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Art History Research at Yale: How to Find Art Resources

WHAT EXPERT RESEARCHERS KNOW

Terms: Search terms are the key to your research: try different combinations of keywords (ex. “contemporary painting” or “contemporary American art” or “modern art United States”).

Facets: Facets can help you narrow the results of a more general search. For example, you can facet down to an art-related subject, or to the Haas Arts Library as a location.

Dates: Newer publications (1990s to the present) often have larger, higher-resolution images, because of improved printing technologies.

Books vs. Articles: Books can provide broader and more comprehensive information than articles, but they take longer to publish and topics may not be as current as what you find in journal or magazine articles.

Artist Research: If the artist is not contemporary, catalogues raisonnés list all known works (sometimes called “the complete works” in titles).

Item Research: If you know which museum owns a given work of art, catalogs or bulletins dedicated to that museum’s collection may contain specific information about it. Try searching the museum’s name.

Types of Resources

Books: Investigation or presentation of an artist, movement, or subject; may include bibliographies, footnotes, indexes; often includes numerous images (sometimes called “monographs”)

Articles: More closely focused on an argument, theory, or specific topic, often peer-reviewed by experts, meaning extra vetting of information; indexing allows searching by subject or name across thousands of journals at once

Biographical Information: Quickly look up an artist’s nationality, birth and death dates, titles of major works, writings, etc.

Primary Sources: Present first-hand accounts and direct evidence, as in correspondence, diaries, or photographs

Dissertations and Theses: Find out which topics current and past scholars have researched extensively, look at their bibliographies for additional sources

Image and Video: Documentary visual evidence