Contact information

If you need help, please contact Sylvia Roberts, Liaison Librarian for Communication & Contemporary Arts at 778.782.3681 or or Ask a librarian.

This guide is intended to assist you with research on your selected research object for CA 821.  The focus is on conducting a  literature review for your annotated bibliography assignment, in order to find historical and contemporary contexts for the object(s) of study, as well as theoretical and methodological frameworks for your discussion.

If you do not find the information that you need to write your paper, please Ask a Librarian for assistance or contact Sylvia Roberts, Liaison Librarian for Contemporary Arts (contact details in the box on the right). I am pleased to meet (in person, by Zoom, phone or Skype) for one-on-one consultations about your specific research project.

When you email or phone, please give me some details about your research and times when you're available (and your preferred meeting mode) so we can find a mutually convenient time. 


What is a literature review?

A literature review is a text written by someone to consider the critical points of current academic knowledge, substantial and influential discussions, as well as theoretical and methodological approaches to a particular topic. 

For your annotated bibliography assignment, you are asked to select 8-10 texts that relate to your object(s) of study (see the assignment outline in the CA 821 syllabus for specifics).

Also see links to online guide to literature reviews and annotated bibliographies:

Theory backgrounders

A selection of sources for finding theory that relates to your object of study.  The linked titles are available as e-books; "print" links to the catalogue record for a print edition.


Use the following subject heading links to find books that discuss approaches to media arts research:

The following selection of titles are available at the SFU Library, some as e-books and some in print.  The link will take you to the catalogue record, with the link to the full text and/or the location of the print book so you can find or request it.

Finding books

The SFU Library catalogue includes records which describe books and other materials in our collection, both print and electronic.

If you find a book which is not in the SFU collection, use an interlibrary loan form to request it and we'll try to borrow it for you from another library.

WorldCat database lists books and other materials held by many libraries around the world.  You can search it like a Library catalogue and request books not held by SFU using the Get@SFU link.
Consider also searching for dissertations and theses, as these represent the work of emerging scholars.  Full text for many dissertations and theses can be found by searching Dissertations and Theses Abstracts and Index. If not online, you can request a thesis through interlibrary loan.

Finding articles

The wide range of disciplines that touch on the nature of comparative media research requires that you take a broad view of relevant research and use a variety of indexes to find it.  Each index contains records describing articles in a set of journals, chapters in books, book reviews, exhibition reviews, practitioner publications and other information sources.

If the full text of the article is not included in the index, follow the Where can I get this? link to find the full text, if available. If not available online, you can also request reprints or scans of articles using the Request item from another library function.

The following are some key indexes for literature relating to the study of media arts:

Multi-disciplinary indexes

If you're not sure where to start, a search in one of the following indexes will show you which disciplines have approached related questions.  The first 3 listed index the full text of articles, enabling you to find references buried within the text.
  • Google Scholar  Indexes the full text of journal articles, books and other materials on academic or research web sites
  • Project MUSE Search   Full text articles in scholarly humanities and social sciences journals.
  • JSTOR  Searchable, archival collection of core scholarly arts, humanities and social sciences journals
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index  A multidisciplinary index to the journal literature of the arts and humanities. Some of the disciplines covered include Architecture, Art,  Dance, Folklore,  Language, Linguistics,  Literature, Music, Philosophy,  Radio, Television, & Film,Theatre.

Theses & dissertations

Search Summit (SFU's institutional digital repository] or the Library catalogue to find SFU theses and dissertations.  To limit to those produced by Contemporary Arts students, search "School of Contemporary Arts"  AND theses.

For graduate work produced elsewhere, search the followign indexes:

Citing it right

SFU Library provides Citation & style guides for your use. If you can't figure out how to cite a specific source, please Ask a Librarian.