UCB Libraries

ARTS 4095: Ceramic Traditions

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  • Exploring Traditions
  • Research a Ceramicist
  • Articles
  • Images
  • Cite


Your Assignment

It will be a presentation of a particular area or subject of ceramic work to begin to pose questions about tradition.  You may be quite open about how you chose the artist, theme, area of discipline, or topic in your interrogation of the subject of tradition.

Investigating Tradition

The project is very open ended, and all about exploring the literature to question and become inspired by tradtion. Try to think of connected topics and brainstorm related ideas. These will help you search for more books in Chinook. Develop advanced keywords to either expand or narrow your searches.


Browse the shelves, look up the call-numbers of interesting books and look in that general area. Ceramics can generally be found from NK3700 to NK4695.


Use the subject headings in chinook of a particular book to find more books. Use the vocabulary in the subject headings to create a more consistent search. For example, add "pictorial works" to your search to get only books that consist mostly of images.


Developing Keywords

Wherever you are searching you will want to develop good keywords. Check out the How do I Create Keywords guide to learn more about advanced keyword searching.



Think of all the other ways a topic, idea, or person could be referred to, don't forget foreign languages.

ex: Minnesota Mingei or mingei-sota



Put all phrases in quotations in order to limit your search just to the specific idea

ex: "salt firing"


Truncation & Wildcards

Whenever a word has multiple endings add an asterisk at the end to search all variations.

When a word has multiple spellings add a ? in the place of the variable letters.

ex: Ceramic* searches Ceramic, Ceramics, Ceramicist, Ceramicists


Boolean Searching (AND OR)

Power search by using Boolean to search many combinations of keywords at once. This means using OR to string together synonyms and connecting concepts with AND. Find out more here.

ex: (ceramic* OR pottery) AND japan* AND (modern OR contemporary)





Go on to researching a ceramicist >>


Your Assignment

This will be a presentation about a particular artist and the traditions found in the work.  The artist must be one that is well known and must have a significant record of exhibitions.  There must be substantial material published about their work. There must be critical writings addressing their thinking and strategies for producing artwork.

Web Resources for Biographies and Exhibitions

These web resources may give you a short biography of your artist, but more importantly they'll cite sources for more information. They may also give you an exhibition history, from there you can find the catalogs of those exhibitions:

Sources for Biographies & Exhibition Histories

Oxford Art Online

Includes extensive biographies on artists and other encyclopedia entries. If your artist is well known and established, they will probably have a biography here.


Marquis Who's Who on the Web

Includes Who's Who in American Art. A great source for the basic info on American Artists, includes lists of exhibitions, museums that have collected the artist, and contact information.


Gale Virtual Reference

Searches across many reference sources at once, providing full text entires. Includes major world biographies.


Contemporary Artists Index

When you search by artist it will list all the catalogs that include them. A great source for hard-to-find artists. Search for the books you find in Chinook or Worldcat.


Google Books

Allows you to search within a book for content. This is important for contemporary artists as they might be mentioned in Biennals or Exhibition Catalogs, but not be a main focus of the book. Once you find a book, check our library to see if we own that book.



Its extensive nature and frequent updating make Wikipedia one of the only places for information about some obscure and current artists.


Once you find books or sources, you can check if the library owns that book, or if you'll have to request it either through Prospector or Worldcat.


Library Catalogs


Chinook is the catalog for books and other materials owned by the CU Libraries. Articles are not in Chinook



If you search Chinook and find that the CU Libraries do not have the item you are looking for (or if the item you are looking for is checked out), you can search Prospector, which is a combined library catalog of 23 libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. Once requested, the items will generally be delivered to Norlin within a few business days.



Worldcat will search most American libraries and some foreign libraries. If there is a book published on your artist or group you would find it here. You can request books via Interlibrary Loan (ILL), there will be a link in the Worldcat to "Request from ILLiad."


Go on to Finding Articles and Magazines >>



Finding Articles & News

Finding articles in journals & magazines requires using an Index, which brings together the individual titles from multiple magazines and makes them searchable. Indexes are often focused on a specific subject. Articles are not in Chinook.

Article Indexes

Design & applied arts index
Covers both schoarly popular journals on the applied arts including ceramics. The single best resource for this project, and for other research in this area.


ArtBibliographies Modern
Covers both scholarly and popular art magazines. You can find interviews, articles, exhibition reviews and more here.


ProQuest newspapers

Get articles from 500 newspapers covering mostly the last 30 years. A great sources for exhibition reviews.



A full-text archive of important scholarly publications in the humanities and social sciences. It covers far fewer journals and so is best used when you need to be able to search the full-text of articles. It often lacks the most recent five years of a journal.


Finding Blogs


Blogs can be a great source for reactions, images, and info. Use Google Blog Search.



Does your paper intersect with topics beyond Art?


Check out all our databases organized by subject here.



Accessing Resources from Off Campus
In order to use the databases listed below (and any other licensed resources provided by the library), you MUST download, install, and run VPN software. For more information about VPN, please see the library's page on Off Campus Access.



Go on to Finding Images >>



Finding Images

Images are important to both illustrate your points and as primary sources to be analysed. Using high-quality images and finding details are vital to successful presentations.


Don't forget books and magazines! They often include the best reproductions and the library provides scanners


The VRC offers many important services for images, as well as guides for finding images in the deep web. They will also help you make high quality scans from books.


Use our How do I Find Images Guide for many more image resources.

Image Databases


Over one million images of visual and material culture, ARTstor is the best resource for finding high-quality images of art. Best used for mainstream artists.


CU Digital Library

Images digitized by the University Library and Visual Resources centers.


Google Image Search

Use advanced search options to limit to large size image.



A place to find crowd-sourced images.


Creative Commons

From here you can search many different online image resources (such as Flickr or Google) for pictures you can freely use, change, or re-mix.


Go on to citing your sources >>



Cite your Sources!

For this course you're required to use six reliable, scholarly sources. Remember to cite not only everytime you quote a source, but also whenever you use another scholar's idea, even if in your own words. For facts, cite those that are not general knowledge, and not to be found in any book on the subject.

Formatting Citations

You can use the OWL online guide to find clear guides to how to cite your source.


The library has access to the official Online Chicago Manual


Check out our MLA Style Quick Guide [PDF] or the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

Automate your Bibliography

There are several programs available that allow you to save citations you find on the web and automaticaly generate bibliographies. Using them at the outset of your research means you won't have to go back. These are huge time savers!
Citation Managers


A web-based citation management tool that allows you to save citations and retrieve them later using "Find it at CU" buttons. Citations from most databases can be easily exported directly to RefWorks. It also creates and formats bibliographies automatically using the citations you store in it.



A Firefox plugin that easily captures citations from library catalogs and article databases. Integrates with Microsoft Word and OpenOffice to generate bibliographies, footnotes, and in-text citations. Allows annotation and the generation of annotated bibliographies



Stand alone software that allows you to organize your citations, add pdf's, and annotate. Integrates with word processing software.