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Start with overviews
The best way to start a research project is by reading overviews of your topic. An overview is a text that summarizes the basic facts about your topic. Overviews are also called "tertiary sources."
Examples of overviews:
- Encyclopedia articles
- Study guides
An overview is just a starting point. Don't cite overviews. The reason why we don't cite overviews is that they don't provide any original information -- they only give you a condensed summary of what other people have said about the topic. Instead of citing an overview, read the overview and write down clues that you could search for in Quest or the library databases, to find sources that you can cite.
Clues you might find in overviews:
- The names of important people, places, and things.
- Other sources that you could cite (listed as citations).
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
"The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History presents a thematic, chronological, and geographical exploration of global art history through The Met collection. Authored by The Met’s experts, the digital publication is a reference, research, and teaching tool conceived for students and scholars of art history. The Timeline currently comprises more than 1,000 essays, 8,000 works of art, 300 chronologies, and 3,700 keywords."
Smarthistory provides overviews of art history topics for all time periods and all areas of the world. It includes both video overviews and written overviews. Content on Smarthistory is written by expert scholars and goes through a peer-review process before being published.
A reference book is a book that contains short overviews or summaries of many topics. Encyclopedias are the most common type of reference book. You can find reference books in the Reference section, which is on the first floor of Simpson Library.
For most topics in art or art history, the best source for background information is the Dictionary of Art:
The Dictionary of Art by Boasting well over 6,000 contributors from 12 countries, the Dictionary offers its readers authoritative and comprehensive global coverage. A resource for both art and cultural studies, the Dictionary serves as a unique guide to all the visual arts: painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, drawing, printmaking, as well as the decorative arts. The Dictionary ranges far both geographically and historically; it features unparalleled coverage of Africa, Southeast Asia, Central Asia and Mongolia, China, India, the Islamic world, Japan, Korea, Native North America, Pacific and Aboriginal Australia, Pre-Columbian America, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, the Ancient Near East, and Ancient Rome. Providing depth as well as breadth, The Dictionary of Art examines important art forms and key issues of design, taste, function, and patronage, illuminating them in light of the cultural context in which they developed.
Call Number: Reference N 31 .D5 1996
Publication Date: 2003-02-11
The Dictionary of Art looks like this:
Here are some other reference books that are useful for getting started with Art or Art History topics:
General Reference Books for Art
American Folk Art by Folk art is as varied as it is indicative of person and place, informed by innovation and grounded in cultural context. The variety and versatility of 300 American folk artists is captured in this collection of informative and thoroughly engaging essays. American Folk Art: A Regional Reference offers a collection of fascinating essays on the life and work of 300 individual artists. Some of the men and women profiled in these two volumes are well known, while others are important practitioners who have yet to receive the notice they merit. Because many of the artists in both categories have a clear identity with their land and culture, the work is organized by geographical region and includes an essay on each region to help make connections visible. There is also an introductory essay on U.S. folk art as a whole. Those writing about folk art to date tend to view each artist as either traditional or innovative. One of the major contributions of this work is that it demonstrates that folk artists more often exhibit both traits; they are grounded in their cultural context and creative in the way they make work their own. Such insights expand the study of folk art even as they readjust readers' understanding of who folk artists are. 300 essays on folk artists from all over the United States, organized alphabetically within geographical region Introductory essays for each of the five regional sections Numerous photographs of the works of many artists profiled A glossary of over 100 terms, such as "quirts" and "whirlygigs" A list of museums and galleries by region and a list of artists by media An extensive bibliography including works from the fields of folklore, art history, and art criticism, as well as catalogs from major museum and gallery exhibitions
Call Number: Simpson Reference NK 805 .C655 2012
Publication Date: 2012-03-19
Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography by First published in 1998. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 7565 .E53 1998
Publication Date: 1998-04-01
The Encyclopedia of Italian Renaissance and Mannerist Art by A two-volume work covering an extraordinary period in the history of art that produced some of the most famous artists of all time, including Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Beginning with transitional Late Gothic artists such as Giotto, the biographies in The Encyclopedia of Italian Renaissance and Mannerist Art trace the evolution of the new modes of artistic expression, from scientific naturalism and the development of linear perspective to the exploration of new secular themes derived from Classical literature and mythology. All three phases of Renaissance art are covers: early, high, and late (the latter period also known as Mannerist). Besides biographies on all types of artists, from [painters, illuminators, sculptors, and architects to printmakers and maiolica designers, patrons, and collectors, there are entries on styles, important art forms, cities, and in-depth surveys of all the fine and decorative art forms in Italy during the Renaissance and Mannerist periods.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 6370 .E53 2000
Publication Date: 2002-01-01
The Encyclopedia of Sculpture by For a full list of entries and contributors, a generous selection of sample entries, and more, visit the Encyclopedia of Sculpture website. With an international scope, this fully illustrated reference spans the entire history of sculpture, from prehistoric times to the twenty-first century. While devoting significant attention to individual artists and their works, the Encyclopedia also explores sculpture from the vantage points of history, criticism, theory, aesthetics, production, training, and presentation, making this the most comprehensive, in-depth source on the subject ever published.
