Art 103 – History of Art: Prehistoric to Gothic

Wikipedia Creative Commons Assyrian Statue


About This Guide:

This guide provides students with recommended resources for conducting research in Art 103. Use the tabs to navigate through the pages of the guide.

Your Assignment:

A research paper on an artist, a work of art, a building/monument, a movement, or topic covered in class.

Need more help?

If you need more help with research, ask a librarian! Stop by the Reference Desk, or contact a librarian by phone, text, or chat for more help. Find our contact information on the right side of this page.Contact Us

Reference Sources

Reference books and online databases are a great place to begin your research. Just a few examples of reference books and databases related to art & biography are listed below.

Print Sources

These resources are available in the Luria Library Reference section. You can take notes or pages can be photocopied at ten cents a page.

  • Encyclopedia of World Art – R 700 E56 (17 volumes with 4 supplements)
  • Dictionary of Art – R 703 T948d (34 volumes)
  • Oxford Companion to Western Art – R 703 B856o
  • The Oxford dictionary of the Middle Ages – R 909.07 B626o
  • The Oxford encyclopedia of ancient Egypt – R 932 R315o
  • Civilizations of the ancient Near East – R 939 S252c

Online Sources

To access databases from off campus you will need to log-in with your pipeline account number and password.

  • Credo Reference A general reference source featuring a concept map to help identify keywords and broaden or narrow topics.
  • History Reference Center Check here for reference books, periodicals, and primary sources.

Books & Articles


Search the Library Catalog to find books about your topic of research.


Journal and magazine articles usually provide the most current information on a topic. Journal articles are more scholarly while magazine articles tend to be shorter and more general. The databases listed here will contain full-text articles. To access databases from off campus you will need to log-in with your pipeline account number and password.

  • Academic Search Premier Use this database for general information.
  • ARTstor Use this database for images and some text.
  • JSTOR A database of full-text, scholarly articles. Covers a range of subjects, including the arts.
  • Project MUSE A database of full-text, scholarly articles. Covers a range of subjects, including the arts.
  • Google Scholar Google Scholar can provide access to some full-text articles and books.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan is a free service for students. Students can request copies of articles or borrow books from another library. Students are advised to request loans early in the research process as loans can take three to ten days.

Interlibrary Loan


Evaluating Websites

Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Test for Evaluating Sources to determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: The reason the information exists. Is the purpose to sell, to entertain, to inform, to teach, or to persuade? Do the authors and publishers/sponsors make their purposes clear? Is this source designed for general readers or academic readers?
  • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. Does it relate to your topic? Does it meet the requirements of your assignment? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness of the information. Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong or emotional language, or leave out important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The truthfulness and accuracy of the information. Where does the information come from? Can you verify it in other sources? Are there citations or links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic?
  • Expertise: The source of the information. Who are the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the information? Are they experts, or has the information been reviewed by experts? Is it posted on a personal website or blog?
  • Newness: The timeliness of the information. When was the information published or posted? Is it up to date? Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as technology or current events), or will older sources work as well?

The Internet can be a valuable source for supplementing the information you have gathered from books and periodicals. It is important that you evaluate the information you get from the Internet to determine if it is reliable and useful to your research. The internet sites included here have been reviewed by a librarian.

Selected Websites:


Help with Writing

You may want to consult guides to writing about art which are in the Luria Library.

Here is an online writing center at Purdue University.
From the Purdue site, here is a short piece on quoting, summarizing and paraphrasing.

Paper writing assistance

How to Cite

This Citation Worksheet is a helpful way to keep track of your sources and all the elements you will need in citing them for your bibliography.

Links to MLA citation format: