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Visual Arts: Getting Started

This introduces you to a reliable approach for finding information and identifies key library resources in the fields of visual arts

This Guide is no longer being maintained or updated, and will be unavailable after 01/01/2019.

The new Library Subject Guides can be found here:

Please contact the Student Learning Librarians at if you have any concerns about this change.

Research Tips...

The resources on this page will help you to get started with your research. Here are some tips for tackling your assignments...

  • Make sure you clearly understand your assignment/task
  • Define any terms you don't understand
  • Start broad, gain a general understanding of the area you are investigating
  • Make a list of keywords to use when searching for information, update this as your research progresses 
  • Remember to keep track of the resources you have used and reference them correctly

Overview of resources and their uses

Subject Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
Use these when there are words or concepts in your assignment question that you’re not sure about, for basic background information and for help in identifying key words for further searches. See the links in the other boxes on this page.

General texts
Use these to gain a broad overview of the topic.  Look in the Contents Pages and Index of your set texts and any recommended readings listed in your Unit Outline.  Look under the Books and eBooks tab for help finding books in the Library or go to the Contemporary Art Resources tab for an up to date list of general texts on contemporary art.

Specialised texts (also called monographs)
Use these when you have done some background reading and need more in depth information. 
Look under the Books and eBooks tabs for help finding books in the Library.

Journal articles
Use these when you need a deeper understanding of different aspects of the topic, or when you want to see the latest research published in the field.  Look under the Journals and Databases tab for help finding journal articles in the Library.

These can be a valuable source, but you must evaluate any information you find on the web very carefully to make sure it is appropriate for your research. This website from the University of California will help you to evaluate the information you find online. 

Follow the links to these online dictionaries and encyclopaedias...

Research Skills for Art students