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SSI1-106: Cleopatra: History and Myth

Getting Started with Subject Encyclopedias

Subject encyclopedias, handbooks and overviews are scholarly, tertiary works written by experts on a variety of topics. The articles are typically longer and more detailed than those found in general encyclopedias. The background information provides a good starting point as you begin the research process. These resources can help you with:

  • Understanding the scope of a topic
  • Suggesting ideas for narrowing a topic
  • Identifying key concepts, terms, dates and names
  • Listing subject areas related to a topic
  • Recommending sources for further exploration

Recommended Subject Encyclopedias

The library subscribes on your behalf to several online collections of subject encyclopedias.  The collections below are likely to be of the greatest help to you as you research your chosen artist and art work.

Some subject encyclopedias are available in print format.  These are located on the first floor of the library, across from the Learning Commons.


Using the BEAM framework, let's say that your exhibit (primary source) is Guido Reni's Cleopatra, and you are seeking tertiary sources.  Any of the following subject encyclopedia entries would work.

Biographical Entry

Spear, Richard E. "Reni, Guido." Grove Art Online.  January 01, 2003. Oxford Art Online, Oxford University Press. Date of access 18 Oct. 2018, <http:////>

Entry about Art Movements or Styles

"Elements of the Baroque Style." Arts and Humanities Through the Eras, edited by Edward I. Bleiberg, et al., vol. 5: The Age of the Baroque and Enlightenment 1600-1800, Gale, 2005, pp. 466-470. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 18 Oct. 2018.


When citing an article in a subject encyclopedia, be sure to indicate the author and title of the article, the specific title of the encyclopedia that contains the article, as well as the database name that contains the subject encyclopedia.