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Syracuse University Libraries

VIS 600: Special Topics - Project Development (Spring 2022)

A collection of librarian recommended research starting points for students in Professor Paula Nelson's VIS 600 course (Spring 2022)


SU Libraries offers valuable research tools and sources designed to assist students researching within visual communications.  See this guide's menu bar for links to starting points.  Consider the Ten (10) starting point strategy reminders below and seek out a librarian for advice or an appointment when you require further guidance.

syracuse university carnegie library reading room


Ten (10) Starting Point Strategy Reminders
-when marrying your source exploration to course assignment objectives in VIS 600

1. QUALITY NOT QUANTITY:  Focus on relevance and qualitative appropriateness of sources encountered and not a goal of using a maximum number of databases [using more than 2 or 3 will yield better results most of the time;  using 20 or 30, most likely is not needed, unless perhaps research is doctoral level or aiming to do the most comprehensive of scholarly searches known as a systematic review (not a focus in VIS 600, nor most non-doctoral Newhouse course related research)

2. IDENTIFY A SPECIFIC PERIODICAL/MAGAZINE(S):  Browsing back issues of single specifically entitled magazines, trade publications, or scholarly journals (if the latter are especially relevant to what you are pursuing) may often be equally or more effective than entering numerous search queries into dozens of different databases.  Navigate to such titles (assuming library collects them) by entering a title(s) of interest into the journals A to Z list (e.g., Aperture, British Journal of Photography, International Journal of Visual Design, Communication Arts, etc.) || The library's journals list also contains lengthy lists of all magazines and journals available at SU via the library.  Most that are useful for a visual communications course - are listed under the category called "Art, Architecture and Applied Arts."  Other categories often of interest to Newhouse students are "journalism & communications" and/or sometimes "music, dance, drama and film."  Pay attention to patterns as to which periodical/journal/magazine titles cover your topic(s) [and/or related locations, persons, organizations, etc.] most often.

3. BE SELECTIVE IN PICKING DATABASES:  Considering the subpage of this guide called "databases," pick three or four databases to query and not thirty or forty (especially databases focused on art & design OR those with image or video content OR others especially relevant to an area you are exploring).

4. SUMMON SEARCHING IS A MUST FOR ALL:  Virtually all VIS 600 students should for sure include in their research process searching within SUMMON (apply search result filters from the left column of those results, such as filtering results by a desired "content type" AND/OR "area of study" AND/OR "publication date(s)."  Be sure to filter some of those results where you only look at results assigned the content type "book/ebook" and/or "book chapter."   The most interesting source discoveries often involve a combination of items found on Google/Google Scholar combined with similar sources located using academic library licensed collections.

5.  SEARCHING AT LEAST ONE LARGE MULTIDISCIPLINARY DATABASE IS A MUST FOR ALL:  Virtually all VIS 600 students seeking highly scholarly secondary literature discussing a topic, or person, or other organization or technique or technology, should include searches in large multidisciplinary databases like ProQuest (strong combination of both scholarly and non scholarly sources), Project Muse (a bit more scholarly in focus, and good for humanities emphasis) and/or Scopus (exclusively covers highly scholarly academic journals only, rigorously tracks subsequent citations to earlier articles and claims to be the largest such database on the planet

6. CHOICE OF SEARCH TERMS AND HOW YOU COMBINE THEM MATTERS: Keep a running list of relevant search words or phrases pertinent to your research focus (proper names of key person(s), organizations, technologies, techniques, theories, or organizations of places are especially useful).

7. NON U.S. SOURCES:  When seeking non-U.S. examples via the library, a country name can be entered into SUMMON as a "subject term" combined with additional useful subject terms we discussed - like the phrase "pictorial works" or subject term words like "design" or "photography" or "photojournalism." etc. || The advanced search screen in ProQuest also has a search field called "location" - into which one can enter a place name, combined with other search terms (for example, specifying "France" in the "Location" field combined with "photojournalism" searched anywhere)

8. PRESSREADER:  The news database PressReader (covering most of its titles on a 90 day rolling base, some for longer) is filled with hundreds of fully page imaged U.S. and non U.S. newspapers and magazines

9.  ACCESS WORLD NEWS:  The news database Access World News also does a good job bringing back search results that are not only text in articles, but includes images, and at times links out to websites and some (primarily U.S.) news video.  A growing collection of full page imaged newspaper pages available here, in addition to the Syracuse Post-Standard, includes the The Guardian (U.K.)

