Types of Resources
Primary sources are original materials on which other works are based. It includes material such as letters, diaries, museum records, interviews and fieldwork. In some cases, newspaper articles may be primary sources if the material provides a first-hand account of an event.
- Memoir, blog post, or other personal narrative written by an artist
- Artist Statement
- News item describing an artist talk
- Interview of an artist
- Original work of art
Secondary sources describe, analyze, review or summarize primary sources.
- Research article critiquing an artist's complete body of work
- News item critiquing an exhibition
- Book about a style of painting
Here are other resources you may find useful while formatting your paper:
When you search for resources, you're likely going to find a lot of information... but is it reliable? You will need to determine this for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. Try evaluating the resource on the following five factors:
- Currency - is it current? Is currency important for the topic?
- Relevance - is it relevant to your assignment? Who is the audience?
- Authority - is the author/creator an expert on the subject?
- Accuracy - is the information supported by evidence?
- Purpose - is it biased? Is the resource trying to sell you on something?
Try evaluating these websites using the CRAAP Test:
Writing About Art
Here are some selected books in the Library on writing about art:
- Barnet, S. (2011). A Short Guide to Writing About Art. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
- Bernstein, M. , & Yatchisin, G. (2001). Writing for the Visual Arts. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
- Hudson, S. (2015). The Art of Writing About Art. Stamford, CT: Cengage.
- Sayre, H. (2002). Writing About Art. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Creating an Annotated Bibliography
What is an annotated bibliography?
An annotated bibliography is a list of sources (books, articles, websites, etc.) with short paragraph about each source. An annotated bibliography is sometimes a useful step before drafting a research paper, or it can stand alone as an overview of the research available on a topic.
Each source in the annotated bibliography has a citation - the information a reader needs to find the original source, in a consistent format to make that easier. These consistent formats are called citation styles. The most common citation styles are MLA (Modern Language Association) for humanities, and APA (American Psychological Association) for social sciences.
Annotations are about 4 to 6 sentences long (roughly 150 words), and address:
- Main focus or purpose of the work
- Usefulness or relevance to your research topic
- Special features of the work that were unique or helpful
- Background and credibility of the author
- Conclusions or observations reached by the author
- Conclusions or observations reached by you
Annotations versus abstracts
Many scholarly articles start with an abstract, which is the author's summary of the article, to help you decide whether you should read the entire article. This abstract is not the same thing as an annotation. The annotation needs to be in your own words, to explain the relevance of the source to your particular assignment or research question.
Visit the OneSearch FAQ to learn all about how to use the library's new online OneSearch tool to find articles, books and more. Or, watch the How to Use OneSearch video:
Use the Art Databases to find peer-reviewed articles, reviews, news items and more.
Using Google Scholar
You can find items the Oviatt Library owns using Google Scholar's "Find Text" capabilities. To activate the capabilities for your browser:
- Select Settings (near the top of the page), then Library links from the left menu
- In the search box, type "CSUN" and click the magnifying glass to perform search
- Check the box next to "CSU, Northridge (SFX Find It at CSUN)"
- Click Save
After performing a search in Google Scholar, select the SFX Find It at CSUN link (to the right of the article) or the SFX: Additional Options link (located below the article description) for access to online full text, Oviatt Library holdings information, and Interlibrary Loan.
Citation Formatting Tools
Following are tools and resources helpful in managing citations:
EndNote - online tool for collecting, managing, and creating a bibliography from your citations.
See Managing Citations Using EndNote Web for more information on this tool.
EasyBib - MLA style bibliography composer
Generate a bibliography in Microsoft Word
Son of Citation Machine - MLA, APA, Chicago and Turabian citation style composer