Visual Arts: Journal articles

Why are journals important?

Journals enable you to:

  • keep up to date with the latest - exhibitions, artists, designers, research, festivals, competitions, trends, events, conferences, projects, theories
  • gain an historical perspective by accessing material published in previous decades.

They are publications made available in successive parts (issues) with the same title, usually on a regular basis (e.g. monthly, quarterly, annually).

Journals and magazines are sometime referred to as serials or periodicals.

Scholarly journals contain articles written by researchers or scholars in the discipline using specialised discipline terminology or jargon, and are often peer reviewed. Articles are often preceded by an abstract (a summary of the content) and followed by a comprehensive list of references.

Journals [Image source: UniSA Library]Searching within journals

  • Browse (can be interesting, but takes time, and you won't find everything on the topic/by a particular artist)
  • Search the Catalogue
  • Search a database

At UniSA Library, journal are:

  • Journals [Image Source: UniSA Library]available either in print, online or both
  • able to be borrowed when older than twelve months

Art, Architecture and Design print journals are kept in the compactus on the West Wing of the Jeffrey Smart building. The compactus are permanently kept open to enable use by library patrons whenever they need them.

Example - database record

This is an example of a database 'record'. When you type in your keywords, you're searching for them in this information.

Example database record [Image source: EBSCOhost, UniSA Library]

Someone has been paid to look carefully at each article and record basic information such as where it's from, list the main topics or themes (called descriptors or subject headings/terms in databases), and write a summary of the content (if this wasn't provided by the author).

The full text of the article may be attached to the record, available online through another source or in print on the shelves.

What are databases?

Databases are finding aids. They assist you to find publications (e.g. journal and newspaper articles, exhibition catalogues, conference papers, book chapters, advertisements, illustrations, photographs) by a particular author, from a specific publication or on a topic.

The Library Catalogue lets you search inside many journals, but does not cover all relevant publications. It also covers every discipline. If you're looking for something specific to a discipline, it can be faster to go straight to an appropriate database.

Key databases for the visual arts

Find a journal article from citation details

You will often encounter references to journal articles - for example, in books, other articles or on web pages. You may have access to these articles through the Library. For example:

Walker, W 2009, 'Julie Blyfield', Craft Arts International, no. 77, pp. 56-59

You need to find if the Library subscribes to the journal Craft Arts International and if so, whether it holds no. 77 in the collection.

Tip: Do a title search for Craft Arts International in the Catalogue

Scholarly sources explained (3:13)