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HUMANITIES: SUBJECT GUIDE: Getting Started

Starting points for research in the humanities

Selected Print Reference Resources

Recommended Starting Points

Oxford Art Online

Covers biographies, criticism, country surveys, artistic styles and movements, art forms, subject matter and iconography, and techniques.

Oxford Music Online

A great first step in the research process. Includes Grove Music Online, The Oxford Companion to Music, The Oxford Dictionary of Music, and the Encyclopedia of Popular Music.

Search Oxford Music Online


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What's a tertiary source?

Tertiary sources are excellent starting points!  They consist of information synthesized from primary and secondary sources.  Examples include:

  • Almanacs
  • Chronologies
  • Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
  • Directories
  • Fact books
  • Guidebooks
  • Indexes, abstracts, bibliographies used to locate primary and secondary sources
  • Manuals
  • Textbooks

These resources give you succinct overviews of your topic, explain scholarly arguments, point out interesting questions, and refer you to especially key sources.