UCB Libraries

ARTS 2085: Ceramics 2, Handbuilding

  • Getting Started
  • Find Books
  • Find Articles
  • Find Images
  • Evaluate & Cite Sources


This brief guide covers a number of resources you can use to find material on historical ceramic traditions.


Finding Basic Information in Reference Sources

Reference sources such as dictionaries and encyclopedias are a valuable tool for learning more about the work or the artist(s) you have chosen. These sources can provide basic information to place your topic in a larger historical, theoretical, or formal context.


Oxford Art Online

Provides access to the Grove Dictionary of Art, the most important reference work for art history. Individual entries are written by scholars in the field and typically include a bibliography of relevant resources.


The Art & Architecture Reference Collection contains a number of specialized dictionaries and encylopedias. Please feel free to browse the collection to see what is available. Examples of the kinds of works you will find include:


Dictionary of Chinese Ceramics

ART REF NK4165 .W3613 2002


Encyclopedia of American Folk Art

ART REF NK805 .E6 2004


Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art and Architecture

ART REF N5610 .G76 2007, 2 volumes


Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture

ART REF N6260 .G75 2009, 3 volumes


Grove Encyclopedia of Materials and Techniques in Art

ART REF N8510 .G76 2008


The Potter's Dictionary of Materials and Techniques

ART REF TT919.5 .H35 2004


Skira Dictionary of Modern Decorative Arts, 1851-1942

ART REF NK30 .T47 2001


Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms

ART REF N33 .L75 2004


What are you looking for?

Choosing appropriate search terms is an important first step in the research process. Take a few moments to brainstorm a list of keywords that describe your topic. For example, if I were interested in Dutch chinoiserie, specificially the tin-glazed earthenware produced near Delft in the 16th and 17th centuries, my list of keywords might include:


  • tin glazed
  • Delft or Delft ware
  • Holland or Dutch
  • chinoiserie or China or Chinese
  • earthenware
  • ceramics
  • decorative arts
  • decoration




Chinook is the catalog for materials owned by the CU Libraries. You can do a title search for a specific book, or a keyword search if you are looking for books on a particular topic. You can also use MyChinook to manage your library account (including renewals, holds, recalls, saved searches, etc.)

Chinook Catalog

When searching Chinook, you can connect your keywords using terms like AND, OR, NOT. You can also used parentheses, quotation marks, and asterisks.




AND: celadon AND China (must find both terms)

Phrases: “studio pottery” (must find phrase in that order)

OR: ceramics OR pottery (must find one of the terms)

Synonyms: (ceramics OR pottery) AND Japan

NOT: ceramic NOT tile (must find first term and not second term)

Wildcards: ceramic* will find ceramic, ceramics, ceramicist, etc.


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. CU students, staff and faculty can request materials through Prospector, and the items will generally be delivered to Norlin within a few business days.



WorldCat is an online catalog for over 9,000 libraries in the US and world wide, and it allows you to do a more thorough search than Chinook because you are not limited to only the items we already own. Instead, you are effectively searching the catalogs of most major libraries world wide.


For any books you find in WorldCat, you will be able to see if CU-Boulder owns that item. If you find something in WorldCat that we do not own, you should:

  1. Search Prospector to see if the book is available. If it is, request it via Prospector. The book will typically arrive in a few days, and you'll receive an email when it is ready for pick up.
  2. If the book isn't available via Prospector, you can request it via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Please be aware that items ordered via ILL can take up to several weeks to arrive. Obviously, if your assignment is due very soon, this will not be an option.


Interlibrary Loan
If the item you are looking for is not in Chinook or Prospector, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Generally, an ILL request will take longer to be delivered than material requested through Prospector.



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.


Choosing a Database

You will not find articles in Chinook. In order to find individual articles on your topic, you will need to use a database. The library provides access to hundreds of databases, and many of them focus on a particular discipline such art, art history, or film studies.


The Find Articles & More page provides access to all of these resources and arranges them by topic. To see databases for art, click on the plus sign next to "Art & Art History."


Relevant Databases for Your Assignment

Art Bibliographies Modern
ABM covers journal articles, books, essays, exhibition catalogs, PhD dissertations, and exhibition reviews on all forms of modern and contemporary art.


Art Full Text
An excellent general resource for art, art history, and related topics.  Covers a range of media in all periods, with publications going back to 1929.



Full text access to a selection of important scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences. Note that the most recent issues are not available.


LexisNexis Academic

Contains the full text of national, international, and regional news, newswires, transcripts, magazine articles, legal and business information, public opinion polls, and other sources.  Very useful for finding exhibition and reviews.



Nearly one million images of visual and material culture, covering all geographic areas and historical periods. ARTstor has some coverage of contemporary art. VPN required for off-campus access.


High-quality images of contemporary ceramics. Search by artist, glazing/surface, material, object type, technique, firing temperature, etc.


Maintained by the Art & Art History VRC. VPN required for off-campus access.


Images contributed by museums, libraries, and archives from around the world.



Scholarly vs. Popular Sources





Original research presented with evidence, critical arguments, and other material.

Discussion includes personal opinions, and typically focuses on material for entertainment or leisure.


Author's credentials are given, usually a scholar with subject expertise.

Author may or may not be named; often a professional writer; may or may not have subject expertise.


Editorial board is listed on cover or near the Table of Contents. Some publications may also note that articles are refereed by peer reviewers.

No editors listed and no referee process described.


Scholars, researchers, students.

General public; the interested non-specialist.


May use specialized terminology.

Vocabulary in general usage; understandable to most readers.

References (Endnotes, Footnotes, etc)

Required. All quotes and facts can be verified. A bibliography is also usually included.

Rare. Little, if any, information about sources.


Contribute to your understanding of the text; could include diagrams, charts, or other technical material.

Often merely provide pleasing visual content rather than support for assertions in the text.

Example Publication

Art in America

American Artist


Citation Styles & Management

For information about citing print and electronic sources in a range of styles, see “How to Cite a Source.”


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


Using Chicago Style?  Check out the Chicago Style Quick Guide or the full version of the Chicago Manual of Style.


Writing a longer paper and need to keep track of citations? RefWorks is 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.


Need More Help?

Wondering if you're citing something correctly? Or maybe you need help with structuring your paper? Take advantage of the CU Writing Center. Making an appointment with a consultant at the Writing Center allows you to receive one-on-one help with your writing.


Want to speak with a librarian right now? You can contact us in person, via the phone, or even over IM. Use the Ask Us page to chat with a librarian even if you're away from campus.