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AR 121a Writing About Art: Library Research Class: Searching strategies

A guide to assist you with research on a work in the Lunder Collection of the Colby College Museum of Art

Constructing Searches

USE THE * [asterisk symbol]: ROOT WORD AND SPELLING VARIATIONS

paint* america*

TO COMBINE LIKE TERMS TOGETHER: use OR

"John La Farge" or Thomas Couture

TO COMBINE DIFFERENT CONCEPTS: use AND

america* AND paint* AND "John La Farge"

TO USE BOTH METHODS FOR A SMART SEARCH:

 (John La Farge OR Thomas Couture) AND (paint* OR art) AND America*

Searching Names of Artists in the Catalog

  • Spaces matter. John LaFarge and John La Farge may retrieve different results.
  • Be aware of the artist's dates before you search.
  • Seaching by artist as author and artist as subject (last name, first name) will retrieve different results (more honed)
  • Searching by artist by keyword will broaden your results 

Author vs Subject Searching

AUTHOR: In the library catalogs, works of authorship for artists can include art exhibition catalogs, books where the main focus in on publishing art reproductions of the artists, as well as textual or literary works of authorship by an artists (essays, lectures, letters, etc.). These include primary resources.

SUBJECT: Works primarily about an artist (monographs, scholarship about an artist, etc.) are classified by subject.

When you search by author you will get a different subset of material than if you search by subject! Try both approaches, or use keyword or phrase searching, e.g. "John La Farge" when looking in the library catalog.

USEFUL SUBJECT HEADINGS FOR THIS TOPIC

Subject headings are controlled terms applied throughout the library catalog: 

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