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FNDS 3302: Multimedia Art

Mardigian Search

Advanced Search

How to Start Your Search

Mardigian Search is a tool used to search through a variety of our library material: books, journal articles, ebooks, etc. It will search the library catalog, plus most of the library's databases and online resources in a single search.

Because Mardigian Search can search through so much though, it can give you millions of results with a single search--this can make it hard to narrow down and refine your search. It's a good place to start if you are doing a preliminary search to get a general idea of what is available on a topic. Use keywords (important themes and words you're interested in researching) to get you started.

These tips are specific for our general Mardigian Search, however, you can apply these same keyword search strategies to anywhere you do research. In the Mardigian Search box above, type in keywords to get you started.

Keyword Searches

  • Keywords are the important themes and words you're interested in researching. You can use the index of a book or keywords from articles read in class to find terms that would be good keywords for searches.
  • Try getting inspiration from tags on your initial search results. These are words or phrases that the author/publisher/editor have determined to be major themes or concepts in the piece. Search algorithms match your initial keyword searches with these tags.
  • Don't use filler words like effect, impact, role, or connection as these will muck up the search.
  • When studying art you need to think interdisciplinarily. Art exists in a network of entities and contexts so you may need to also think about what the art is a response to. There may be historical, political, religious, technical, etc. contexts that you need to understand to be able to write and talk about your art of insterest.
  • Think of Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How when picking your keywords
    • For this course, the Who could be an artist's name, What a certain art style, When the art period, Where an important location for a movement, Why and How the history behind the artwork. 
  • You may have to look for synonyms or variations to your original keyword search. For multimedia art there may be many terms for the same type of art or there may be many adjacent art styles.
  • Examples of this could be the search term experimental film which is also known as avent-garde cinema. A related search could be for Dada film. Alternatively you could select the time period and a keyword, such as 1920s video art. To be even more specific you could select an artist and medium such as Warhol's films.

Research Questions and More Specific Searches

  • Once you develop a specific research question such as “What is the role of performance in expanded cinema?” you need to break it into search terms. Searching for your exact research question will more often than not yield poor results. This is why you need to break it apart.
    • First you can search according to style and genre terms, then you expand by using short topical phrases.
    • These can be search terms like “performance in cinema,” “the body in performance,” “performance and technology,” “the body in installation art,” “expanded cinema,” “sound installations” etc.
      • By adding the quotation marks around a phrase you'll have the database return resources containing that exact phrase
    • You can add keyword searches and phrases together by adding an AND. An example of this could be the following: [performance AND "expanded cinema"]

Select Content Type

  • Choose what content type you'd prefer
    • Examples: Book/eBook, Journal Article, Magazine Article, Streaming Video, Web Resources, ...
  • For the research you'll be doing it's recommended that you exclude newspaper articles and book reviews by selecting the red x next to the option. As you go through your research you may want to just select Book/eBook to get started when you're looking for a broader subject and then add Book Chapter, and Article, Journal/e-Journal, Dissertation as you continue to narrow down your research.

Filter Your Search Results

  • In Mardigian Search, use Refine Your Search on the left hand side
  • Select Disciplines and Subjects that interest you
    • Example of Disciplines for [performance AND "expanded cinema"]: dance, drama, film, journalism & communications, music, visual arts, ...
    • Example of Subjects for "": actors, actresses, art exhibits, art galleries & museums, artists, arts & humanities, arts festivals, cameras, culture, dramatic arts, motion pictures, film studies, film, radio, & television, theaters & cinema, ...
  • Select the publication date you find most useful by moving the yellow slide scale

Advanced Search Function

  • ​​Advanced Search is located directly below the Mardigian Search box. Select it to try a different search strategy!
  • You can utilize the list of Subject terms you generated from previous searches and search by subject.
    • Select "All Fields" and change it to "Subject Terms" to search by subject
    • Subject terms you may want to use: art history, history, film, theater, drama, dance, visual arts, ...
  • You have all of the same filtering functions in Advanced Search that you had in they general Mardigian Search page, but now you're able to search by subject terms and be very specific in your search by adding on fields by selecting the +
    • An example of a specific Advanced Search search could be the following:
  • You can also select "Include results from outside your library's collection" which will bring up results that can be sent to the Mardigian Library from across the world! A full explanation of this can be found in the MeLCat & ILL section of this guide.

Refine Your Search

  • Continue to narrow down your results by changing the Discipline, Subjects, and Keywords selected.
  • You will find as you do your research that your initial research question may change and become more specific to narrow down your focus.
  • Play around with it as you go and contact your professor or the library ( if you get stuck or confused.

Scholarly/Peer Reviewed

Your professors may ask you to find scholarly, academic, or peer-reviewed articles. These are articles that have gone through a rigorous review process by the journal they are eventually published in and peers in their field.

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