African-American Artists on Disc

By Van Atta, Nancy L. | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Fall 2000 | Go to article overview

African-American Artists on Disc


Van Atta, Nancy L., Reference & User Services Quarterly


African-American Artists on Disc. Thorndike, Maine: Macmillan Library Reference, 2000. Price: $995 (ISBN 0-7838-8539-3). www.mlr.com.

Requirements: IBM PC or compatible (386 or higher recommended); 4 MB RAM for Windows 3.1, 8 MB RAM for Windows 95; CD-ROM drive and driver; MS DOS CD-ROM extensions 2.0 or higher. Optional: printer.

This CD-ROM is the electronic version of 250 Years of Afro-American Art: An Annotated Bibliography by Lynn Moody Igoe and James Igoe (Bowker, 1981), plus much more. More than fifteen thousand serial articles and about five thousand references from books, exhibitions, dissertations, and other sources were consulted to update and supplement the Igoes' very well received original work.

The sources used to compile the artist descriptions also serve as keywords for searching the disc. The more than eight thousand subjects include painters, sculptors, architects, and craftsmen (even blacksmiths), as well as those in the "support" professions, such as art historians and curators.

The disc is actually two bibliographies, the "Artists" bibliography, which describes individuals, and the "Basic Bibliography," which provides references to broader topics such as "youths," "lunch," and "actress." The user can search entire records or selected portions, via keywords.

Keyword searching is done by selecting terms from hit lists below the search window. The user chooses one of the bibliographic databases, Basic or Artists, and selects terms from one or more indexes. The indexes in the Basic Bibliography are author, tide, date, periodical, comment keyword, and keyword. (The comment keyword index allows the user to limit the keyword search to that portion of a record.) The indexes in the Artists bibliography include artist, profession, active date, biographical keyword, active keyword (usually a place name where the artist worked, i.e. was active), artwork (e.g., medium), and keyword. Here again, either part or all of a record may be searched.

A left click on a term selects it, and a click on the "Add" button places it as a search term in the search window (or one simply double clicks the term). The program automatically places the terms in the search window in the correct search command format. Multiple terms may be selected by additional left clicks. When the search command is created, a click on the "Search" button produces a result list. Double clicking an item from this list will bring up a window with the citation to the reference source. The user can toggle between this short citation and a full display with complete annotation. Search strategies may be saved for future use; search results may be saved or printed.

This basic method applies to both bibliographies on the disc and such searching is easy for beginners. …

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