10. USING THE "DOCUMENT TYPE" FEATURE IN PROQUEST TO ZERO IN ON IMAGE CONTENT/OR ON OPINION:  The ProQuest database, "advanced" search screen, includes a menu called "document type," where available filters for search results includes categories such as:  "advertisement,"  "editorial cartoon/comic,"  "illustration,"  and "image/photograph."  Other non-image categories include "editorial" and/or "letter to the editor."  IMPORTANT SEARCH TIP:  When trying to bring back visual content for some of those categories, avoid typing in too many search words all at once


Adjusting the Lens - Special Collections Research Center

Checkout the many historical campus life and building images drawn from SU Archives Photograph Collection, part of the Library's Special Collections Research Center Sept 1, 2020 blog post by Reference Assistant, Isabel McCullough, entitled, Adjusting the Lens || More widely speaking, see SU Libraries Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) blog for other examples of inspiring primary sources drawn from SCRC's collection of images, audiovisual sources, recorded sound, and numerous other manuscripts, books, and physical objects

Library Starting Points - Fundamentals

Short screencast style video introducing SU Libraries research starting points

Digital New York Times

New York Times Logo

New York Times Digital Edition via Syracuse University Libraries: Access available to all current Syracuse University NETID holders, with email addresses

Provides access to:

  • New York Times content from 1851 to present, from the print and digital editions
  • Digital journalism that includes videos, podcasts, interactive media and more, from mid-1990s to present
  • Page image print edition content:
    • via the Times Machine from 1851-2002
      • Note: PDF viewing/downloading of Times Machine content from 1923-1980 is limited to 5 per day
      • Via New York Times app for 7 days
      • If seeking article text and page imaged print edition New York Times back issues only, these are also available via the library's subscription to ProQuest News & Newspapers (including print editions beyond the end date of coverage by the Times Machine)

      Does not provide access to:

      • Crossword Puzzles
      • Note that access is limited to current NetID holders with accounts only, and will expire after four years for current faculty and staff.  Student accounts expire in December of the anticipated graduation year entered when registering for an account.

Registration Instructions - Digital New York Times

To register for a New York Times Digital Edition account:

  1. Go to this registration page, and if off-campus, log in to the EZProxy page with your NetID.
  2. Click:  Create Account
  3. Create a New York Times account using your address and a password of your choice. Do not use your NetID login/password. Note that access is limited to current NetID holders with accounts only. If you register as a student, enter your graduation year.
  4. After registering, you can access the New York Times directly (without going through the SU Libraries site) by going to or connecting via mobile app, if enabled.
  5. Please note the New York Times Terms of Service and Privacy agreements.
  6. If you are having problems registering or accessing your account subsequently, see troubleshooting instructions on this guide for "renewing an existing registration" OR submit the problem using the library's Electronic Resource Problem Report form OR contact Newhouse School Librarian, Michael Pasqualoni (315) 443-3715.
  7. (new as of 2021)  Access will expire after four years for faculty and staff, and in December of the stated graduation year for students.
    • New York Times does not email faculty, students, or staff with reminders about account expiration dates.
    • Access does not apply to Alumni
    • This university access is digital only and does not include print editions available to personal NYT subscribers
    • Personal subscriptions for readers who desire print delivery can continue, but cannot ALSO use an email address for those accounts
  8. Continuing students with a change of graduation year should follow up directly with the New York Times to extend access.  Students should contact customer support for academic subscribers at OR use the general New York Times Contact Us page [and phone or email options listed under the heading for general contact channels].

Additional information: The New York Times in Education site provides information about educational resources available to account holders.

Already have a personal account:  It is not possible to use the same email address for both a personal and a Syracuse University Libraries digital New York Times account.  Call NYT's Customer Service Department at 800-698-4637 to cancel a paid account that uses an email address, before registering for access through SU's campus-wide site license. Visit NYT's contact us website to see additional options for contacting NYT regarding personal accounts.

Help With Citing?

Need help on formatting the sources you cite in your academic writing (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.) or want access to a full-fledged online bibliographic management system-like "Mendeley " or "Zotero?"  Visit the SU Libraries Citation Support website.

  • Note:  If using APA citation style, citations in recent articles of the Journal of Public Relations Research use the 7th edition of that APA publication manual as their guideline for that formatting (thus, an excellent source for current examples of how to properly format APA).

From the American Psychological Association, see also their

  • APA 7th - Common Reference Examples
  • APA Blog
    (search queries here often provide additional guidance on formats for citing content types beyond scholarly books, or other than articles from newspapers, magazines, or academic journals - for instance, how to cite a tweet, or how to format film or television references, etc.)


A P Associated Press
For stylistic guidelines for journalists particularly -SU Libraries also offers from Associated Press the:

AP Stylebook Online

More Guides Like This One

Visit for additional librarian created research guides in various disciplines.  Guides gather together relevant starting points considerations, links to discipline or content type specific databases and related recommendations

For example, VIS 600 students can consider also visiting any one or more of these guides 

Starting points on this main VIS 600 guide should be sufficient for most, but visit these other guides if desired (there will be duplication of some leading best bet databases on several of these guides).