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    SCREENING AND CONVERSATION with Margaret Prescod, Founder, Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders and host of “Sojourner Truth” on Pacifica Radio’s KPFK.
    Nana Gyamfi, Lawyer-Black Lives Matter, Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders.

  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Oliver Payne, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Kimberli Meyer trained as an architect and an artist, and has been the director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in West Hollywood since 2002. She has initiated and curated many programs there, including the exhibitions How Many Billboards?

  • Industry Spotlight

    Oct 15| Special Event

    An advertising creative director for more than 25 years, Otis alumnus Josh Weltman was the Mad Men co-producer responsible for Don Draper's credibility as an advertising genius.

    Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the hit series, plus hear key insights from Weltman's new book Seducing Strangers: How to Get People to Buy What You're Selling.

  • Please join the Digital Media Department for a lecture by  Alina Chau.
    Chau is an Animator, Illustrator and Storyboard artist who has worked with Lucasfilm Animation, Technicolor Interactive Services, and Electronic Arts.  
    Alina Chau received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. She spent over a decade working in the animation industry. Her most notable credit is on LucasFilm’s Emmy Award Winning program, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Yutaka Makino. He lives and works in Berlin.  Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, and her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Her most recent novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. With David Remnick she co-edited the anthology Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2010, the inaugural winner of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award, Choi lives in Brooklyn.


Photo Documentary Culture

Review How to Do Research

Refresh your information literacy skills here: Information Literacy Tutorials.

Free Web vs. the Invisible or Deep Web

Although there is a great deal of good free information available on the free web, there is often better quality and more reliable information available through databases. Much of that information was first published in books and magazines, then sold and agregated into online databases. That information is not ususally free, no more than the original printed sources were free. Publishers often earn a great deal of money by selling the previously published content to information vendors who, in turn, resells the content to libraries who make it available for their patrons.

Note: Be especially cautious of Wikipedia. Read more here about why.

The following Steps will guide you in finding images and historical information for your project of analyzing an image from popular culture and its context.

Step 1: Find an Image

Pick from one on the following Library books:  

Life: 100 Events that Shook Our World   TR820 O546 2005
Century: One Hundred Years of Human Progress, Regression, Suffering and Hope    REF D26 C46
Life: Our Century in Pictures    REF CB425 L44
Photos That Changed the World   TR820 P567 2000

Step 2: Find Background Information

One very easy way to start is search in online encyclopedias or dictionaries. For instance, Britannica Online has basic information on a huge range of topics. Click on the Library Databases button.

There are books which you can browse which will be extremely helpful to you in learning about the cultural, social, and historical context of a particular time or period. 

20th Century Day by Day: 100 years of News
REF D422 C53
Headlines and front pages of newspapers from 1900 through 1999. This should be your first stop to find out what else was going on for your time period.
This Fabulous Century - 7 volumes
REF E161 T55
One volume per decade beginning with 1900-1950. Overview of the popular culture of the period. Mostly images.
Ads That Put America on Wheels
HF6161 A9 D74
Early 1900s through 1960s. Shows through actual ads how automobiles were marketed.
Advertising and the Motorcar
HF6161 A8 F74
Early 1900s through 1960s. Shows through actual ads how automobiles were marketed. An essay is included.
American Century: Art & Culture 1900-1950
N6512 H335
Based on a Whitney exhibition, this is an in-depth overview of art of the period.
American Decades - 4 volumes
REF E169.12 A419
One volume per decade beginning with 1950s. Organized with chapters on world events, education, politics, lifestyles, media, the arts, etc.
Fashions of a Decade - 8 volumes
REF GT596 C837
Just fashion. We have the '20s through the '90s.

Hulton Getty Picture Collection - 6 volumes
D426 Y367 1998

One volume per decade. All pictures with captions. We have the '20s through the '70s.

Websites of Interest

Ad Access Images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. 
AdFlip Archive of classic ads from 1940 to the present.
American Cultural History: The Twentieth Century The purpose of these pages is to present a series of web guides on the decades of the twentieth century. The pages are prepared by the Reference Librarians. Period pictures used.
American Memory Thematic access to images, sound recordings, web sites, and other documents on American cultural history. Provided by the Library of Congress.
Year by Year 1900-2001

This site describes historic events of the twentieth century by year and by decade. 

Step 3: Find an Article About Your Topic

Once you've browsed and become more familiar with the cultural context of your photo, you should be able to create a list of generalized subjects that you can search for in the Library's databases. You should be able to find one or two in-depth articles in ProQuest, eLibrary, and Wilson Omni. Remember: Each databases is much smaller than the entire web. If you put in a very specific term and get no hits, you will need to broaden your search. See also: How to Clarify Your Topic.

Step 4: The Bibliography

There's an excellent guide to Citing Sources and Citing Images online. The Art History Faculty use the MLA style.

The librarians and the library staff are available. Ask for reference/research assistance at any time. It's our job. You're not bothering us.