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Public Art Research

STEP 1: Wikipedia

As a free encyclopedia that is edited by the public, Wikipedia cannot be completely relied on for accurate information and should never be cited in academic research. However, we can use it to gather basic background information. 

Some Wikipedia entries have bibliographies at the bottom containing scholarly material that can be cited for your paper.

STEP 2: Public Art by City

Search by city. You may visit the cultural affairs department or public programs pages of a city's official website to find information about their public art programs and directories to objects.

STEP 3: Oxford Art Online

Oxford Art Online is a scholarly, comprehensive, art encyclopedia that has short entries on art. All the entries are written by top scholars in their fields. A keyword search will show you all entries that match your keyword. Check out the sources listed in the bibliography for each entry. These books or articles may be available in the library.

STEP 4: Search for Books, Articles, DVDs and More

Type keywords in the 'Books & More' tab of the online catalog. Gathering background information helps generate a list of different keywords to try, e.g.,

  • the artist's name,
  • title of the artwork,
  • medium,
  • time period,
  • location
  • or movement. 

Broad terms work best. If one keyword does not produce results, try another! 

STEP 5: Search 'Databases'

From the library website, click 'Databases A-Z' under 'Quick Links' and then select 'Art' from the 'All Subjects' drop-down.

STEP 6: Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides access to scholarly articles and conference papers, many of them available online as PDF files. When logged in to our proxy server, you will also see links to items within our collections. 

Do not pay to get the full text of any article, if you can't find the full text, Ask Us for help.