CSUN WordmarkOviatt Library Wordmark

ART 414: History of Japanese Art

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators are words (or, and, not) used to connect search terms to expand (or) or narrow (and, not) a search within a database to locate relevant information. Boolean operators are also called logical operators or connectors.

It is helpful to diagram the effects of these operators:

Or Relationship diagram

women or females

Or retrieves records that contain any of the search terms. It expands the search. Therefore, use "or" in between terms that have the same meaning (synonyms) or equal value to the search.

And Relationship diagram

women and media

And retrieves records that contain all of the search terms. It narrows or limits the search. Therefore, use "and" in between terms that are required to make the search specific.

Not Relationship diagram

image not weight

Not eliminates records that contain a search term. It narrows or limits the search. Therefore, use "not" in front of a term to ensure that the search will not include that term. Warning: Some databases use "and not" instead of "not." Check the database help screen.

Image Databases

Looking for images? Try searching these databases:

  • ARTstor
    A digital archive containing over 1.6 million world art and architecture images.

  • Berg Fashion Library
    Provides cross-searchable access to interdisciplinary and integrated text, image, and journal content on world dress and fashion. Includes the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion, a specially-created taxonomy, an e-book collection, and an extensive color image bank as well as other resources. Access restricted to 3 users at a time.

  • Oxford Art Online
    Though primarily used as a reference source, this database includes images in many of its entries! Includes The Dictionary of Art; The Oxford Companion to Western Art; The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics; and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms.

Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style (also called CMS) is commonly used within the humanities and social sciences. The Library has several copies of CMS, both online and in print.

Here are other resources you may find useful while formatting your paper:

Writing About Art

Here are some selected books in the Library on writing about art:

Types of Resources

Primary Sources

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

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


  • Most databases allow for a symbol to be used at the end of a word to retrieve variant endings of that word. This is known as truncation.
  • Using truncation will broaden your search. For example,

    bank* will retrieve: bank or banks or banking or banker or bankruptcy, etc.

  • Databases and Internet search engines use different symbols to truncate. In general, most of the Library's databases use the asterisk (*) ; however, the exclamation point (!) is used in LexisNexis. Check the database help screen to find the correct truncation symbol.
  • Be careful using truncation. Truncating after too few letters will retrieve terms that are not relevant. For example:

    cat* will also retrieve cataclysm, catacomb, catalepsy, catalog, etc.

    It's best to use the boolean operator "or" in these instances (cat or cats).


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:

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.

Citation Formatting Tools

Following are tools and resources helpful in managing citations:

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:

  1. Select Settings (near the top of the page), then Library links from the left menu
  2. In the search box, type "CSUN" and click the magnifying glass to perform search
  3. Check the box next to "CSU, Northridge (SFX Find It at CSUN)"
  4. 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.