Visual Arts: Home

Visual arts [zen Sutherland 2008, visual arts, CC BY-NC 2.0,]

Visual Arts resources in

Wild Pattern free - Public Domain Pictures

Image source: UniSA Library

Training videos to develop digital, technology, creative and business skills.

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Art in Australia

1916-1942 Art in Australia is now freely available online through the National Library of Australia


The Library Catalogue can be a good place to start. Use the Catalogue to search across much of the material in the Library's collection.

Depending on what you need to find, and how comprehensive you need to be in your search, you may also need to use specialised visual arts databases.

Top tips for the supersearcher

Reflect and planMap [tzunghaor, 'treasure map', CC License: CC0 1.0, Image Source: Open Clip Art Library]"

Planning your search can save time by helping you to find appropriate, relevant material more quickly.

  • What do you already know about your topic? What do you need to explore further
  • Do you need a particular type of information? For example: first-person account or historical overview, policy documents or peer-reviewed articles on the most current research, an early theorist's original writings...? 
  • Define key terms using a subject-specific reference such as a dictionary
  • What relevant theories apply to your topic?
  • A general overview of the topic or an aspect of the topic can be a good starting point - use your readings and reference/introductory books
  • Have tutors, lecturers or other students recommended author names/publication titles?
  • If you need up-to-date facts and figures, try a reliable website
  • Which parts of your argument need references as supporting evidence?

The search terms you use can make a big difference to what you find

  • What are the key concepts/ideas in your topic? The key concepts will help you to decide which 'keywords' to use when searching
  • What alternative terms and synonyms might help to find relevant material? Consider:
    • alternative spellings
    • professional and discipline-specific vocabulary
    • how different people might refer to the same idea (e.g. representation OR portrayal OR depiction)
    • changes in language over time

Find the 'right' information

Do you need scholarly information? Is what you have located relevant and reliable? Are you uncertain whether to use the information you have found?

These guides will help in locating sholarly information and evaluating what you find.

Save and organise your references

Save time by capturing the details of your references.

This will help you to:

  • find resources again
  • put together your bibliographies with the required details
  • create a personal 'library' of references to use throughout your studies and professional practice

Most search tools - including the Library Catalogue, Google Scholar, and databases such as Art & Architecture Complete allow you to easily save the details of references of interest. No need to write these down or copy and paste - create your own 'library' of references with a few clicks!

There are tools that will help you do this. Use EndNote or RefWorks to organise your references and create bibliographies.

Before using these tools, you will need to learn the basics of the referencing style (e.g. Harvard UniSA, Chicago) that you have been asked to use.

Defining key terms and reading brief overviews of key aspects (e.g. theories) with which you are unfamiliar will help you to locate appropriate resources and put together your response to an assessment.

The Library has many reference and introductory works. The following are examples.

Be cautious with

  • works published overseas (e.g. UK or US)
  • older works

These may contain policy or legislative references not applicable to the Australian environment, or now out-of-date.

Oxford Art Online - reliable information on individual architects and designers, styles, periods, theory and more.

This is a key reference resource and an excellent starting point for your research that is scholarly and better regarded than most material found using search engines.

For example, there are entries for:






El Lissitzky


Have a try!

Need advice on writing or presenting? Not sure how to organise your ideas? Study Help pages can help!








The Library collection also includes many resources on academic writing and study skills - example search


ABC Visual Arts News


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