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Library Guides

Research and Referencing guide (School of Arts): Home

About this guide

This guide supplements the School of Arts Library Guide and the Fashion Library Guide. It is designed to help you learn more about research and referencing.

School of Arts Librarian

James Thickins's picture
James Thickins
I'm here to help - online appointments are normally available. Email me if there are no appointments available.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for students and staff on the following courses:

  • BA Contemporary Media Practice
  • BA Fashion Business Management
  • BA Fashion Buying Management
  • BA Fashion Design
  • BA Fashion Marketing and Promotion
  • BA Fashion Merchandise Management
  • MA Fashion Business Management
  • BA Film
  • BA Fine Art Mixed Media
  • BA Music
  • BA Photography
  • MA Audio Production
  • MA Documentary Photography and Photojournalism
  • MA Film, Television and Moving Image
  • MA Menswear
  • MA Music Management

What are periodicals?

Collectively known as periodicals - academic journals, magazines and newspapers - are a critical source of up-to-date information and analysis. You can search for periodical content on Library Search, or on databases.

Academic journals

  • Mostly online only
  • Long-form articles 5-10,000 words
  • Articles written by academics
  • Quality and originality assured by process of 'peer review'
  • Ranked by Google Scholar and others


  • Mostly print-based
  • Short articles and features, interviews, portfolios, reviews, etc  
  • Most don't use a 'peer review' process, however there are exceptions - e.g. Aperture, Art Monthly


  • Good for reviews of the bigger exhibitions, etc

What are databases?

Database is a generic term used to refer to a range of online resources, not all of which are - strictly speaking - databases. 

It can be confusing, so the main types of database are described below:

Indexes/bibliographies - collect metadata (e.g. abstracts) of information sources and provides links to those sources, which may or may not be available via a subscription the university holds.  Examples: Google Scholar; Art Bibliographies Modern

Full-text databases - same as an index, but supplies the 'full text' of some publications.  For example: Art Full Text

Collections/Libraries/Archives - bring together sources (texts, video, or images - or a combination of these).  For example: Berg Fashion Library; LinkedIn Learning

Platforms - provide a platform for accessing resources, often publisher-based.  For example: Sage Journals; EBSCOhost; Proquest

Data sets - provide access to data.  For example: Statista