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Fine Arts Guide

This guide contains resources and information relevant to fine arts courses

Fine Arts Databases


The following databases are recommended when searching for articles relevant to fine arts.  Click the links below to access them.  You may be prompted for your SPC username and password.  If you have any difficulty accessing or searching the databases, please contact the Library.

Searching Database Gallery

Start at the SPC Library Home Page

You can access links to a variety of library resources by clicking on the "Hours of Operation, Technology Requests, and Other Library Services" button, including links to library databases. To navigate to the databases, simply click on this button and you will be directed to the Library Services and Policies page.

Select Databases

Once you have found the Library Services and Policies page, explore the side navigation menu. Towards the bottom, you'll find a dropdown menu under "Library Resources," featuring the databases link. Click on this "Databases" option in the dropdown to access the databases page.

Select Your Database

When you land on the database page, you will discover a well-organized array of databases categorized by subject or in an A-Z list. To find resources for your course, simply click on one of the subjects located on the screen under “Subject Databases.” We also have a short list of general databases that are useful for any subject. For this exercise, select Academic Search Complete, which is a general database with resources on a wide variety of topics, near the center of the screen.

Academic Search Complete

The Search Screen

While every database has a slightly different search screen, there are a few key features to remember for all of them. If you have the option to select "full text" make certain that this is selected. If your professor requires that your references be scholarly or peer-reviewed, click on that check box so that everything in your results will fit that requirement. Academic Search Complete has its search bar at the top. I used "video games" as a keyword search, which is the default if you do not select an option next to the search term such as title, author or subject.

Too Many Search Results

Too Many Results

With such a broad search term and only a key word search, most databases will give too many results to look through for a student with a research paper. This particular search gave over 30,000 results.

Narrow Search

Narrow Your Terms

The easiest way to reduce the number of results is to narrow your topic. Rather than searching for "video games," look for "video games and senior citizens" or "video games and women." You can also limit the search by selecting a field that "video games must appear in such as "TI Title" which would limit the search to about 2,000 results rather than 30,000.

Publication Limiter

Limit Your Results

Another way to decrease the size of your results list is to look at the Refine Results area of Academic Search Complete. This portion may look different in other databases, but should have a similar function. Some professors will require that your articles or other references be recent. The best way to ensure that an article is current is to set the Publication Date range of your search to about 5-10 years.

Other Limiters

Limit Your Results Further

You can also limit your results by a variety of other factors. The most useful tend to be: Source Types, Subject, and Language. Subject: Thesaurus Term and Subject often serve the same function when limiting your search result. Use whichever you feel works the best for you.

Article Parts

View an Article

When you have a reasonable number of articles to look through, no more than one hundred is usually my limit, you can finally start selecting an article from them. Once you have chosen an article, click on the title to pull up a page with an abstract of the article. This contains the article summary, links to the full text, and a variety of ways to use the article. In the image below, the full text options are surrounded by an orange rectangle. The ways to print, e-mail, and save the article are in a blue circle. I have also highlighted search terms for other articles with similar topics in red stars. These search terms are how you can go from one article you find that is useful to another one.


Article Citation

The article abstract also contains a link to a citation for the article. It will show the citation for the article in a variety of formats including ALA and MLA. Make certain that you check the citation that you are given because the one provided will most likely have errors.

Full Text

Read the Full Text

This particular article has both a HTML and a PDF full text option. The HTML option will pull up the full text underneath the abstract that you are looking at. The PDF will open another page with the PDF. If you want to print the PDF use the print link from within the PDF as shown in the picture below. You can also cite the article on this page with the icon shown in the blue circle.