Call Number: Simpson Reference NB 198 .E53 2004
Publication Date: 2003-10-31
The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art by Also available as an eBook
The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art is an ambitious publishing endeavor, unparalleled in its comprehensive approach to the study of art in the United States. Edited by Joan Marter, Distinguished Professor of Art History at Rutgers University, the five-volume Encyclopedia reconceptualizesAmerican Art from the vantage point of the twenty-first century with a new methodological approach and broader scope than any such work published to date. The project takes a fresh look at what American art is, how it is defined, and who influenced it and produced it, and it offers a new foundationfor scholarship for decades to come.Taking the American art content from Grove Art Online as its starting point, the Encyclopedia contains entries that were reviewed, revised, and updated as well as hundreds of new entries that comprise an up-to-date survey of this essential and ever-growing area of art history. It covers Americanpainting, architecture, sculpture, and photography from the Pre-Columbian sources to the colonial period to the twenty-first century devoting coverage to many previously underrepresented areas of inquiry, including African American artists, Asian American artists, and Native American art, bothhistorical and contemporary. Artists, major movements, institutions, critics, and the architecture found in major cities of the United States are covered, as are new media and methodologies, including digital art, performance art, and installation art. In addition to American artists such as JohnSinger Sargent, Robert Rauschenberg, Maya Lin, and Kiki Smith, attention is also paid to individuals who have had a significant impact on American art and art history through their activity in the United States, including Marcel Duchamp, Erwin Panofsky, Renzo Piano, and Max Beckmann.With an extensive illustration program totaling over 700 images, 128 color plates, a topical outline, and a detailed bibliography accompanying each of the more than 2,300 entries, The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art will be of particular interest to students, researchers, and collectorsspecializing in American art as well as students and researchers in art history, American history, and cultural anthropology.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 6505 .G76 2011
Publication Date: 2011-01-20
The Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art and Architecture by The Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art and Architecture spans every art form, medium, and civilization the fall of the Roman Empire, The Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art & Architecture is a comprehensive reference source on this important field of study. Drawing on the expansive scholarship of The Dictionary of Art (1996, 34 vols) and Grove Art Online, and adding dozens of new entries, the Encyclopedia includes all subject areas in the classical arts, including philosophers, rulers, writers and artists, architecture, ceramics, sculpture, and more. Arranged alphabetically, this two-volume set contains over 800 entries tracing the development of the art forms in classical civilizations such as ancient Greece and Rome. Illustrated with 400 halftones, maps and line drawings, and 32 color plates, the Encyclopedia is a reliable and convenient resource covering this field of everlasting significance in the development of western culture.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 5610 .G76 2007
Publication Date: 2007-06-18
Facts on File Encyclopedia of Art by A Comprehensive Reference to the History of Art A comprehensive and authoritative five-volume set, the illustrated Facts On File Encyclopedia of Art presents the entire history of world art, from Paleolithic art to modern art, from Africa and Asia to Europe, the Americas, and beyond. Embracing a global perspective of art and expertly explaining the development of art across time and cultures, this richly illustrated reference is organized chronologically into insightful chapters, each dealing with the art of a specific period, geographic region, or civilization. These subjects are broadly defined in a way that most students of art history will recognize and find useful. A Fascinating Visual History Combined with Expert Scholarship Covering all of the recognized major arts, including architecture, painting, drawing, and sculpture, as well as other art forms such as ceramics and metalwork, Facts On File Encyclopedia of Art shows readers the diversity of expression in the visual arts. Fundamental characteristics of the major styles and periods of art history are clearly expressed, and their significance is analyzed. The sections on Modern American Art, European Art Since World War II, and various others detailing non-Western art are especially current, covering topics such as feminist art and women artists; graffiti art; video art, sound art, and installation art; and pluralism in art at the beginning of the 21st century. Interesting, Informative Special Features In addition to the clearly written text and beautiful full-color reproductions of artworks, Facts On File Encyclopedia of Art contains many special features intended to highlight major topics, spur readers to further research, and ensure easy access to information. Maps show readers the locations where civilizations and peoples created their works of art, text boxes offer detailed explanations of selected topics, and a bibliography follows each section.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 31 .F33 2005
