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DES 200: Information Literacy

Course guide for DES 200 library resources.

How to Use the Library

Reference Assistance

Whether you're looking for sources for a research assignment, reference images for a studio project, a list of local art museums, or anything in between, the library is here to satisfy your information needs. Stop by the library desk, or email us. Reference consultations with the librarian are also available by appointment.

Interlibrary Loan

Can't find the book you're looking for in our online catalog? Need an article that's not available in full text from one of our databases? American Academy of Art students, faculty, and staff may request to borrow items from outside libraries. Simply bring the book or article citation to the library. Please allow 2 weeks for interlibrary loan requests.

Citation Help

Looking for answers to your citation questions? The Writing Center is available to all students.

Click the link to the guide below for more information and library policies.

Search Skills

Before You Start Searching

  • Have a plan for what you want to search. It can be general at first--searching will help you to narrow down your research topic. Don't procrastinate!
  • Create three documents:
    • Word Bank where you list as many keywords, subject terms, etc. that relate to your topic.
    • A Works Cited where you can begin gathering citations for sources you find.
    • What I've Tried list where you can document what strategies and databases you've tried.

Refining Your Search

On the search results page of a database, there will be what we call "limiters" or "filters". Oftentimes, they are on the left or right-hand side of the page. Use these filters frequently to help you narrow down your topic.

Advanced Search

Use the Advanced Search option in the databases, not just the Basic Search that shows up first. Click on "Advanced Search". This will bring you to a page where you search with Boolean Operators (can also be done in basic) and set filters.

Searching Phrases

If you have a topic that is more than one keyword, you may be getting a lot of irrelevant results. To get more relevant results when searching a phrase, place your phrase into quotation marks in the search box, like "graphic design".

Boolean Operators

Boolean Operators are words that help you to combine keywords together. They are AND, OR, NOT.These Boolean Operators tell the system how the different keywords you're including need to be organized. You do not have to use Boolean Operators when searching, but this strategy will help you. Make sure to type them in all capital letters when searching.

These guides have tons more information on searching strategies and research, especially with library databases. Definitely check them out!

Evaluating Information

Evaluating sources is important so that you are using accurate information and have reliability as a student and a scholar. Even in everyday life, understanding how to evaluate information will help you to be well informed and look beyond the sensationalism that is often present online.

Remember the CRAAP method from the presentation. (Adapted from the Benedictine University Library Research Guide).

C - Currency: When was this information published/posted? Has it been updated? Do I need a current or historical perspective?

R - Relevance: Does this information help me with my topic or answer a question I had? 

A - Authority: Who is the author/poster? What are their credentials, expertise, and/or background? What is the URL?

A - Accuracy: Where does this information come from? Are claims supported by evidence? Are there sources cited? Has the information been reviewed by other people in the field? Is the grammar and spelling free of error?

P - Purpose: What is the purpose of this information? To inform, to sell, to teach, to entertain? Are there biases?

Always use CRAAP to see if something is crap or is accurate and provides evidence for its claims.


This guide has even more information about evaluating sources. Feel free to check it out!

In-depth presentation slides

Other Helpful Guides

Library Presentation From Class