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FAH 480 - Senior Seminar in Fine Arts


This guide is designed to support the thesis assignment in the Fine Arts senior seminar. Although your individual topics may require specialized sources, the resources described below will provide an excellent gateway for your research. If you need personalized assistance with developing a search strategy or locating information, consider making an appointment with the Fine Arts liaison librarian.


Background and Reference

Reference materials can provide basic background information on your topic and help you identify keywords for further searching; for example, the names of important artists or art theorists, materials, or events. Some also contain topical essays that can be excellent introductions to a particular subject or time period. Many reference resources provide bibliographies at the ends of each entry or volume, which will point you to additional books, exhibit catalogs, and journal articles worth exploring. The list below is not exhaustive; browse the N section of the Reference and General collections for more resources.

Oxford Art Online (includes The Dictionary of Art)
This comprehensive reference tool on the visual arts contains articles that are international in scope, covering prehistory to the present.
     Ref N31 .D5 (print version)

New Dictionary of the History of Ideas
This fully-searchable reference document encapsulates the thinking of different eras and cultures.

Oxford Reference Online
This collection comprises over one million dictionary definitions, facts, figures, people, places, sayings, and dates from 150+ of Oxford's central English and bilingual dictionaries, usage, quotations, and subject reference books. Can be limited to subject area, or searched across references.

The Art Atlas
     Ref N5300 .A77
     (this is located on the atlas stand in Reference, and also has a CD-Rom)

Guides, Bibliographies, & Writings by Artists

Arts & Humanities through the Eras, 5 vols.
     Ref NX440 .A787

Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art:  A Sourcebook of Artists' Writings
     Ref N6450.T492 — you may find this useful when crafting your artist statement.

Materials and Processes

The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide
     GEN RC963.6.A78 R67

The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques
     GEN ND1500 .M39

Materials to Assist with Writing a Research Paper

A Short Guide to Writing about Art
     Ref N7476 .B37 2011
     Online:  Art History Writing Guide

Writing about Art
     Ref N7476 .S29


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Geisel Library catalog
To find relevant books, you will probably want to try both Keyword and Subject searching in the library catalog. Start by doing keyword searching on various aspects of your topic. When you find useful books, click on the Subject Headings in their catalog records to identify additional books on the same topic.

By searching WorldCat, you can identify relevant books owned by other colleges and have them delivered to Geisel Library for your use. The best approach is to perform Subject searches on the same Subject Headings that you discovered in the Geisel Library catalog. You can supplement this with Keyword searching on keywords pertaining to your topic.

When you identify a relevant book in WorldCat, you can click on the "Request via Interlibrary Loan" link in its WorldCat record. Books requested through WorldCat are usually delivered to Geisel Library in 7–10 days. You will be emailed when your book arrives, and you can check it out for a specified borrowing period.

This library of over 40,000 e-books spans across all scholarly disciplines. Books can either be opened in QuickView for instant viewing or in the ebrary Reader (a downloadable plug-in), which provides enhanced functionality such as the ability to copy/paste, highlight, or take notes in a particular book.
Access restricted to the Saint Anselm College community.

Below is a sampling of titles that are included in Ebrary:

Art and Advertising

Dialogues in Public Art

Dreams in Myth, Medicine, and Movies

Female Nude:  Art, Obscenity and Sexuality

High Techne:  Art and Technology from the Machine Age to the Posthuman

Introducing Microsoft Expression Studio:  Using Design, Web, Blend, and Media to Create Professional Digital Content

Learned Eye : Regarding Art, Theory, and the Artist's Reputation

Painting without Permission:  Hip-Hop Graffiti Subculture

Visual Grammar


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Journal Articles

Search the following databases to locate journal articles in Fine Art. Many of the databases will require you to use WebBridge to locate the full text of an article. To learn how to use WebBridge, please watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins; includes audio).

If you would like to browse Geisel Library's collection of art related print and electronic full text journals go to  Journal Finder's Art, Architecture, and Applied Art Journals listing and scroll down until you see the heading for your area of interest.

Core Resources

Academic Search Premier
A broad index providing abstracts and some full-text for a range of academic areas, including fine arts.