Publication Date: 2005-06-30
Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC) The Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae is a multivolume encyclopedia cataloguing representations of mythology in the plastic arts of classical antiquity.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 7760 .L49 1981
Publication Date: 1981
Modern Arts Criticism by A biographical and critical guide to painters, sculptors, photographers, and architects from the beginning of the modern era to the present.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 40 .M63
Biographical Information about Artists
Benezit Dictionary of Artists by The Benezit Dictionary of Artists, published since 1911, is a landmark reference work in Art History, a magnificent 14 volume biographical dictionary of painters, sculptors, draftsmen, and engravers from around the world and across history.With entries on over 175,000 artists, the Benezit is one of the most comprehensive and definitive resources on artists. Unique features include the dictionary's coverage of obscure artists and the inclusion of images of artists' signatures, monograms, and stamps. Entries are clear and concise, andoften contain auction records, museum holdings, and bibliographies. Valued for both its wide coverage of lesser-known artists and its deep coverage of artists occupying the core pantheon of art, the Benezit is an essential resource for scholars, librarians, museum curators, art dealers, andcollectors.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 40 .B4713 2006
Publication Date: 2006-03-01
Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists by A Comprehensive Reference to Great Artists of the World From Finnish architect Alvar Aalto to Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbaran, the four-volume Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists provides concise profiles of the world's most important artists. Covering sculptors, architects, painters, video artists, and many other visual artists, this comprehensive reference details the lives and major works of prominent artists throughout history and around the world. Each entry offers basic biographical data on the artist, descriptive characteristics of the artist's creative output, significance of the work, career milestones, and locations where the artist's work is displayed. Profiles of those artists whose outstanding work is recognized as pivotal in the history of art receive extended, in-depth treatment. Further readings follow selected entries, and a glossary at the end of the fourth volume defines art-related terms. Accessible, Up-to-date, and Inclusive Biographies Organized in an A-to-Z format, Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists includes not only well-known artists, but also lesser-known individuals who in many cases are excluded from or glossed over in general surveys of art history. The profiles of artists who are not part of the canon of Western art give readers the opportunity to discover unfamiliar artists and develop a broader understanding of art history. Artists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries are covered, as are women and artists from other groups who have traditionally been underrepresented in art books. The ideal companion to Facts On File Encyclopedia of Art (see right), this biographical encyclopedia makes information about artists easy to find and readily available. Beautifully Illustrated with Informative Captions Each highly illustrated volume contains photographs or reproductions on almost every page. The abundant illustrations, many in full color, are accompanied by informative captions. An up-to-date chronology of artists and a comprehensive set index add to this accessible reference. Further readings are included for topics where additional research may be particularly useful.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 40 .B535 2005
Publication Date: 2005-07-30
Contemporary Artists by The most exhaustive work in the field, the completely revised 5th edition of "Contemporary Artists provides detailed personal and professional information on 850 artists--both established masters and emerging figures on the international scene. Illustrated with approximately 600 black-and-white photographs of the artists and their works.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 6490 .C6567 2002
Publication Date: 2001-10-01
Contemporary Women Artists by This volume provides thorough biographical, bibliographical and critical information on 350 of the world's most prominent and influential 20th century women artists, including important new artists.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 8354 .C66 1999
Publication Date: 1999-04-01
A Dictionary of Japanese Artists by This dictionary brings together in a concise form, data concerning some 3000 Japanese painters, printmakers, sculptors, potters, and lacquer artists from the earliest historical times to the 20th century.
