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Art History and Visual Culture: Finding and using library resources: 3. Where should I look?

Once you have decided what sort of research materials you want to work with, you can choose the best research tool to help you find that material. There are two Library Research tools that will help you find print and electronic primary and secondary materials:

1. Library Search

2. A-Z Databases

Don't just use Google for information!

Google will find lots of information and is a great tool for examining certain kinds of material such as blogs and other openly accessible web resources.  However, the information you find will vary greatly in terms of accuracy, currency bias etc. Always evaluate the material for research quality.

As well as containing information that is not exposed through Google, the Library research tools also allow you to be more precise with your searching as they offer specialist research database features to improve your research discovery.

If you are using Google Scholar, there are a number of settings you can change in order to improve your search experience.  Find out more on the Making the most of Google Scholar Libguide.

Think of Library Search and the databases as complementary research tools and choose whichever best needs your needs as you move through your research.

Finding resources using library search

Over 50% of our collection is available in digital format. Browsing the shelves can be useful but you'll miss a substantial part of the library collections if you rely on this approach alone.


Library Search

Search across the print and online collections for books, chapters, articles, journals and lots more. 

Library Search will help you discover books, journals, articles, audio visual material and more on your chosen topic. This is a good place to start when you are beginning to research a topic as you can draw on content from a variety of different sources.

For more in depth research in databases and archives, use the A-Z Databases List.

Finding Resources using the A- Z Databases List

Library Search is a good starting point for finding material on topic. 

However, if you want to research the global literature on a topic, and go beyond quick full text results, then you should follow up with a database search. 

You can tailor your search more precisely using all the sophisticated functionality available on the research databases.  

Sometimes you will need specialist types of material which are not available via Library Search - will primarily provides book and journal content information.

All the databases are available via the A-Z list.  See the guidance on the Research Databases tab for guidance on recommended databases for your subject

You can scroll through the A-Z and choose a database if you know exactly what you are looking for.

Select databases by Subject

You can select your subject from the drop down subject menu to see a subset of resources in that category.

The subject listings will highlight the 'core resources'; these are key databases that are likely to be of interest to anyone studying and researching in that area.

Your Subject LibGuide will also highlight recommended databases for you to explore

Select databases by Type

You can select a database type from the drop down type menu to see a subset of resources in that category.

For example, you may want to focus on news or official publications etc

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