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University Library

PHIL202: Philosophy of Art

This guide is intended to help you find resources for your annotated bibliography and final presentation.

What is a database?

What is a database?

A library database is a collection of citations, and sometimes full-text, of articles, reports, and other types of academic sources that are available in libraries. Most of the citations in database come from scholarly journals, although some also include popular (non-scholarly) magazines and newspapers. 

Some databases are general (like Academic Search Complete) and some are specific to disciplines and subjects. Finding the right database to search in a good first step in your research process. 

Search Terms

When you're trying to come up with search terms, there are a few things you want to keep in mind. 

  • You're not trying to find the answer to your question. You're trying to find out what other people have said about related questions.
  • When you do research, you're joining a conversation. Many people before you have been talking about things that are related to your topic. Your job is to find out what they've been saying, and think of something interesting and original to add to the conversation. 
  • Once you've come with some terms that are related to your topic, brainstorm synonyms. 
  • When you're in a database, look for a link to a Thesaurus, Subjects, or Subject Lists. These will tell you the terms that are used in that database. Try to find the terms that are used for your topics and keywords. 

Databases for Philosophy

Databases for Art