Arts & Humanities Citation Index
Provides indexing to the world's leading arts and humanities journals and selections from social science and science journals. Includes articles, bibliographies, editorials, letters, and reviews. (1980–present)

Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA)
This important database from the Getty Museum of Art provides indexing of material published between 1975 and 2007.  Note that WebBridge links are not activated;  see a librarian for assistance in determining availability of resources.

Another core history resource. Search here for full-text articles from major journals in the humanities and social sciences, including a number of important arts journals.

Readers' Guide Retrospective
Find citations to popular magazine articles from the period 1890–1982. A great source for researching firsthand perspectives on 20th century American history.

Other Subject Resources

ACM Digital Library
This database produced by the Association for Computing Machinery provides the full text of all ACM journals and magazines, along with conference proceedings and publications of the ACM SIGs (special interest groups). Of special interest: SIGGRAPH: Computer graphics and integrative techniques; SIGMM: Multimedia; SIGWEB: Hypertext, hypermedia, and the web.

America:  History & Life
Provides abstracts to journal articles, book/media reviews, and dissertations with a focus on United States and Canadian history and culture from prehistoric times to the present. (1964–present)

Google Scholar
Google Scholar uses the Google interface to unearth articles, books, and conference papers, although only a fraction of the material is available in full text. Use the WebBridge links to check for an item's availability in the library's print or online resources, or to place ILL requests.

Historical Abstracts
Provides abstracts to journal articles, books, and dissertations covering world history from 1450 to the present (excluding North America).

New York Times
"The New York Times (1851–2004) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue."

Project MUSE
"Project MUSE provides online, worldwide, institutional subscription access to the full text of more than 200 scholarly journals in arts and humanities, social sciences, and mathematics."

Times of London Digital Archive
This database provides full-text access to every issue of The Times (London) newspaper from 1785 through 1985, except for Sunday editions. It can be searched by keyword and date range, with options to limit to specific sections of the newspaper.


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Primary Sources in Print

Primary sources such as diaries, letters and old newspaper articles are invaluable for providing a first-person perspective on exhibits, events and people for your research. To learn more about how to tap into these resources, see the guide on Finding and Using Primary Source Documents.

Note that with many countries, the majority of primary sources will be in languages other than English, so some degree of fluency in a foreign language may be required. However, you may be able to locate English translations of more prominent documents, often within secondary sources such as books about your subject.

When searching WorldCat for primary sources, combine keyword and/or subject searches on terms such as sources, catalogs, memoirs, diaries, correspondence, papers, personal narratives, or pictorial works. These words will typically appear in the subject headings or notes in records of primary sources.


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Primary Sources on the Web

American Memory Project
Gateway to historical primary source material in digital format.

Archives of American Art
The Smithsonian provides roughly 16 million letters, photographs, diaries, sketches, scrapbooks, business records, and other documentation that supports the study of the history of the visual arts in America.

Digital Dada Library
Digitized dada-era periodicals and document.

EuroDocs:  Primary Historical Documents From Western Europe
Links to online collections of digitized primary source documents, organized by country.

Google Books
Google has digitized several million books and made them accessible through their search engine. Books not under copyright (including most published before 1922, and many books published in other countries) can be read in their entirety, making this website a great resource for primary source material.

Voice of the Shuttle
This website has a long history as an online gateway for humanities research, including an enormous listing of online contemporary art and art history resources organized by country and time period.


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Find Images

Connect to ARTstor to access a half -million images and related text. These images can be printed for use in your paper, or included in PowerPoint demonstrations. Ask a Reference Librarian if you require assistance using ARTstor.

The Smithsonian Institution Cross Catalog Searching Center allows you to search across dozens of Smithsonian libraries, archives and specialized research units. Search over 1.7 million records, with links to images, video and sound files, electronic journals and other resources.

VADS (free art and design images for education) is a good source of images from the UK.

There are many additional resources for locating art on the Web. Searching Bing Images or Google Image Search is probably the quickest way to locate art, but often the images are too small or the provenance is dubious. YouTube can be a great resource to find examples of art processes.


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Other Useful Websites
Daily newspaper devoted to art websites.

Art21 is a television series that focuses exclusively on contemporary visual art and artists in the United States.

Timeline of Art History


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Citing Sources

Work cited in this class should use the formats as described in the The Chicago manual of style available at the Library's Reference Desk (Ready Ref. Z253 .U69 2010). See the library's Citing Sources guide, which provides online examples for Chicago/Turabian.


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