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Museum Studies: Research in Museum Studies - Tips

This guide will help you get started with your museum studies and public history research. In addition to recommending useful databases, this guide provides information about museums, collections, and exhibitions, professional organizations, how to keep i

Research in Museum Studies - Tips

 The following will give you tips for browsing the library's stacks:

RIT uses the Library of Congress classification system. Here is a general list of Library of Congress call numbers for books related to museum studies and collecting:

  • AM1-501 Museums. Collectors and collecting

  • AM10-100 By country

  • AM111-160 Museology. Museum methods, techniques

  • AM200-501 Collectors and collecting

Suggested  keywords to use in researching Museum Studies & Public History:

  • art museums
  • museum studies (also museology; museography)
  • museum collections
  • museum collections management
  • museum education
  • museum exhibitions
  • museum management
  • museum visitors
  • museum audience research

Suggested keywords for searching specific museum types:

  • community archives
  • community museums
  • contemporary art museums
  • decorative art museums
  • fine arts museums
  • historical museums
  • human history museums
  • interactive museums
  • marine museums
  • military museums
  • natural history museums
  • science and technology museums
  • traveling museum exhibits
  • war museums

Construct aa Successful Search

  1. Do not write an entire sentence into a database's search box.  Explain your topic to someone in three words or less.  Multi-word terms that are a single idea count as one word, just put them in quotation marks (e.g. "museum studies").  These are your search terms.
  2. Search terms that represent different aspects of your topic (e.g. museums and marketing) should be entered into different search boxes when available.  Otherwise, these terms can be combined using the word AND (e.g. museums AND marketing).
  3. Search terms that are synonyms or related terms (e.g. museums or galleries) should be entered into the same search box and combined using the word OR (e.g. museums OR galleries).  If multiple search boxes are not available, group related terms in parentheses and combine with the word OR.

Single search box example:

Multiple search box example:

Find More Relevant Results

Proximity searching  allows you to find results where your search terms appear close to one another (e.g. three words apart).  The premise is that if your terms appear close together, the words are probably being discussed in the same context.  Use proximity searching when you are getting too many results, especially ones that use your search terms, but not together.

Unfortunately there is not a universal way to construct a proximity search.  Consult a database's "Help" menu to find out how to use this method in that specific database. Here are the formats for the databases listed on this guide:

Note: The number 3 is used as an example and can be replaced by any number. You might try 3 then 10 then 15 then 25.

Quick Tips

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Use of RIT resources is reserved for current RIT students, faculty and staff for academic and teaching purposes only.
Please contact your librarian with any questions.

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