Tag Archives: databases

Feature Friday: OnArchitecture Database

We are so excited to announce – and subsequently feature – our recent subscription to OnArchitecture, an online audiovisual database that functions as an artistic archive exclusively for professional and educational institutions around the world. OnArchitecture contains original material focusing on key individuals, buildings, and installations in contemporary architecture, and highlights them through interviews, documents, audiovisuals, and more. In their own words, this database provides “a synthetic, deep and detailed panorama of the world’s main authors, works, experiences and problematics related to the field of architecture.

OnArchitecture boasts an extensive catalog of buildings and installations, including influential works like the Sendai Mediatheque by Toyo Ito; Capitol Complex in Chandigarh, India by Le Corbusier; and Ai Weiwei’s Fake Design. The catalog is presented clearly and cleanly, meaning that it’s exceptionally easy to maneuver through and explore. The main page for each work features a brief video, a summary of the work, additional documents, and – my personal favorite – a suggested bibliography of additional information on the building or piece. I love this setup, as the page serves as a key introduction to the main aspects of a work of art, and then both encourages and facilitates additional research. As a student, I cannot even begin to express how handy this is!

Perhaps the most unique aspect of this database is its extensive collection of video interviews with various influential artists, architects, and curators from all over the world. These interviews candidly cull out the critical reivew of works from the artists themselves. So often in research we are presented with an interpretation of a building or piece through a secondary observer or scholarly source; while vital, these interviews reveal the fundamental process behind a piece that can only be expressed through the mind of its creator. Think of this portion of the database as a collection of TED talks for artists and designers. And, as you can see in the screen grab below, you can travel the world in just one sitting!

I cannot express enough how thrilled I am that the Architecture & Planning Library has invested in this inimitable database. I am already certain that this will serve as a key source for research when my studies resume in fall, and I’ve already watched several interviews out of pure interest and fascination. Follow the link below to start exploring yourself!

OnArchitecture – access this database

Zotero to the Rescue!

Before I began my first semester at UT this fall, I had little experience with citation managers. I had always approached my research papers knowing that the dreaded formatting of my bibliography was always looming. I’ll admit it: when Martha asked me if I had ever heard of Zotero, I stared at her like she was referring to some alien species.

But before you have the same reaction, read on – because Zotero will change your life! (Or at least how you complete your research papers. Close enough.)

Zotero is a free and intuitive tool used to collect, sort, cite, and share your research sources. Zotero’s very own website refers to it as a “personal research assistant”, and that is a spot-on description! Obviously using the power of some sort of coded magic, Zotero automatically senses content in your web browser and allows you to save it to a personal library with a simple click of a button. Whether you’re citing a PDF, book on an e-catalog, journal article from a scholarly database, newspaper article, or more, Zotero syncs with your browser and will export the source’s information in a split second.

The interface of Zotero’s personal library is easy to navigate and customize to your liking. Working on multiple research papers on varying topics? Zotero allows you to create specific folders for each, just like the folders you’re used to on a personal computer. The interface also allows you to search for keywords, add notes to sources for citations, and organize by date added.

But the best part? Zotero allows you to highlight specific sources or entire folders and export them to a Word file in any bibliographic style you’d like. That’s right – Zotero creates and exports your bibliography for you! GENIUS, right?!

Zotero can be used as a browser extension or is available to download as an external application. Whichever you choose, you’ll be on your way to organizing your citations with ease!

I think Zotero might be my new favorite superhero.

Download Zotero here.
If you’re completely new to Zotero, check out this wonderful PDF handout created by UT Libraries to help get you started.
Did you know that UT Libraries offer classes on Zotero and other useful tools? Visit the Library Classes website for a detailed list of course topics, class calendars, FAQs, and more!

Interior Design Research Tools: IIDA Knowledge Center

When sifting through the myriad resources available to designers, it’s easy to experience a legitimate information overload. Periodicals, drawings, essays, reports – encompassing style, technology, safety, products – there’s so much to uncover! However, we’ve accumulated some exceptional electronic research tools to help, and the IIDA Knowledge Center is one of them.

The International Interior Design Association‘s database does a fantastic job of concentrating a wealth of resources into one succinct and easy-to-use interface. A typical search results in access to relevant research papers, master’s theses, conference reports, specification guides, and more. Just getting started in your research? No problem – the Knowledge Center lets you filter your search by resource type, client type, or topic, which can put you on a fast track to finding the information that’s most relevant to you.

A test topic search for ‘hospitality’ results in a staggering amount of diverse resources, presented in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you’re falling into the electronic abyss of irrelevant hyperlinks. My favorite part about this database: the option to organize your search results by either relevance or topic. Choosing ‘topic’ creates clusters of links based on subcategories such as branding, space planning, color, and more – it’s so simple and time saving!

Regardless of how deep you are into your research for a design project, we hope the IIDA Knowledge Center can be an indispensable addition to your toolbox. Did we mention that it’s FREE?

Keep a look out – we’ll touch on some more electronic resources for designers in the upcoming weeks in honor of the 101 Years of Interior Design celebration!