Arts 1303: Art History I

The purpose of this guide is to help you find information on art from prehistoric times to the 14th century. Below you'll find some recommended sources. Start with these and explore others as you proceed with your research. Remember to consult bibliographies or references you find in books, articles, and elsewhere. These can lead you to additional sources of information on your topic.

Also keep in mind what you learn now about doing research can be used later. Discovering what Cornette Library has to offer can improve your grades and broaden your horizons. As you continue to use this Library and other libraries, you will become a more proficient researcher. You may even find that you enjoy doing research! Now take a deep breath and prepare to embark on an adventure that can enrich your life.

Reference Sources

Reference books are one of the best places to start your research. Finding background information on a topic can help you prepare to search the Library's online catalog and other resources. The Reference Collection houses basic information sources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, chronologies, and research guides. A selection of Reference books which you may find useful are listed below. Be sure to check Cornette Library's online catalog or ask a Reference Librarian to find more.

Art Information and the Internet: How to Find It, How to Use It
N 59 .J66 1999 Ref.
The Dictionary of Art
N 31 .D5 1996 Ref.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Art
N 33 M23 Ref.
Encyclopedia of World Art
N 31 E533 Ref.
The Oxford Dictionary of Art
N 33 .093 1988 Ref.
The Oxford Companion to Art
N 33 O9 Ref.
Dictionary of Architecture and Construction
NA 31 H32 Ref.



Books about art provide both images and text. The call numbers for most books on art begin with the letter N. Evaluate the books you find to make sure you are getting valid information. These books are located on the Loan Shelves on the Library's first floor and can be checked out using your Buffalo Gold Card.

Cornette Library's online catalog
Includes books, government documents, videos, journals, etc. available throughout the Library. Suggested searches include:
  • a keyword search for your subject, such as french impressionism
  • the general LC subject heading Art
  • the LC subject heading for a specific time and/or place such as Painting, French--19th century

To determine the most appropriate subject headings for your search, refer to the red Library of Congress Subject Headings near the Reference computers in the Library or search the online Library of Congress Authorities Catalog.

The full-text of over 20,000 books. To find books by subject, use the keywords you developed to search the Library's online catalog or search by subject using the same LC subject headings you used above.
An online catalog for libraries around the world. You'll find books in Cornette Library's collection listed along with many more in other libraries. Search by keyword or browse by subject heading. You may request those books which are not available in the Cornette Library through Interlibrary Loan. Be sure to submit your requests at least two weeks before you will need them.


Journal & Magazine Articles

Cornette Library provides access to a number of online resources for finding journal articles. Some provide the full text of articles, while others may give only the citation and in some cases an abstract or short summary of the article. Some of these resources are general in nature, covering many subject areas. Others focus on particular subject areas or disciplines. When you find articles, evaluate them to make sure you are getting valid information. If you need assistance with searching the resources listed below, ask at the Reference Desk (first floor) or the Periodicals Desk (second floor). You may also call the Reference Desk at 651-2215 during the hours Cornette Library is open or use our Ask a Librarian service.

All of our online resources are available from off-campus as well as in the library. You will be asked to login: use your Buff Advisor username (for example, js123456) and your Buff Advisor password (for example, buffaloes).

While most of our online resources include the full-text of the journal articles they index, some only include citations. To find the full-text of an article when you only have the citation, browse our list of online journals and search Cornette Library's online catalog by journal title to determine if the issue you need is available in the Library's Periodicals collection. Journals are shelved alphabetically by title in the bound, microfilm, microfiche, or current periodicals areas on the Library's second floor. If the Library does not have the journal issue you need, you can request the article through Interlibrary Loan.

Academic Search Complete
Provides citations and abstracts (short summaries) of magazine and journal articles covering numerous topics. You'll also find the entire text of many articles here.
This database has a collection of core journals focused on art, art history, architecture, etc. Articles are generally full-text. Also look for the SFX logo for links to other databases such as Project Muse which have journals that are not included in JSTOR subscription.


World Wide Web

Web Site Finders

Finding reliable information on the Web can be problematic. The key is to evaluate what you find. To help you with this, start your search with one of the databases below since they carefully select sites before listing them.

Specific Web Sites

The Web is a great source for images of art works. Many museums place images of objects from their permanent collection and special exhibits on their Web sites. Take a look at the sites listed here for images, text, and definitions of art-related words.


Citing Your Sources

Why must I cite the sources I use for research projects?

MLA Style

A copy of the 6th and 7th editions of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is kept at the Reference Desk. Additional assistance is available from our Citation Basics web page.


Your Comments

There's always room for improvement!

If you have suggestions for improvements or would like to comment on something you found especially useful about this course guide, please email Linda Chenoweth. Your comments and suggestions are appreciated.