This page contains enriched content visible when JavaScript is enabled or by clicking here. Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


Profile Photo
Emily Connor Dafoe
Emily Connor Dafoe
Research & Instruction Librarian
Allen Memorial Library
Valley City State University
t. 701-845-7287

Finding Books

Most research assignments should have a combination of different source types within your research. One of the key source types that you will be using is books.

Books differ from peer-reviewed journal articles because books provide general overviews of a topic, whereas articles are shorter and more specific. Remember that when you are using a book for research you do not need to read the entire book & eBooks are still books!

Find books at the VCSU Library

Using the VCSU Library Catalog

Screenshot of library catalog results page with 4 numbers across the screen highlighting different search features1. Under Availability you can select either Physical items (paper books) or Available online (eBooks).

2. Use the pin to save books as you go.

3. Under the title you will either see a call number or Available Online. The call number will tell you where in the library the item is located. The Available Online link will take you to the eBook. 

4. By selecting Resource Type you can narrow your results to books. 

Finding Scholarly Articles

These articles are basically the "bread-and-butter" sources for scholarly research - they're used in every discipline.

What does peer-reviewed mean?

If an article is peer-reviewed that means that before the article was published it was reviewed and scrutinized by other experts in the same field. This process ensures that the sources are reliable and trustworthy. 

Why you should use them:

  • Information is based on research and expertise
  • Information is detailed and focused on a narrow topic
  • The peer-review process (mostly) insures that the information is accurate
  • They add to a growing understanding of a topic by contributing new ideas

These source types may also be referred to as peer-reviewed article, academic article, or journal article

Here are some of the best databases to use for finding scholarly articles in art: 

Finding Images

When faced with searching for images of specific works of art, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Is the work of art currently held in a museum? 
    • Check their website to see if they have an image.
  • Is the work of art featured or pictured in any of the artist's catalogue raisonnés? 
    • Search for books about the artist.
  • Were there any scholarly articles written about this work of art? 
    • Images may be found in the articles themselves.
  • Is the work of art public art? 
    • If the work of art is currently publicly on view, check out Flickr's Creative Commons images.

(Tips by N. Kendrot & Kent Library @ SEMO.)

Look for images here: 

Finding Reference Resources 

Reference resources are great sources to provide you with background information or context for a topic. These resources can be dictionaries, encyclopedias, guides, handbooks, etc. 

The best place at the VCSU Library to find reference information is our Credo Reference Database