Call Number: Reference N 7358 .R6
Publication Date: 1976-06-01
Latin American and Caribbean Artists of the Modern Era by This is a comprehensive reference book to more than 12,700 painters, sculptors, graphic artists and architects in Latin America (Mexico, Central America, South America) and the Caribbean region active during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Entries include the artists' years, countries and bibliographies. Also included are brief biographical information, stylistic notes, a record of each artist's exhibitions and a list of collections where his or her works can be seen. There are 89 photographs of selected works that supplement the entries. The introduction includes brief informative background essays on the individual countries and their artists.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 6502.4 .S45 2003
Publication Date: 2003-01-22
St. James Guide to Black Artists by Profiles 400 prominent 20th-century artists. African American artists make up 75 per cent of the entries, while artists from the Caribbean, Africa and around the world complete this volume. A limited number of influential masters from the 19th century are represented. The guide covers artists working in visual arts, including painting, sculpture, printmaking and photography. Each descriptive entry provides: a concise biography; lists of both individual and group exhibitions; a listing of public galleries and museums that have the work of the entrant in their permanent collection; a bibliography of books and articles by and about the entrant; and a critical evaluation. A photograph of the artist and/or his or her work often accompanies the entry. Comments from the artists themselves regarding their work or the art precede the contributor's essay.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 40 .S78 1997
Publication Date: 1997-06-01
St. James Guide to Hispanic Artists by This guide provides critical analysis of approximately 400 20th-century Hispanic artists from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central and South America, and American artists of Spanish descent. Detailed entries typically include biographical information; a list of individual exhibitions and a select list of group exhibitions; lists of museums and public galleries holding works by a given artist in their permanent collections; publications by and about the artist; a statement by the artist about his/her work (as available); and more.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N6538.H58 S7 2002
Publication Date: 2002-03-01
Women Artists of Color by Critical essays on 20th-century female artists of color focus on how these distinguished artists achieved success, what makes their work important both to the art world and to their specific communities, and what influences their work is likely to have in the future. The artists are representative of four ethnic groups: African American, Asian Pacific American, Latin American, and Native American. Parallels drawn explore the similarities and differences among the artists. The early feminist art movement of the 1970's concentrated on gender with less consideration given to race or class, yet to many artists of color, ethnicity factors significantly into the shaping of their identities and to the content of their art. Women artists of color have expanded the scope of protest art, fusing the past and current history with gender and race and deconstructing stereotypical mainstream representations of their gender and ethnic identities. This presentation of artists balances older and deceased artists with the younger, emerging artists. The artistic mediums span the gamut from traditional painting and sculpture to newer forms such as video, conceptual, and performance art. These essays will appeal to a wide audience of scholars and artists interested in women's studies, art history, cultural studies, multicultural art, and art criticism. Grouped by ethnicity, artists are presented in alphabetical order. Entries include biographical information and a listing of each artist's exhibitions. Numerous photographs enhance the text.
Call Number: Simpson Reference N 8354 .W656 1999
Publication Date: 1999-05-30
Architecture Reference Books
Encyclopedia of Architectural and Engineering Feats by Encyclopedia of Architectural and Engineering Feats presents more than 200 achievements in architecture and structural engineering in all the inhabited continents, from prehistory to the present. An architect once described the built environment as "the manifestation of the human spirit in stone, wood, and steel." In this new volume, readers can explore the most innovative and magnificent architectural expressions of the human spirit, from pre-history to the present, from all parts of the world. Readers can visit the Acropolis and Chartres cathedral, along with less familiar places like the ruins of Great Zimbabwe, once the greatest city in sub-Saharan Africa, and China's 71 meter high, 1,200 year old Grand Buddha, carved from stone. They'll learn the secrets behind audacious engineering feats like the Panama Canal, the U.S. interstate highway system, and the Deltaworks in the Netherlands. They will discover that many of these awe-inspiring projects were not the work of trained architects and engineers, but of "underdeveloped" communities, where unified will, tight social organization, and shared commitment to a spiritual ideal were more important than the inventions of the Industrial Age. 200+ A-Z, fully cross-referenced entries on fascinating structures such as Angkor Wat, a Cambodian temple complex that remains the largest religious monument ever constructed A wealth of illustrations covering diverse topics such as dams, agrarian terracing, cathedrals, temples, bridges, monuments, palaces, skyscrapers, aqueducts, and highway systems Numerous photographs of world famous structures such as the Taj Mahal and the Pont du Gard, and lesser known wonders such as Nazca Lines in Peru depicting a 300 foot long monkey A glossary of explanations for many architectural and engineering terms used around the globe
Call Number: Simpson Reference NA 200 .L32 2001
Publication Date: 2001-12-06
Encyclopedia of Architectural Technology by Constant technological advancements are opening up dramatic new possibilities for the built form; at the same time architects are developing innovative designs which require new techniques to make these ideas reality. The Encyclopedia of Architectural Technology is the first book to specifically address these two issues by providing a comprehensive reference to modern architectural technologies, encompassing all key aspects of construction, structures, environmental design and servicing. The Encyclopaedia features over 180 entries ranging from materials and techniques to notable innovators in architecture and engineering. Each entry includes a brief quick-reference summary followed by a more detailed text and suggestions for further reading. Besides technological terms, entries are included on related topics such as sick building syndrome and sustainability. Key engineers Ove Arup and Ted Happold have dedicated entries, as do a range of ground-breaking architects such as Le Corbusier, Norman Foster, Walter Gropius, Herzog & de Meuron, Oscar Niemeyer, Richard Rogers, Carlo Scarpa, Frank Lloyd Wright, Ken Yeang and many others.
