Hello HSA students. Hopefully these pages will help you navigate the library & the web - whether to write a research paper, or gather inspiration in the studio.
Use the tabs above to see links to various types of info. I hope they are self-explanatory, but if not please let me know.
Below are a few general search tips. For in-depth advice on research, visit the Research Skills guide.
Please contact me using the box on the right (phone, email) at any time with comments, suggestions, questions, or to schedule a reference session. You can also just drop in.
Helping you IS my job, so you're never interrupting me!
Think of library research as a scavenger hunt, and like time in the studio, use skill, intuition and active awareness. Some tips include:
- Jot down what you're looking for on paper. This helps you verbalize and organize your needs.
- Look in resources that can broadly define your topic and provide background and keywords, such as Grove's Dictionary of Art (REF N31 .D5 1996 ) or encyclopedias.
- Keep in mind there may be variant spellings or transliterations - especially for international subjects.
- Consider the timeliness of your topic. Are you researching a gallery exhibit from last month, or a 2000 year old building? Generally more recent events will be covered in newspapers and on-line blogs, while a little time is required before they appear in journals, and even more time for books.
- Once you know what type of info you want, choose the right tool to find it. For books, use a catalog such as SWAN; for journal articles use an index such as Avery Index; for newspaper stories, use an index such as ProQuest Newstand. You get the idea.
- Remember "less is more". When searching a catalog or index, start w/ only essential words (ie archt's last name and keyword for building or site). If you get too many results, narrow your search with more words. (The name of the building your instructor used may not be the one the author or architect or index uses.)
- Consider the source. If you're looking for criticism about an architect's work, their personal website might not be the first place to look.
- Familiarize yourself with what I call the "anatomy of a record". Most catalog and journal index records have many of the same pieces of information, organized in "fields". They differ slightly from one source to another, but understanding the underlying structure helps you move from one source to another easily. Most have "subject", "author", "title", "keyword", etc.
- Use the "advanced search" option when available. It will help w/ the point above.
- Architects may either be the subject or the author of a book or article, or both.
- If you find a book or article in a database that suits your needs, look at the subject headings assigned, and search those.
- Look in the bibliographies in pertinent books and articles to see if the sources listed may also help. If we don't have them at Drury, order them through Mobius or Interlibrary Loan.
- Most importantly, ask for help! No one is expected to know everything about libraries, and every library is different. Take advantage of the librarians at the Reference Desk, or contact me.