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Research Guides

Art: Art Research Help

Welcome to the Art Research Guide!

This guide is to help you get a jumpstart on art research by giving an overview of what art resources are available in the library, along with some quick tips on how to find and use them. This resource guide was created in support of the SUU Art Major. Art research encompasses the study of art history, arts administration, art education, painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, design, and graphics arts.


Sherratt Library provides access to a number of databases on a wide range of subjects. Below is a list of databases with content related to Art:


Periodicals and Serials

Although many of the journals and annuals we have in the SUU Library are available in electronic form, sometimes a print copy is the only way to go. Below is a list of periodicals and serials we have both in print and electronic formats (and occasionally, only in print). Note that print copies of periodicals are housed in the collapsible shelves on the first level, organized alphabetically by title, serials are in the book shelves, organized by call number, like books. What's the difference between a periodical and a serial? Periodicals are published 2 or more times per year; serials are published annually or less frequently. View the links below for holdings and location:

Books and eBooks

At SUU Library we use the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system to organize the items on our shelves. These call "numbers"  (they're really letters)  on the spines are used for most of our items, including print books and e-books. Below is a list of call numbers that relate to Art (browsing these sections in the shelves of the library can lead you to discover many helpful books on all of these topics).

Click here to see a PDF of more complete breakdowns for each number at the Library of Congress.

N Visual arts
NA Architecture
NB Sculpture
NC Drawing. Design. Illustration
ND Painting
NE Print media
NK Decorative arts
NX Arts in general


TR Photography
TS Manufactures
TT Handicrafts. Arts and crafts


Finding Relevant Sources

Research topics in art and art history can be rich combinations of influences and subjects. You can begin to develop your topic with a specific material in mind, such as porcelain or bronze, or specific techniques such as photogravure or encaustic painting. Combining materials and styles in a particular place or period of time is a common way to develop a more complex research topic. For example, what are some of the key features of Abstract Expressionist painting? What materials have been used in feminist body art? Are there common motifs used in Scandinavian weaving and embroidery?

It is easy to develop complex topics further by also considering a specific time period, a specific location, or specific practitioners. Who are some of Mexico's women photographers and what are key features in their work? What are differences in the graffiti art of Los Angeles and New York City? Is there a Pacific Northwest style of art?

In the study of art history, styles and periods are central concepts in the discipline. Distinct historical time periods such as Baroque, Mycenaean, and Renaissance are organizing concepts used to describe significant periods artistic activity. Other important organizing concepts refer to stylist attributes, such as Mannerist, Gothic, or Moderne. Sometimes specific groups of artists give rise to a school of work that refers both to stylistic or philosophical tendencies called movements or genres. Dada, Bauhaus, and Postmodern are examples of this.

Before you begin your research, brainstorm keywords that will help you locate relevant material.

Examples of materials and techniques:

  • ceramic
  • bronze
  • fresco
  • tapestry
  • mosiac
  • chine-collé
  • collage
  • raku
  • miniatures
  • illustration

Examples of movements and genres:

  • Futurist
  • Surrealism
  • Pop
  • Romantic
  • Pastoral
  • Situationist
  • plein-air
  • Young British Artists
  • Art Nouveau
  • Fluxus

 Examples of periods and styles:

  • Roman
  • Medieval
  • Gothic
  • Minoan
  • Hellenistic
  • Expressionist
  • Ottoman
  • Byzantiine
  • Mughal
  • Huichol
  • Flemish

Created by Claire Dannenbaum and Dan Macnaughtan at Lane Community College, Eugene, OR.

Librarian for Art

Profile Photo
Matt Nickerson
435-586-1955 (office)

Online Gallery

The Child's Bath by Mary Cassatt

Cassatt, Mary. The Child's Bath. 1893, oil paint, Art institute of Chicago.

Can't Find a Book?

Books in the Library: Search in the Library Catalog for books by or about an artist or technique of art. 
Example: Frida Kahlo

Off-Campus Access to E-books: Library Home Page 

Interlibrary Loan: To order books that SUU Library does not own, use the online Interlibrary Loan service. Allow 10 days for delivery.

You could always go to the Ask a Librarian or Check-out desk if you need help locating any items.