Skip to Main Content
University of Oregon
UO Libraries


A guide with resources relevant to fine and visual arts.

Online Reference Resources

Print Reference Resources

Design Library Help

Chat Email Phone Text

Why Dictionaries & Encyclopedias?

Dictionaries and encyclopedias are great places to find fact-based information about your topic. This might include dates, time periods, family information, related artists or artwork or movements, and/or media used, among other things.

Dictionaries and encyclopedias help establish context for your topic. As you read entries, pay attention to the words being used, and then use these key terms for searching for articles, books, and videos.


What about Wikipedia?

Just like the other resources listed on this page, Wikipedia is a great resource for basic information on a subject. However, it is not a scholarly source, and very often you cannot use Wikipedia as a cited source in your assignments. This is because the entries can be written by anyone, not necessarily someone who is an expert.

Best uses of Wikipedia:

  • a starting point for basic information on a topic
  • finding keywords

Tips for using Wikipedia:
If you find a fact in Wikipedia that you want to use, verify it in a scholarly source (such as the encyclopedias on this page). Also, make use of the references listed in Wikipedia entries - there might be an article there that is more appropriate for your project.