chao chen, research librarianChao Chen, Research Librarian; Home
email:; phone: 617.627.2057.
Tisch Library, Tufts University


The Archive in Contemporary Art

Research Sources & Tips







Overviews and Visuals

Reserves and Books

Journal Articles and Popular Press

Writing and Citing Sources

I. Overviews and Visuals

Definitions and Overviews

Primary Sources:


Course Reserves (textbooks/readings)

Oxford Art Online

120 Thematic Essays on Contemporary Art (Met Museum)

A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art

Documents of 20th Century Art

Documentary Sources in Contemporary Art

Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985

Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: a Sourcebook of Artists' Writings




Art Museums


New York Public Library Picture Collection


New York Public Library Web Gallery of Images


Public Art Archive



The Woman's Building


II. Reserves and Books

Use Library Catalogs for Reserves and Books

           Course Reserves


           Tufts Libraries Catalog

           BLC WorldCat (beyond Tufts)

A. Start with a name/title of art works:


Keyword search:

"trevor paglen"

"Pierre Nora"



Subject browse:

Benjamin, Walter

Derrida, Jacques

B. Keyword Searches:

e.g. using memory theory and archiving practice in looking at memorials/momuments

memor* and archiv* and (memorial* or monument*)

s:memory and archiv* and (memorial* or monument*)


   1. AND in between keywords and phrases;

   2. memor* searches for memory, memories, etc.

   3. "or" and ( ) nest related/varied expressions.

   4. S: search for words only in the subject headings.




Subject Headings in a catalog/database are important clues, which lead to broader/related contexts.



On media memory: collective memory in a new media age / edited by Motti Neiger, Oren Meyers, and Eyal Zandberg.


Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.


Mass media and culture.

Memory -- Social aspects.

Collective memory.

III. Journal Articles

A. Subject Databases for Journal Articles

B. Popular Press

C. Finding Full Text



1. and 2.

JSTOR and Project Muse

Two favorite collections of core journals of all disciplines.


3. ARTbibliographies Modern (1960's - present)


4. Art Full Text   (1984 - present)


5. Art Index Retrospective (1929 - 1984)




6. Academic OneFile (All subjects)


7. America: History and Life


8. Historical Abstracts


9. Arts & Humanities Citation Index



10. Film & Television Literature Index


11. Communication & Mass Media Complete


12. Women's Studies International  

When use GoogleScholar, set your Library Links to access Tufts full texts.



LexisNexis Academic


Factiva (more international coverage)


Boston Globe (1872-1979)

New York Times Online Archive
(1851 - 3 years before current date)


Times Digital Archive  (1785 - 1985)


Art Index Retrospective   (1929- 1982)


Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890-1982)



British Humanities Index (1962- )










1. Click on the findIt@tufts button button in your search results screen to a window of three sequential options:

a. link to the digital full text when available;

b. link to a Library Catalog search for the print journal;

c. link to ILliad for requesting the article when the above two options are negative.

2. Search for a journal directly here:

a. Tufts Library Catalog (including e-journals)

b. Electronic journals list

c. Use ILliad to request your article, if Tufts does not have your journal.


IV. Writing and Citing

Writing Help

Citing Sources


A Short Guide to Writing about Art by Sylvan Barnet

Writing about Art & Art History (The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)



Tufts Academic Resources Center -- Writing Tutors


Chicago Style Manual