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Academic Research: an Overview: Arts and Humanities

Information and resources for doing academic library research and scholarship

Books and Ebooks

Use the library catalog to find the call numbers for specific books, or browse within the class letter for your field. Books in the library are arranged alphanumerically in the stacks (shelves) by Library of Congress classification numbers. The class for fine arts is N; music, M, literature and languages, P; philosophy, B-BJ; world history, D; American history, E-F.  Ebooks are also listed in the catalog and in several databases (linked below).

What Are Humanities?

From the Encyclopedia Britannica: "those branches of knowledge that concern themselves with human beings and their culture or with analytic and critical methods of inquiry derived from an appreciation of human values and of the unique ability of the human spirit to express itself. As a group of educational disciplines, the humanities are distinguished in content and method from the physical and biological sciences and, somewhat less decisively, from the social sciences.

A statue of "The Thinker" in front of the Rodin Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.

Humanities in a World of STEM and Computers, an article from the Washington Post.

"The Place of Humanities in Today's Knowledge Society"--an essay from the journal Nature.

Humanities Commons, an open online group.



The humanities include visual and performing arts, biography, history, languages, literature, writing, and philosophy. Search for materials in the catalog or the pertinent subject categories in the database directories.

Some databases are multidisciplinary--they include material from many subject areas:

Academic Search Complete: a multi-disciplinary database indexing more than 8,500 full-text periodicals including 7,300 scholarly titles.

Biography in Context: useful in locating authors, artists, philosophers, historians, and other notable public figures.

Gale Virtual Reference Library: online reference books covering a variety of subject areas.

JSTOR (Journal Storage): an archive of scholarly journals, most of which are full-text. Note that some titles are not covered to the current issues.

Project Muse: A collection of books and articles on various topics. Note: not all are available full text.

WorldCat is an international bibliography of books, Internet resources, archival collections, etc. Items held by Northwestern State University Libraries are highlighted.

     For full-text historical documents, look in these databases:  African American Historical Serials Collection, African American Newspapers 1827-1998, America's Historical Newspapers-Louisiana State Package, Civil War Primary Source Documents, European Views of the Americas: 1493-1750, and History Periodicals Collection 1866-1877. For digitized items specifically related to Louisiana, consult the Louisiana Digital Library. The Cammie G. Henry Research Center (on the third floor of Watson Memorial) contains documents, photographs, books, and other objects connected with NSU, Natchitoches, and northwestern Louisiana.

     ArtStor contains well-indexed images of visual art works, photographs of dance and drama scenes, and original photographs.