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Contemporary Arts

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Contemporary Arts

This is selected list of key databases for SFU Contemporary Arts programs. For more specific recommendations by subject areas, see the more detailed pages for Dance, Film, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts. For further help in finding information on your topic, contact Sylvia Roberts, Liaison Librarian for Contemporary Arts at or (778)782-3681 / 5043.

Top Resources

  1. Periodicals, journals, and reproduction of images covering fine, decorative and commercial art, folk art, photography, film, and architecture. Coverage from 1997-present is full-text; indexed coverage goes back to 1984.
  2. Multidisciplinary collection of journals and periodicals for the performing arts. It covers drama, theater, dance, film, and television.
  3. Subject coverage includes film & television theory, preservation & restoration, screenwriting, production, cinematography, technical aspects, and reviews. In addition to indexing and full-text access to journals, this resource includes Variety movie reviews from 1914 to the present and over 36,300 images from the MPTV Image Archive.
  4. International periodicals covering classical and popular music. Includes journal articles, book reviews, record reviews, first performances, and obituaries.
  5. A multidisciplinary index to the journal literature of the arts and humanities. Some of the disciplines covered include: Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Asian Studies, Classics, Dance, Folklore, History, Language, Linguistics, Literary Reviews, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Poetry, Radio, Television, & Film, Religion, Theatre.

Other Resources

  1. Multidisciplinary index to academic & popular journals.
  2. Fully digitized film scripts, dating back to 1903. These are accurate and authorized versions of copyrighted scripts, and are indexed to allow searching by scene, character, director and more.
  3. SFU Library's Art Images is a collection of online images documenting a broad range of art in support of teaching, learning, and research at SFU, with an emphasis on the history of Western Art. Images are licensed for research and classroom use at SFU.
  4. Index of historical literature on a variety of art topics from the years 1984-present. It covers fine, decorative, and commercial art. Good for finding contemporary criticism of art at the time of its debut.
  5. Index of historical literature on a variety of art topics from the years 1929 to 1984. It covers fine, decorative, and commercial art. Good for finding contemporary criticism of art at the time of its debut.
  6. Search the Art Index, Art Full Text and the Art Index Retrospective together.
  7. Very large repository of digital images documenting artistic heritage and visual culture from around the world. Special tools are available within the database to support educators and researchers, including shared folders and personalized collections, through the ARTstor Instructor Privileges service.
  8. Details on Canadian organizations and international groups including industry, commercial and professional associations, registered charities, and special interest organizations.
  9. Art bibliography covering European and American visual arts from late antiquity to the present. Includes records on material published between 1975 - 2007. The database contains records drawn from journals, as well as books, conference proceedings, essays, exhibition catalogues, selected art dealers catalogues, doctoral dissertations and microform publications.
  10. Full texts of over 1,200 plays from mid-1800s - present by more than 150 playwrights from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African Diaspora countries.Includes: biographies, playbills, images, production notes, performance information. Playwrights include: Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Zora Neale Hurston etc.
  11. Bibliographical information (including: periodical title, author, volume/issue number, pages) for articles about various aspects of music in Canada, published in Canadian music journals, newsletters and magazines from the late 19th century to present. Significant articles about international artists since 1999 are also indexed.
  12. Classical and contemporary music online.
  13. Biographies of performers, directors, writers, producers, choreographers, composers, dancers, designers, technicians, critics and others active in Canadian, British and American film, theatre and television industries.
  14. Streaming video of dance productions & documentaries by the most influential performers and companies of the 20th century. Selections cover ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, experimental, improvisational dance, and modern concert dance.
  15. Database collecting documentation of digital installation art. Includes computer animation, interactive art, net art, transgenic art, sound installation, bio art, and more.
  16. Index to literature on design and craft since the mid-19th century. Research articles are covered, along with topical news items, conference and seminar reports, and book, video and exhibition reviews.
  17. DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music) provides high-quality streaming access to recordings by New World Records, CRI and other important labels. Includes folk, opera, jazz, musical theatre, contemporary and electronic music.
  18. Open-access digital repository covering visual arts in Canada and especially Quebec. Includes essays, articles, books and magazines as well as images, audio and video works. Also provides access to Artexe's cataloge for their print collection, housed on-site in Quebec.
  19. An index to peer-reviewed publications of regional importance in emerging scientific fields in response to rapidly changing research fields and interdisciplinary scholarship to provide coverage of relevant titles in evolving disciplines.
  20. An index to essays, articles and miscellaneous works published in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. It covers 8 decades (1900-1984) of essays, annuals and serial publications from the 20th Century. Topics covered include art and art history, architecture, archaeology, antiques, museum studies, industrial design, interior design, television and video, and motion pictures.
  21. References articles in film and television journals and magazines.
  22. Scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web.
    SFU Authorized users can obtain full text links to SFU Library resources, by going to Google Scholar Settings and clicking on Library links. Then type and select Simon Fraser University - Get@SFU and Save.
    OR use the Off Campus and Wireless Access Bookmarklet to gain access to the full text licensed by SFU Library.
  23. Articles published in over 350 English-language periodicals. Topics include: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, Communications, Community Health, Economics, Geography, History, Law, Linguistics, Literature, Planning & Public Administration, Religion & Theology, Minority Studies, Performing Arts, Psychology, Philosophy, Political Science, Urban Studies etc.
  24. The Index to Art in Canada to 1930 provides an index to works of art listed in Canadian exhibition, auction and collection catalogues, from 1823 (the date of the earliest catalogue so far identified) up to and including 1930.
  25. An archival collection of scholarly journals mainly in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Subject coverage includes: African American Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Botany & Ecology, Economics, Education, Finance, General Science, History, Literature, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Population Studies, Sociology and Statistics.
  26. Classical music scores and manuscripts. Many pieces have associated online recordings in the Classical Music Library database.
  27. Online music from around the world. Includes sound effects and spoken word recordings.
  28. Large library of online recordings of classical music. Also includes jazz and world music recordings, along with other genres.
  29. Films produced by the National Film Board of Canada (streaming online). Includes documentaries, animation and alternative dramas. Note: To access to CAMPUS features (e.g. learning bundles, study guides, searching by school subject), SFU users may contact to request the activation key.

