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John M. Flaxman Library SAIC School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Art History Research Guide


Identifying Relevant Publications for Art History Research

  Trade Magazine Articles  Peer-Reviewed Articles Academic/University Press Books Museum or Exhibition Catalogs [Books]

Artforum International

Journal of Asian Studies

What is paleolithic art? : cave paintings and the dawn of human creativity

Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian painting 


General news and updates of issues in the field; lots of images and advertisements.

Trade refers to the practitioners in the field who are knowledgeable in their areas and write with authority. Articles are read by magazine staff (editors) primarily for readability and coherence before publication, but not with the same rigor as peer-reviewed (scholarly) articles. 

Primary account of original research; In-depth analysis of issues in the field; Articles often include abstract, method, discussion, tables, conclusion, and references;

Peer-review refers to the rigorous process that articles undergo before they may be published.  Other scholars in the author's field or discipline review and evaluate the article for quality and validity.  If lacking, the article may be rejected, but otherwise, the article is accepted, often with suggestions for revision.

 *all peer-reviewed articles are considered scholarly 

Often reports original research, reviews and evaluates material that has already been published, or expands and refines theory.

Also called a university press because it is a publishing house associated with a university or other scholarly institution, specializing in the publication of scholarly books and journals, particularly works written by its faculty or other researchers in the field. 


Museum catalogs publish scholarship of the curatorial staff, often in-depth research on the museum's collection including images, and descriptions of the objects. Internal museum editorial staff will typically edit the material before it is published, or museums' may contract with outside publishers for editorial review. 

Exhibition catalogs document museum or gallery exhibits, and often include essays by curators, art historians, artists or critics providing a forum for critical dialogue. As a record of the event, it can be a good source for images, descriptions and other important material

Authors Magazine staff writers, critics, artists, journalists, practitioners in the field, or journalists with subject expertise

Researchers, scholars, professors, etc.

Includes author's credentials and institutional affiliation

Researchers, scholars, professors, etc. Includes author's credentials and institutional affiliation Museum or gallery staff and associates, art historians, critics. Often includes author's credentials and institutional affiliation
Editors Works for the publisher Journal's editorial board in addition to external scholars in the same field Researchers, scholars, professors, etc. Museum editorial staff, publisher's editorial staff
Publishers Commercial publishers or trade and professional organizations Universities, scholarly presses, or academic organizations Universities Museums, universities, scholarly presses or academic organizations
Example Databases Academic Search Complete, Art Design & Architecture Collection Academic Search Complete, Art Design & Architecture CollectionJSTOR SAIC Flaxman Library Catalog, I-Share Catalog, Google Books

SAIC Flaxman Library Catalog, I-Share Catalog, Google Books