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ENGL 220A: Introduction to English Studies (Irvin): Research Resources for Art

Finding Sources

The resources featured on this page will help you identify secondary and tertiary sources related to the image that you have selected.

Keep in mind - Creative works are produced within specific historical, cultural, social and intellectual contexts. The more you know about the contexts of a specific work, the better you'll be able to analyze it. Approach your research as a means for providing information to readers that will help them understand, analyze, or evaluate the image. 

Getting Started with Subject Encyclopedias

Subject encyclopedias, handbooks and overviews are scholarly, tertiary works written by experts on a variety of topics. The articles are typically longer and more detailed than those found in general encyclopedias. The background information provides a good starting point as you begin the research process. These resources can help you with:

  • Understanding the scope of a topic
  • Suggesting ideas for narrowing a topic
  • Identifying key concepts, terms, dates and names
  • Listing subject areas related to a topic
  • Recommending sources for further exploration

In Collins Library, the print reference collection is located on the first floor, and most of the online reference collection is available in one of the database collections listed on this page.  Use Primo to identify subject encyclopedias in either format; or ask a librarian for recommendations.

Oxford Reference Art & Architecture

Oxford Reference Art & Architecture

Includes these sources for an overview of art related topics.


Oxford Art Online

Oxford Art Online

Covers biographies, criticism, country surveys, artistic styles and movements, art forms, subject matter and iconography, and techniques. Note: Limit of 3 simultaneous users.

Featured Resources

Start with these subject encyclopedias and branch out as needed. 

Online Reference Collections

Not sure where to look?  Each of these online collections will introduce you to a wealth of dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Featured Resources

Search Primo

General Primo Search Tips

  • Use the pull-down scoping options to search Collins, Summit and Articles OR Collins and Summit, OR just Collins.
  • Use quotes to search for "exact titles".
  • Use the filters on the right side to quickly narrow your search.
  • Sign in with your Puget Sound username and password to gain access to online resources and request items from other libraries.

Exhibition Catalogs

Exhibition catalogues can be valuable resources for learning more about a particular artist and their work. These collections often include a mixture of primary and secondary sources such as: Artists' statements; Essays about the artists' work; Artists' biographies including exhibition and award history; Images of the artists' work. 

For less well known artists, these catalogues may be one of the few sources of information available about their work.

How to Find:

  • Search Primo using the artist's name and the phrase "exhibition catalogs"

Recommended Databases

There are several databases from which to choose when you are seeking secondary sources. For this assignment, most of you will want to start your search by looking at Art Full Text or a newspaper database (for items like exhibition reviews and commentary on the artist/work) or the Arts & Humanities Database (scholarly work in art and cultural studies, among other areas). 

Need Help?

This subject guide highlights only a small portion of the many resources available to you. If you're not finding what you need, don't hesitate to contact Katy!

Katy Curtis, Humanities Librarian
Schedule an appointment
tel: (253) 879-3672
office: Collins Library 140

If you can't find Katy, remember there are several ways to get help with your research

For immediate assistance, connect to our 24/7 Ask a Librarian chat service.