Art Reference Sources
Our Reference Collection, on the first floor of the Library, is arranged according to the Library of Congress Classification System, which groups together items on the same subject. The Library's book stacks, on the second and third floors, and our print periodicals, on the second floor, are also arranged according to this system. Call numbers for the fine arts begin with N. Call numbers for photography begin with TR. For details on how art books are arranged in our Library, please see Finding Book on Art.
You can use call numbers to browse in the Reference collection. You will find specialized encyclopedias and handboooks, dictionaries of art and art history terms, and biographical dictionaries for artists, among other things. If you are looking for specific information, please ask for assistance at the Reference desk, also on the first floor.
Here are a few recommended reference sources available at the HSU Library. Use the call numbers to find the print sources in the Reference collection on the first floor of the library. NOTE: Only HSU faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students may access electronic resources from off-campus locations. If you are in one of those categories, go to Off Campus Access to Databases for instructions on how to connect to these resources if you are not in the Library, a campus computer lab, or campus office.
- The Dictionary of Art (ref N 31 D5 1996 v.1-34) You may want to consult the online version of this text, the Grove Dictionary of Art
- Encyclopedia of World Art (ref N 31 E533 v.1-17)
- McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Art (ref N 33 M23 v.1-5)
- The Yale Dictionary of Art and Artists (ref N 33 L353 2000)
- Artwords: A Glossary of Contemporary Art Theory (ref N71 P32 1997)
- Artspoke: A Guide to Modern Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, 1848-1944 (ref N 6447 A85 1993)
- Artspeak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, 1945 to the Present (ref N 6490 A87 1997)
- Dictionary of Symbols in Western Art (ref N 7740 C29 1995)
- Contemporary Women Artists (ref N 8354 C66 1999)
Subject encyclopedias are especially useful reference sources. Written on broad topics such as themes in art, or specialized ones, such as the art of specific regions or time periods, they have summary articles, often written by scholars or other experts, that give you an overview of a topic. You can browse these to help you decide if you are interested in doing more research on the topic. If you have already decided on a topic, these sources may give you a framework or context for your specific investigation. The articles will also give you names of people and places important for the topic, key dates, and other information you can use in further research. Many articles in subject encyclopedias include a bibliography or list of recommended books and articles on the topic. Using these recommendations is a good way to begin more in-depth research.
To find subject encyclopedias, use the HSU Library Catalog, not QuickSearch:
- Choose the Advanced Search tab.
- Type the term(s) for the subject you are looking for in the first Search: box, for example art, women artists, symbols, etc. Use as few words as possible.
- Change any of these to all of these or as a phrase, if needed.
- Change the first within: menu to subject.
- Type encyclopedias dictionaries in the second Search: box. (Many encyclopedias are called dictionaries. It just means that their articles are in alphabetical, or "dictionary," order.)
- Change the second within: menu to subject.
- Click the Search button.
For more help with using the Reference collection, please ask a librarian.