index
    New York: Wilson 1930--
    An author and subject index to art periodicals, covering all periods and media of art, including film and photography. Only available in print form. To use this index, you need to search each volume separately as each indexes only journal articles published within the period of time indicated on the cover or spine.
    • Location(s): Ref N1 .A1 A78
  • Google Scholar
    Mentioned above as a great way to see who is citing what, but also a useful cross-disciplinary search engine for scholarly articles, dissertations, and books.
    Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries in the JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II, and Language & Literature collections. JSTOR provides complete journal backruns from the date of initial publication up to a "moving wall" of 3 to 5 years before the present year. To limit your search to full text articles, make sure that the option to "include links to external content" is turned off.
    1831-recent years
  • New York Times Historical (1851-4 years ago)
    The full text of the New York Times from 1851 to 4 years ago -- covering the entire publishing history of the newspaper back to the first issue. The newspaper text is fully indexed and searchable and the database also contains full-page images, including graphics.
    1851-4 years ago
  • SAGE Premier
    Search the full text to over 500 scholarly journals published by SAGE in a range of disciplines, including many social sciences titles. Many journals include full backfiles - back to 1960s or earlier. To search articles by discipline, click on the "Browse" tab, then click on the "Articles by Discipline" tab.
Jeff Jenson, the College and Church Archivist, will introduce you to our archives and how to approach archival research - which generally involves collaborating with an archivist to locate and use unique and often fragile items. The Archives has its own Web page, where you will find finding aids (detailed lists) of some of the archive's collections.

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