This guide is designed to help students with library research as they complete art assignments in Professor Adams' Humanities courses at Valencia College.
This guide contains many of the books and databases that will help you complete your assignment. Here are some tips on how to use it:
1) Before you start researching your artist or work of art, do a basic internet search for the name of your work. Many paintings, sculptures, or buildings go by several different names, and the books and databases may use very specific ones. Knowing the various names of your work can help you create multiple search terms when using the databases, or searching the index in the back of reference books. A quick internet search can also help you identify other information helpful to your research, such as the art movement and information on the artist or subject of the work of art.
2) Start researching in the library first. Many of our reference books contain information on the artists or works of art you are assigned, and can help give a general overview on both.
3) After looking in the reference section, try searching for circulating books (tall bookshelves). You can take these books home with you! We have many books that are about specific artists and movements, and sometimes even buildings if you have a popular one.
4) Think outside the box! If you are having trouble finding any information on your work of art, try creating a word web of potential keywords. For example, if you have the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and you cannot find a lot of information on the temple, try searching for general information on Queen Hatshepsut. Many books about her life will include information about the temple. Think about time periods, as well. If you have photographer Dorothea Lange, who was active during the Great Depression, try looking in some history books for information. Even using books that explain symbolism in art still count as a source!
5) Once you've done some library research in books, try using some of the databases to search for your artist's name, or the name of the work of art. You can also search the databases for the subject of your work of art, if such applies. We have databases that contain biographies which can help you find information about your artist, art databases that can help you find information on a specific work of art or art movement, and even multidisciplinary databases that can help you find out more about the subject of your piece and any symbolism within in. For example, World Folklore and Folklife is a great database to look in if your painting or sculpture has a mythological or religious theme.
6) ASK FOR HELP! If you are having trouble finding sources, do not hesitate to contact a librarian. You can find the names and working hours of all reference librarians on the Osceola Campus under the "HELP!" tab.