    Authorized Users may access the Website and the Content outside of the premises of Subscriber’s educational institution solely for bona fide educational and research purposes, including presentations by student teachers conducted as part of a practicum.

  30. Comprehensive reference work covering all aspects of Canadian and American Theatre. It has records of of thousands of plays, people, theatres, individual productions, and companies, with access to some full text plays. Also includes images, playbills, postcards, scrapbooks and other ephemera.
  31. Over 1500 plays by over 300 women covering colonial era to present times. Topics include: the campaign for suffrage (including propaganda plays); access to higher education; inclusion in various professions; domestic entrapment; life on the frontier; and, the Underground Railroad.
  32. Reference resources on all aspects of visual arts, and links to art images from around the world. Sources include Grove Art Online, Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Oxford Companion to Western Art, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics & Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms.
  33. Comprehensive reference source on all aspects of music. Includes access to Grove Music Online,The Oxford Dictionary of Music and The Oxford Companion to Music. Includes links to related sites, including sound archives and illustrations.
  34. Humanities and social sciences peer-reviewed academic journals and ebooks from university presses and scholarly societies world-wide.
  35. Online exhibition venue and archive of new media and born-digital art practices. Research tools include an archive of new media art works in the ArtBase, as well as articles, reviews, and images.
  36. The ArtBase is Rhizome's archive of digital art and new media, freely accessible to the public online. It preserves works of net art that were deemed to be "of potential historical significance." Encompassing projects from artists all over the world, the ArtBase archives work which employ materials such as software, code, websites, moving images, games, and browsers.
  37. Royalty free sound effects from Sound Ideas as WAV files for synchronization with other media. Sound effects include: isolated sounds, specialty effects, foley sounds and background ambiences.
    Sound Ideas are available as WAV files on: SFU Bennett/Belzberg Library computers, Mac laptops for loan in the SFU Fraser Library in Surrey (for SIAT students ONLY), computer labs at SFU Surrey, and computer labs at SFU Woodward's.
  38. Searchable catalog for identifying sound effects from the royalty free CDs produced by Sound Ideas. Does not include actual files. To learn about using the listed information to locate a sound effect file on SFU Library Computers or in CD format, see the Finding Sound Effect Files guide.
  39. Online streaming video of plays and documentaries. It covers a wide range of 20th century theatre history.
  40. Full texts of over 2000 plays by North American playwrights from the late 1800s-present, production information with related ephemera, e.g. playbills, posters. Special coverage of LGBTQ theatre, and other minority groups.
  41. Annotated entries for all important material about Shakespeare published or produced from 1964-early 2005. Includes: books, articles, book reviews, dissertations, theatrical productions, reviews of productions, audiovisual materials, electronic media, and other scholarly and popular materials.
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