Choosing a topic
When choosing a topic for your research paper, think about the following:
- Unless your instructor assigns a topic, try to select a topic that interests you.
- Make sure your topic is not too broad, or too narrow. You will find too much information when searching for a broad topic; and not enough information when searching for a narrow topic.
- If you already have a general topic, try searching the library's catalog or the library's databases for ideas on how to narrow that topic down.
- Visit the library's Reference Desk and request to view the following book: 10,000 ideas for term papers, projects, reports and speeches: Intriguing, original research topics for every student's need.
- For current events and issues in the news, try searching the library's database: CQ Researcher.
- For debatable or controversial issues, ask one of the librarians about the Opposing Viewpoints Series, the Taking Sides Series, Issues in Focus Series and/or the Current Controversies Series.
- Visit the Social Issues Research Guide. There you will find a list of current social issues to choose from.
Books will provide an excellent starting point for your research in the field of Art. Reference books often give you background information and a general overview on your topic so that you can proceed with greater understanding to a more detailed treatment of your subject in other books and periodicals. Reference books may include specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, almanacs, atlases and/or statistical reports. The librarian at the Reference Desk can help in locating an appropriate source. Listed below are the titles and call numbers of some of the Art books in the library's reference collection. The reference collection is located on the main level of the library. Books with a location of Reference cannot be checked out of the library. The Circulating Collection is on the second floor of the library. Books with a location of Circulating may be checked out.
To search the Catalog for a book, click on it's callnumber below.
|Art Law: the Guide for Collectors, Investors, Dealers and Artist...||Reference||KF4288.Z9 L47 1998|
|Cultural Atlas of the Renaissance||Reference||N6370 .C84 1993|
|Dictionary of Art||Reference||N31 .D5|
|Dictionary of Twentieth Century Art||Reference||N6490 .C5317 1999|
|Dictionary of Women Artists||Reference||N8354 .D53 1997|
|Encyclopedia of World Art||Reference||N31 E4833|
|Harper Collins Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques||Reference||N33 .M37 1992|
|Legal Guide for the Visual Artist||Reference||KF390 .A7 C73 1999|
|National Directory of Arts Internships||Reference||NX396.6 .N38 2000|
|Oxford Companion to Art||Reference||N33 O9|
|Oxford Dictionary of Arit||Reference||N33.O93 2004|
|Oxford History of Classical Art||Reference||N5610.O84|
|Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975||Reference||N6536 .W56|
The library catalog is used to locate books both at RVCC, as well as from other libraries in the Somerset County Library System. Books will provide in-depth information not found in reference sources.
- Start with a Keyword search. Once you find one or two books about your topic, check the book's record to see what Subjects are being used. Once you find the appropriate Subject Heading, repeat your search using those headings. Generally, the results from a Subject search will always be more accurate than the results from a Keyword search.
- If you know the title of the book you are looking for, do a Title search.
- If you are looking for a book with a specific author, do an Author search (last name first).
Suggested Subject Headings for Art:
Click a subject heading below to use it as the search term for a Subject Search in the catalog.
- Art -- History
- Art -- Technique
- Art appreciation
- Art, American
- Art, Modern-20th centry
- Art, Modern-20th century-History
- Impressionism (Art)
- Modernism (Art)
- Painting -- History
- Painting, French
Consult with the reference librarian to find the term best suited to your needs.
Browse the Collection:
Most of the books can be found in the following areas:
- N -- Visual Arts (General)
- NB -- Sculpture
- NC -- Drawing. Design. Illustration
- ND -- Painting
- NK -- Decorative arts. Applied arts.
All of the library's circulating books are located on the upper level of the library.
For additional library catalogs, including libraries in Hunterdon and Middlesex counties, consult the Additional Library Catalogs page. If you find a book in one of these catalogs that the library does not own, request the book using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
Research Databases - Finding Articles
The Evelyn S. Field Library has access to thousands of periodicals. (Periodicals can be magazines, scholarly journals, or newspapers.) Some periodicals are in the library's print (or hard copy) collection. However, the majority of periodicals are available in the Research Databases. These databases provide access to articles. This information is generally more current than material found in books.
