Crystal Bridges’ Library offers a wide and wonderful selection of authoritative works to choose from about American and European artists. We encourage anyone interested in finding out more about a particular artist in Crystal Bridges’ collection to visit the Library, do a quick search, and browse a few of our many books and catalogs. You are certain to be fascinated by the wealth of information you can uncover! We recognize, however, that the Internet also offers a host of resources for research … with the added attraction that you can access them from your own laptop, at any time of the day or night, without changing out of your PJs. In today’s blog, Crystal Bridges’ Head Librarian, Catherine Petersen, offers some tips to help your online research yield gold, not garbage! –LD
It is tempting to conduct research totally online; however, information online is not always credible, reliable, authoritative or current. There are several ways to evaluate a website (Joe Baker’s Evaluating Web Pages: Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial is exceptional) and the American Association of Librarians (ALA) Reference User’s Association (RUSA) offers great suggestions for using primary resources on the web.
Admittedly, we all research online, but developing habits that take you to the best quality resources will inevitably serve you well and help you avoid plagiarism which has far more consequences for the scholar or professional than the student. But nevertheless, online information is a vast world that can lead to powerful untruths if left unchecked. There are a few resources for researching works of art from home. One popular method for students is searching through Google Scholar where an increasing number of scholarly articles can be accessed. The Getty Research Institute offers many online credible sites as well as many digitized books. The Internet Archive has a growing number of digital books. The Smithsonian Research Information System (SIRIS) is a free online resource that includes searchable Archives of American Artists and Art Inventories See American Art Resources on the Museum Library website for a comprehensive list of quality online materials, and American Artists on the Museum Library website for direct links to good American Artists sites.
Also consider consulting Museum websites. Many museums have a searchable database of their objects and/or index their past exhibitions. Amon Carter Museum of American Art The Art Institute of Chicago: American Art The Art Institute of Chicago: Art Access, American Art Boston Athenaeum Gilcrease Museum Metropolitan Museum of Art Museum of Fine Arts Boston: American Collections National Gallery of Art: American Painting National Museum of American Art National Museum of Women in the Arts National Portrait Gallery Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Smithsonian American Art Museum Photograph Archives: Portraits of American Artists Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Whitney Museum of American Art