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Art Research Guide

  • Find Background Info
  • Find Books and Films
  • Find Articles
  • Find Images
  • Citing Sources

Find Background Info

Background sources, such as specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries, are an essential piece of the research process. They can help you:

  • Gather information about your topic and understand the scope of the research
  • Locate reliable sources and clarify keywords
  • Pinpoint important authors, texts, ideas, and keywords about the research area. Knowing what the primary phrases and concepts are will help you a lot as you are searching library databases and online sources.

Credo Reference

Credo Reference is a multi-publisher collection of high quality reference titles covering everything from the arts to astronomy, law to literature, and science to Shakespeare. The collection currently contains over 162 titles taken from 36 different reference publishers and more titles are being added. Available titles also include a range of multimedia options including thousands of high quality diagrams, photographs, maps, and audio files.

Art and art history book in Credo

Search Credo Reference

Grove Dictionary of Art

This comprehensive dictionary includes detailed entries on art forms, materials, artists, periods, styles, and key issues in the history of art from around the world.

Grove Dictionary of Art

Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art

A useful resource for the study of art history, this dictionary contains short entries for themes, symbols, and subjects frequently depicted in Western art history.

Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art

Styles, Schools, and Movements: The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art

A survey text offering overviews of major trends in modern art from the late nineteenth century to the present.

Styles, Schools, and Movements: The Essential Encyclopaedic Guide to Modern Art


This web resource features essays, videos, images, and other material on art from prehistory to the present. Art historians with a general audience in mind produce content.

Search Smarthistory

Find Books and Films

Print and e-books are valuable sources for academic research. They will help you gain an overview of your topic and often contain in-depth information about the scholarship or history of research on a subject. Some books are written by single authors while others include essays or chapters by multiple scholars within a discipline. Don’t let the length of books intimidate you because you don’t need to read them from cover to cover. Look at the table of contents and index to find the sections that are relevant to your work.

Find Books Using GriffinSearch

GriffinSearch is a good starting place if you are looking for books, journal articles, films, and other materials available in the library. In addition to searching the Giovale Library catalog for physical materials, GriffinSearch finds e-books and articles from several of our databases. To get started, search by keyword or type in the title of a book here:

Academic Videos Online (AVON)

AVON provides unlimited access to a comprehensive selection of videos curated for the educational experience.

Search Academic Videos Online

Videos about Art and Architecture


WorldCat lets you search for books, articles, videos, and other material that are available in libraries worldwide. If you are doing in-depth research on a topic and are considering requesting resources through Interlibrary Loan, WorldCat can help you discover resources that might not be in the Giovale Library collection.

Search WorldCat

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary Loan is a service where patrons of one library can borrow books and other materials, and access journal articles that are owned by another library.

Explore Interlibrary Loan Materials

Utah Academic Library Consortium

Giovale Library participates in the Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC) and Westminster College students have reciprocal circulation privileges at UALC partner libraries. Each UALC library has different circulation policies, but all require a current, valid, legal photo identification and proof of current enrollment at Westminster. Some libraries may also require other verification methods, so it is recommended that you contact the library you are interested in for details.

Explore the Consortium

Popular Titles and Featured Texts

The Spiral Jetty Encyclo cover art

The Spiral Jetty Encyclo: Exploring Robert Smithson's Earthwork through Time and Place

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Discovered Lands cover art

Discovered Lands, Invented Pasts: Transforming Visions of the American West

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cover art for Make Art

Making Art: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist

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cover art for Modern Art

Modern Art: A Critical Introduction

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Find Articles

The Giovale Library provides access to a number of subject databases that you can use to find journal articles on topics within a specific discipline or field of study. The databases listed on this page are those that are most useful for finding research published in visual art and art history.

Art Full Text

A bibliographic database that indexes and abstracts articles from periodicals published throughout the world. Full text coverage for selected periodicals is also included. Periodical coverage includes English-language periodicals, yearbooks, and museum bulletins, as well as periodicals published in French, Italian, German, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish. In addition to articles, Art Full Text indexes reproductions of works of art that appear in indexed periodicals.

Search Art Full Text


GriffinSearch is a good starting place if you are looking for books, journal articles, films, and other material available in the library. In addition to searching the Giovale Library catalog for physical materials, GriffinSearch finds e-books and articles from several of our databases.

Search GriffinSearch

Find Images

In research on art and artists, you often need to find images and other types of primary source material. Although many of these sources are available on the web, you will want to make sure that the websites you use are trustworthy and contain accurate image reproductions. Also, remember that you need to comply with copyright laws when using images. Always cite images, just as you would any other source (see the Citing Sources tab for additional information). In addition to using the Google Image Search, try sources such as these:

Bridgeman Images

These digital image collections are accessible through Credo Reference. The Bridgeman Art Library is the most comprehensive and includes reproductions of visual art from throughout history.

Search Bridgeman Images

National Gallery of Art (NGA images)

The digital image repository of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Search NGA Images

Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection Database

A searchable database of artwork from the permanent collection of the Metrpolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Search the Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection Database

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Collection Search Page

Digital images from New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Search the MOMA Collection


If you are looking for images of artwork by a specific artist, this website can help you search across museum collections. The links take you to reliable image sources produced by museums and galleries.

Search Artcyclopedia

Citing Sources

Citation Resources

Properly citing your sources shows that you’ve done research to become knowledgeable about your topic and helps you avoid plagiarism. Explore citation resources to learn how to correctly cite sources based on style.


Need help with your research?

Get in touch with:

Spencer DeVilbiss Headshot

Spencer DeVilbiss

Liaison Librarian for Anthropology

(801) 832-2255

Librarians are happy to answer questions via email, phone, or in-person.

Contact Spencer with a question or to schedule a research help appointment.

Faculty: Contact Spencer to suggest edits to this research guide.

Chat with a Librarian

Use the chat box below to ask the library staff a question. If chat is unavailable or we don’t respond quickly, please use the email form on our Get Research Help page and a library staff member will contact you as soon as we are available.