Call Number: Simpson Reference NA 31 .G53 2002
Publication Date: 2002-04-03
Encyclopedia of Architecture by Now, with all of its five volumes completed, Encyclopedia of Architecture will surely become the standard in the field. Its broad coverage focuses on architectural processes & design, materials, construction methods & management but also encompasses, biographies of leading architects, architectural history, articles on architectural aesthetics, literature & criticism, listings on current laws & regulations, & information on leading firms & schools. Includes 3,000 illustrations & 500 tables. The Encyclopedia has been sponsored by the American Institute of Architects.
Call Number: Simpson Reference NA 31 .E59 1988
Publication Date: 1988-02-26
Encyclopedia of 20th-Century Architecture by For more information including the introduction, a full list of entries and contributors, a generous selection of sample pages and more, visit the Encyclope dia of 20th Century Architecture website. Focusing on architecture from all regions of the world, this three-volume set profiles the twentieth century's vast chronicle of architectural achievements, both within and well beyond the theoretical confines of modernism. Unlike existing works, this encyclopedia examines the complexities of rapidly changing global conditions that have dispersed modern architectural types, movements, styles, and building practices across traditional geographic and cultural boundaries.
Call Number: Simpson Reference NA 680 .E495 2004
Publication Date: 2003-12-09
Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World by Vernacular - or traditional - architecture encompasses most of the buildings of the world. This encyclopedia is the first to show the remarkable diversity of the buildings constructed and lived in by the people of over a thousand cultures. The first of the three volumes focuses on the theories, principles and philosophy that underpin traditional architecture. Volumes 2 and 3 consider these principles within specific cultural and societal contexts. As building traditions vary widely within some countries and extend across the political boundaries of others, the encyclopedia considers vernacular architecture within its cultural rather than its national contexts. Richly illustrated with photographs, line drawings and maps, the work is also supported by a glossary, a lexicon, and the largest bibliography on the subject ever published. This work will be an inspiration and resource for architects, anthropologists, folklorists and geographers, and important for all who help shape housing and conservation policies.
Call Number: Simpson Reference NA 208 .E53 1997
Publication Date: 1997-11-27
Icons of American Architecture by What turns a building into an icon? What is it about some structures that makes their history and legend even more important than their original intended use, making them a part of American, and world, popular culture? Twenty four buildings and structures, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the White House, the Hotel del Coronado, and the Washington Monument are presented here, along with their roles in fiction, film, music, and the imagination of people worldwide. Approximately twenty five images are included in the set, along with sidebars featuring additional structures.
Call Number: Simpson Reference NA 705 .L35 2009
Publication Date: 2009-03-05
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition by Now in full color--a thoroughly updated edition of the premier illustrated architectural dictionary Revised and expanded, the Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture, Third Edition, features 8,000 definitions, 4,000 illustrations, and biographies of hundreds of architects accompanied by classic examples of their work. This new, full-color edition includes terms relating to green, ecological, and sustainable architecture. Everything critically important to those in the field of architecture and design is covered, including: Architectural styles Details Building elements Architectural forms Building systems Green building Meticulously written, heavily cross-referenced, and filled with more than 3,000 new and updated definitions and 1,000 new photographs, this impressive visual resource is the best way to gain a full understanding of architectural elements and the new language of green and sustainable architecture.
Call Number: Simpson Reference NA 31 .B83 2012
Publication Date: 2012-02-27
What about Wikipedia?
Is it okay to use Wikipedia for a college research project?
Yes, but only as a starting point.
Wikipedia is an excellent starting point. You should use Wikipedia! Read Wikipedia articles, and write down clues that you find. Follow the citations at the bottom of Wikipedia articles. Use these clues to find sources you can cite.
Don't cite Wikipedia.
Don't assume that everything you read in Wikipedia is true. Treat Wikipedia as a collection of valuable rumors. Follow up on each rumor, using trustworthy sources, to see whether the rumor is true.