Search for periodical articles on Art using the databases listed below. They can be accessed from the Library Database Page. (If you are using these databases from an off-campus location, you will be asked to identify yourself by logging in with your Username and Password. This is the same login you use on campus. The Research Databases are available only to registered RVCC students.)
ARTstor is a non-profit initiative, founded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with a mission to use digital technology to enhance scholarship, teaching and learning in the arts and associated fields. Users can either browse or conduct specific searches of over 500,000 digital images covering architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, and design as well as many other forms of visual and material culture.
After finding an article on your research topic, the database will either provide a citation and summary of the article, or it will provide the full-text (the complete article). If you are only given a citation and summary of the article, you can check the Periodical Locator to determine if the periodical you are looking for is available in another database. (The Periodical Locator is an alphabetical list of all the journals the library has access to. Feel free to talk with a librarian for assistance.) If the article is not available in any of the library's research databases, request the article using the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
If, for your assignment, you are required to have sources from scholarly journals, use the Identifying Scholarly Articles guide to help you determine if your source is a magazine article or a scholarly article.
- Art History Resources on the Web
Source: Chris Witcombe, Professor of Art History at Sweet Briar College -- Numerous links to art history sites ranging from prehistoric to twenty-first century art. Also includes non-European art. Links to worldwide museums and galleries
- Art Images for College Teaching (AICT)
Source: Allan T. Kohl, Minneapolis College of Art and Design -- Royalty free images made available for the educational community. Many of the images are keyed to commonly used textbooks for undergraduate art history courses.
Source: John Malyon, web developer -- Sometimes referred to as the Fine Art Search Engine. This site provides a database of over 7,500 artists, with references to sites on the World Wide Web where artists' works can be viewed online.
- ArtLex-On-line Art Dictionary
Source: Michael Delahunt, MFA -- Definitions of over 3,500 art terms along with numerous illustrations.
- Artnet Magazine
Source: Artnet AG -- Source to buy, sell and research fine art online. The online gallery network has access to over 1,000 galleries in 250 international cities, with more than 150,000 works by over 5,000 artists from around the world. Also includes an archive of fine art auction results worldwide.
- Getty Research Portal
Source: J. Paul Getty Trust -- The Getty Research Portal is an online search platform providing global access to digitized art history texts in the public domain. The Portal is comprised of catalog records that link to full, digitized texts held at contributing institutions.
- Landscape Prints and Drawings
Source: Online Archive of California and the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts -- An online collection of 40 landscape prints and drawings, searchable and able to be browsed.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art -- Provides an introduction to the largest art museum in the United States. Has links to the collections, special exhibitions, and educational resources. Great introduction to the collections and organization of the Met.
- Mother of All Art and Art History Links Pages
Source: School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan -- The title says it all. Numerous links to research resources, image collections, and worldwide art museums.
- Museum of Modern Art
Source: Museum of Modern Art -- Includes information on current and upcoming exhibits as well as links to helpful resources.
- National Museum of American Illustration
Source: National Museum of American Illustration, Newport, RI -- Provides a virtual tour of the collection, as well as in depth biographical information on certain artists.
- National Museum of Women in the Arts
Source: National Museum of Women in the Arts -- Covers women artists of all periods and is international in scope.
- Smithsonian American Art Museum
Source: Smithsonian Museum -- Thumbnails of much of the museum's collection. Also includes links to the American Art journal with full text articles and access to the museum's library catalog.
- Tate Gallery
Source: Tate Gallery -- Provides access to the national collection of British art since 1500 and to international modern and contemporary art. Some 50,000 works of art are illustrated. The online catalog is also impressive and can be used by students to find information about individual artists.
- The Louvre
Source: The Louvre -- Comprehensive guide to the museum. Of most interest to the art historian is the Collections Section which is divided into Oriental and Islamic; Egyptian; Greek, Etruscan and Roman; Sculpture; Objets d'Art; paintings; and graphic arts.
- Timeline of Art History
Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art -- Provides a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of art from around the world. Created by the museum's staff, the timeline extends from prehistory to the present day.
- Call or visit the Reference Desk to speak to one of the librarians. The Reference Desk is located on the main floor of the library. The phone number is 908-526-1200 x8350.
- Email your question to one of the librarians using the Ask-A-Librarian Service.
- For further information about this guide, please contact Alyssa Valenti
Last Updated - 01 November 2007