Skip to main content
University of Oregon
UO Libraries


A guide with resources relevant to fine and visual arts.

Citation Styles: Chicago, MLA, APA

Your professor may require that you use a specific citation or bibliography format, or they may let you choose as long as you consistently use the same style throughout an assignment. Below are the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) links for the most popular citation styles.

Scholarly & Popular Sources

It can be hard to determine if an article is scholarly or popular. Here are some clues that can help!


  • It is written by an expert in the field (Ph.D., etc.).
  • The institution (university or museum) where the author works is listed.
  • The article includes a bibliography.
  • The article is in a journal (usually scholarly) rather than a magazine (usually popular).
  • The journal might be described as "peer-reviewed" or "refereed."
  • Often scholarly articles have an abstract at the beginning that explains what the article is about.
  • The article is long - popular articles tend to be 1-5 pages; scholarly articles are often over 10 pages.


  • There are a lot of glossy images in color.
  • There are advertisements.
  • There is no bibliography or other way to check the author's work, or the bibliography is very short.
  • Often called a magazine rather than a journal.
  • Article is short, 1-5 pages.

If you would like more help, please contact your librarian!

Citation Management Resources

Citation Management Tools

Evaluating Sources

Below are some important things to consider when you are choosing which books, articles, and websites to use in your assignments.

Reliability: Is the information accurate and dependable? Do the facts match up?
Credibility: Is the primary voice an expert? What are their credentials? Primary voice could mean author or interviewee.
Validity: Where is the information coming from? It is personal opinion or research-based? Is there a bibliography or works cited section you can refer to?
Timeliness: When was it published?
Audience: Who was the article written for? Children? Scholars? Sometimes you can tell by the language - complexity and jargon suggest that it is written for a knowledgeable audience.
Bias: Does it discuss multiple sides of an issue or just one? Why was it written - for sales? to sway opinion?
Relevance: Is the article about what you are researching? How well does it address your research topic? Read the abstract or introduction and conclusion to figure this out. Remember, just because an article mentions your artist, doesn't mean it's actually about them.

Considering all of these elements can help determine if your source is a good one to use for your topic. You often don't need to read the whole item to evaluate a source. Read the abstract or introduction and conclusion to make a decision about if the resource is going to work for you. If it is, then read the whole thing.

University of Oregon Libraries
1501 Kincaid Street Eugene, OR
T: (541) 346-3053
F: (541) 346-3485
Make a Gift