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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.
Art Online (Oxford)
[Note: Access limited to three simultaneous users.] Covers all aspects of Western and non-Western visual art. Includes the full text of 'The Dictionary of Art,' and gives users access to subject entries, biographies, bibliographic citations, image links and images contained within Grove Art Online, as well as entries and images many other Oxford reference resources.
Contains the complete texts of many Oxford companions, encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference titles in a fully indexed, cross-searchable database. Included in addition to articles are images, maps, timelines, bibliographies, photographs and much more. To identify the most substantial entries, limit your results to "reference library" under "content set."
Arts & Humanities Through the Eras
Profiles milestones and movements in architecture and design, dance, fashion, literature, music, philosophy, religion, theater, and the visual arts in five periods: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome, the European Medieval period, the European Renaissance, and the European Baroque and Enlightenment. The cut-off time period is 1800.
Provides full text access to encyclopedias and other electronic reference sources.This collection of subject encyclopedias has particular strength in history, including U.S. cultural and social history.
Some subject encyclopedias are available in print format. These are located on the first floor of the library, across from the Learning Commons.
Encyclopedia of the Renaissance
Call Number: CB361 .E52 1999 Print Reference
Publication Date: 1999
This set of volumes treats the full period of the Renaissance, from 1350 to 1650, encompassing Italy and the rest of Europe in the context of the broader world. It contains topical entries and biographies, and alphabetically arranged articles on culture, literature, philosophy, religion, economics, politics, science, and the arts.
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.
Spear, Richard E. "Reni, Guido." Grove Art Online. January 01, 2003. Oxford Art Online, Oxford University Press. Date of access 18 Oct. 2018, <http:////www.oxfordartonline.com/groveart/view/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.001.0001/oao-9781884446054-e-7000071466>
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, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3427400961/GVRL?u=taco25438&sid=GVRL&xid=6552f866. 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.