What are Databases?
To refresh your memory, databases are basically websites or platforms with information, sometimes thematically collected. These websites normally require you to pay a fee to access the information within. To assist in research and coursework, the Library pays the subscription fees to provide access to these resources for all users of the NTU community.
What Databases are useful for you?
As students of DD1004, there are two major types of resources that will be of use to you. The first would be primary source databases that provide you access to images or descriptions of the original artwork or commentary of the artwork. The second would be secondary source databases and e-journals that provide contemporary academic discussion and analyses on the above topics or pieces of art.
This page will list several of these that can serve as research starters for the purpose of your course. Do remember to refer to the books section for more resources!
What is a primary source?
Personal letters, diaries, photographs, speeches, works of art, architecture, literature, and music are usually considered primary sources. But stuff like documents that contain first-hand accounts of events or the topic that you are researching on can also be considered primary sources. Examples include autobiographies, news reports and oral or video interviews. Knowing how to identify what is a primary and secondary source is an important skill for art history students.
Specifically to this course, museum websites and online catalogs can be a good place to find primary sources. The museums listed below host Asian art items in their collections. Browse their online catalogs and websites to view their exhibition items, virtual exhibitions, and hi-res images of several prominent artworks.
What is a secondary source?
A secondary source is a document or recording that discuss, analyze, interpret, evaluate, or simply give information about a primary source. Examples of secondary sources are journal articles, books, documentaries, and so on. You can find them in databases or in Google Scholar.
Why not Wikipedia?
Wikipedia is an online, general encyclopedia. So should you use Wikipedia in your academic work?
The answer is no. Encyclopedias published by academic publishers are curated and vetted by established academics and experts, and aim to provide detailed examinations and analyses on very specific topics. Wikipedia, on the other hand, aims to provide general knowledge for the public, and articles are written collaboratively and can be edited by any Wikipedia contributor. Contributors can be anonymous, and that makes it difficult to ensure that the information in a Wikipedia article comes from an authoritative source.
Do use the encyclopedias in the Library's collection instead of Wikipedia to get access to well-rounded and detailed examinations of concepts and theories that can help you develop your arguments and essays, to lend more weight and authority to your arguments.
What is an academic journal?
An academic journal is a peer-reviewed periodical that contains research articles on a specific subject area. It serves as the medium for research dissemination, with content ranging from original research, review articles, and book reviews. Some renowned journals in Art & Design are listed down below.