On Display: The Rhetoric of Museums and Exhibition Spaces
Reference sources can be a good source of preliminary information on a topic and a means to collect useful keywords. They also often contain bibliographies that cite key texts and thinkers associated with a specific topic. The online resources listed here are a small sample of the reference materials Stanford has to offer; many are in print form and can be found by searching SearchWorks or by physically browsing the libraries' reference areas.
Tips for using reference sources:
1. Look at the cross-references that many entries provide. These can be helpful in pointing you toward a related or more accurate idea/term.
Suggested online reference sources:
Finding additional books:
The Basic Search performs a lot like a typical Web search engine, bringing back hits from a keyword search, sorted by relevance. You can try simply entering the name of an artist in the search box and then hitting the "Search" button--or you might try entering the artist's name and then switching the button to "Subject terms." The Advanced Search allows for more specificity and flexibility, as you can limit a keyword search to specific fields (e.g., title, subject terms) and/or restrict results to a certain library, language, etc. In either mode you can elect to sort results by a method other than relevance: by year (old to new or new to old), title, or author.
Socrates is Stanford's other, older online catalog/database for on-campus library resources. It has a few features that make it worth using in conjunction with SearchWorks. For instance:
Searching for personal names in Socrates:
For books on an individual authors, artists, architects, designers, critics, etc., the most focused search is via the Combined Search page. Select Personal Name (not Personal Author) from the options available and enter the name in any order. Or, on the Simple Search page try full name as a Keyword search and Search Everything. [Comparable SearchWorks tip: try the Advanced Name search.]
Searching for subjects in Socrates:
For searches on subjects, start with the Simple Search screen and search on Keyword in Title. Start with basic terms. When you find items on your topic click on Details to see the individual records for those items. Note the Subjects (LC). Once you find LC terms that relate to your topic, use Simple Search, enter the term, and Browse on Subject (make sure to delete the dashes). This puts you into one of the database's indexes, where you can get an organized overview of the catalog's subject listings, in alphabetical order. [SearchWorks tip: to get started, type in your basic title terms in the Basic Search box; use the drop down arrow to select Title as the specific search button. When you find items that relate to your topic, open each record and review the Subjects. Click on the ones that seem useful to see other records like it.]
It's worth spending some time exploring the similarities and differences between SearchWorks and Socrates. Both contain the same information, but how the information is retrieved and displayed differs significantly.
Finding books by using bibliographies:
Sometimes the best way to find books (or articles) on an artist or a subject is to use the bibliographies that authors have already compiled. Academic texts often include a back section that lists the works that the authors have cited, referred to, and/or recommended.
In the academic world the term "database" usually refers to specific resources that retrieve items--usually from the periodical literature--not typically listed in a library's online catalog. Databases are normally oriented toward specific subjects, and therefore they can go into far more specificity than Stanford's own online catalog, SearchWorks, can. While journal articles are the most common items to be included in databases, many also include citations (i.e., listings for and descriptions of) for book and exhibition reviews and for chapters or essays within anthologies.
Tips for using databases
1. Start in the databases section of SearchWorks. The list of subjects is a useful place for beginning research.
2. After selecting a relevant database, treat your search similarly to how you would search in SearchWorks. Most databases are structured in essentially the same way, though often with their own proprietary sets of keywords and subject headings.
In your library workshop we are, of course, not going to attempt to teach you everything there is to know about research at Stanford. But we are going to help you understand some basic concepts with which you can build a solid research foundation.
Library research skills:
 Approaching a research question constructively, breaking it down into conceptual segments and useful keywords
 How this database differs from the ones listed on the Databases page and how they are similar to them