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LSFY102: From Maqamas to Movies

This research guide will help you choose a Middle Eastern artist and find sources about the artist for your final paper in LSFY 102.

Choosing an artist - Finding sources about your artist - Citing sources - Questions?

Choosing an artist

The library owns a number of reference books on world artists. Try browsing these for potential topics:

  • Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century - Reference PN770.5 .E5 1999
  • Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: The Middle East - Reference ML100 .G16 1998, vol. 6
  • World Music: The Rough Guide - Reference ML102 .W67 W67 1999
  • Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema - Reference PN1993.5 .M53 G56 2010
  • Arab Filmmakers of the Middle East: A Dictionary - Reference PN1993.5.A65 A76 2010

The following books are on reserve at the library circulation desk. Just go to the desk and give them your professor's name and the title of the book you want to see:

  • Art of the Middle East: Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World and Iran
  • Contemporary Art in the Middle East
  • Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past,Present, and Future
  • Cultural Revolution in Iran: Contemporary Popular Culture in the Islamic Republic
  • Humor in Middle Eastern Cinema
  • Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East

As a place to get started, the Web can be helpful. Just remember:

  1. Follow up using library books and databases to be sure you can find enough research resources on your artist. (A librarian can help if you need it!) This is important because . . .
  2. You will need high-quality library resources, not Internet sources, for your final paper.

Finding sources about your artist

***Important tip: as you research your artist, keep track of any alternate spellings of his or her name. You may need to search more than one spelling before you find the database's "preferred" version.

Example: the author of your class text, Midaq Alley, may be spelled Nagiub Mahfouz or Najib Mahfuz.***


Use ALiCat and I-Share to find books on your artist. The ALiCat search box pops up whenever you access the main library webpage. If you change the drop-down menu to read "I-Share," instead, you'll be searching libraries across Illinois.

  1. Start by searching his or her name as a keyword, in case a book about the artist has been published.
  2. If #1 doesn't work, don't give up. Try finding books about the artist's genre or medium in his or her country or area of origin. Go to Advanced Search and do searches like these:
    - iran AND film
    - egypt AND literature
    These books will give you general information, but also check the index to determine whether they have a section on your particular artist.
  3. Try multiple keywords on a given topic. For example, if "film" doesn't work, search "cinema" or "movies."
  4. Once you find a relevant book, follow its subject headings (often labeled "Topics" in ALiCat and I-Share) for more books on the same topic


Which library database you use to find articles will vary depending on your topic. You can find the databases below by clicking "Databases" on the library homepage, then selecting "Databases A-Z" from the drop-down menu.

  • Literature Resource Center (for literature and film)
  • MLA International Bibliography (for literature and film)
  • Art & Architecture Complete (for fine art and architecture)
  • Design and Applied Arts Index (for arts including graphic design, fashion, ceramics, crafts, etc.)
  • RILM Abstracts (for music)
  • Communication and Mass Media Complete (for film and some popular culture topics)
  • JSTOR (any topic)
  • Academic Search Complete (any topic)

As you search the databases, use the same search strategies numbered above, in the section on books. Be creative and persistent!

If you find a good journal article that is not full-text in the database, search the title of the journal under "Journals & Magazines" on the library homepage to see if we have access elsewhere. If not, you can order a copy through interlibrary loan. Need help? Ask a librarian!

Citing Sources

Consult A Writer's Reference, by Diana Hacker, for proper MLA style. Online guides to MLA style are also available here:

Library website --> Citing Sources (under "Research Tools")


You are welcome to contact me with any questions about your research for this project. My email address is, and I work at the research help desk (on 2nd floor by the elevators) off-and-on throughout the week.

Or, approach any Augustana librarian for help at the research help desk: in-person, or by phone (309-794-7206), email (, or the "Ask an Augustana Librarian" chat box on the library home page.


Page created by Stefanie Bluemle, research and instruction librarian for history, religion, and philosophy. Updated January 2016.