Finding your materials, part
Use Amazon.com in conjunction
. . . . . SEAL, WorldCat and online archives
Amazon.com is a VERY
useful tool--especially when used in conjunction with your Library
Loan. Libraries tend to share their resources, so even a
tiny local library that seems to have very little to offer usually
will be able to request resources for you.
Your library catalog,
Cat are exceedingly helpful in finding Library resources
locally, and worldwide (WorldCat). But these catalogs don't have
the same flexibility and power for identifying things you may
want. Amazon, of course, wants to sell you things--so Amazon
has a very high motivation (and budget) to help you find what
To use Amazon strategically:
- Go to the book
section of Amazon.com and type in any search term
that comes to mind--something you usually can't do successfully
with less flexible Library databases. Be inventive, and phrase
your searches in different ways. You'll get all kinds of results:
some obvious junk, and some gems. For many of the gems you can
use Amazon's "Look Inside" feature to check out the
table of contents, the index and some the first pages. Remember
that Amazon will mostly feature fairly recent books.
- Find something
Look it up in your local library catalog and in databases for
other libraries: World
Cat is helpful, and many regions have local library consortiums.
Looking in the local library consortium database (ask your Librarian
about this) will usually tell you if the item is in your Library's
collection, and if it isn't the local library consortium database--or
if you prefer, World
Cat-- will tell you where the resource is. Remember that
is very good, but won't always include smaller libraries that
may be close by to you.
- If the source you
want isn't immediately available:
- Check to see if
it's available on one of the online archives listed in the Archives Online page of this Art Resources
site. Look especially at the Digital Libraries - Art and Digital
Libraries - General sections. Some sites, such as Open Library,
have digital facsimile editions that you can either "borrow"
right away, or get on the waiting list to borrow. Digital facsimile
editions are of course very helpful as they feature pagination
that is the same as the hard copy book.
- If you can't find
the source in an online digital library, request it IMMEDIATELY
Library's InterLibrary loan service. It will help to speed things
along if you make a note of where the book you want is and to
put the location of the book in the appropriate field of the
online InterLibrary loan form--being sure also to mention where
you found the listing (the local Library consortium database
or WorldCat). If a library near you has the resource--be sure
to note this in the appropriate spot on the online InterLibrary
- It's important
to move quickly--within the first few weeks of semester--to make
your InterLibrary Loan requests.
Typically it takes a week or two, sometimes three, for the book
to arrive. Usually you can take the book home, but be prepared
to photocopy as the loan period is limited--and sometimes the
lending library requests a restriction of your local library
- The resources mentioned
in this section also appear as links on the Research
the Art History Resources website.
© Jan Mainzer