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ARTH 326: Romanesque and Gothic Art: Secondary sources (analysis)

Secondary sources

A secondary source is a source that analyzes or discusses a topic, usually by citing primary sources.

  • For example, an art historian might write a journal article -- a secondary source -- in which they use historical documents -- primary sources -- to establish the context in which a particular artwork was created.

The most common kinds of secondary sources are books and journal articles.

Journal articles

Clip art of two documentsYou can find articles in Quest and in the art history databases.

Articles are narrower than books, so in order to find them, you should use narrow search terms.

Quest is a good first place to look. However, Quest includes lots of items that are irrelevant to art history, so sometimes the relevant items are buried under irrelevant items. Therefore, it's a good idea to also do some searches in the art history databases.

For this class, I recommend these art history databases:


Clip art of a bookFind books in Quest.

Books are broader than articles, so in order to find them, you should use broad search terms.

Here are some official subject terms to get you started.

You can also browse the shelves. I recommend browsing these areas on the second floor:

N 6280 - N 6320: Romanesque and Gothic Art

Books about Romanesque and Gothic art on the shelves in Simpson Library

NA 390 - NA 489: Romanesque and Gothic Architecture

Books about Romanesque and Gothic architecture on the shelves at Simpson Library

Bear in mind, though, that browsing the shelves will only find books in print. More than half of Simpson Library's books are e-books. You'll need to search in Quest to find e-books.


MetPublications is a free website provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Use it to view books published by the Met, including a wide variety of exhibition catalogues.

Many of the books in MetPublications can be viewed online in full text. If the book you want is not available in full text, look for it in the UMW library collection. If UMW doesn't have it, request it from another library via interlibrary loan.