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WHY reference sources?
REFERENCE SOURCES (encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, manuals, bibliographies, etc.) are a great place to start your research. They provide general introductions to a wide variety of topics, can explain unfamiliar concepts, or help identify references for further research. There are a wide variety of general and subject specific reference sources that will provide information on a variety of topics within the discipline of Art.
WHY books and exhibition catalogues?
BOOKS tend to provide in-depth information on somewhat broad topics. They are excellent sources for researching:
art movements and genres (e.g., Fluxus and Surrealism)
art materials and techniques (e.g., bronze and raku)
art periods or styles (e.g., Medieval and 19th Century)
art of specific geographical areas or cultures (e.g., Canadian and Jewish)
artists (e.g., Jackson Pollock)
EXHIBITION CATALOGUES are a great place to go for contemporary and retrospective information about local, regional, national and international artists and exhibitions.
WHY articles in newspapers, magazines and journals?
ARTICLES in newspapers, magazines and journals tend to provide in-depth information on specific topics and are a great place to research both contemporary and retrospective topics in Art. Remember that if your instructor has asked for scholarly, refereed or peer reviewed sources, you will not be able to use an article from a newspaper or magazine.
Library of Congress Classifications
N Visual arts
NC Drawing. Design. Illustration
NE Print media
NK Decorative arts
NX Arts in general