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Costume Design: Start Here

A guide to support Kerry Bechtel's classes.

Course Image

Start exploring here

Credo is an academic alternative to Wikipedia. It includes topic pages with mind maps (example: Costume Design and Folk Costume) and specialized entries from several encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sources (examples: Outerwear and Millinery from The History of Modern Fashion, Clothing from Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century, jodhpurs from World of Art: Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Fashion & Fashion Designers).

Where to Find Scholarly Sources

Citing your work

Books & eBooks at Smith Library Center

Finding Books

The library’s online catalog WORLDCAT searches libraries worldwide - and searches for journal articles as well as books. Search results from SLC appear first. If you want to just search our library, you can easily do that on the left-hand side filters- check the box for ‘Southwestern University A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center’.


  • Look at the call numbers - note that many are 700s (art 746=textile arts), but others are in the 800s or 300s... 391 is the subject category for “Costume & personal appearance” from the perspective of the social sciences and 820 is English Literature. These books are pulling up because they treat costumes in some way, and they may well be illustrated. If you are costuming a particular country, period, etc…. look at books in the call number range for these.


  • Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of any relevant record to see the subject headings. Clicking on these will take you to more relevant works.


  • Read the “notes/description” in the catalog record- look for information that will let you know if a book contains illustrations - it may say “ill” “ills.” Sometimes the information will say “plates” or “color plates” and those are often full page illustrations.


  • Note the column on the left hand side of your search results. This column gives you options to limit your search by type of material (books, just ebooks, just full text journals) AND/OR by subject/topic (costume and theater, religion, anthropology) AND/OR by date and more.


  • TIPS: Put an * after a word to get more results, e.g. costum* will pull up all of these: costume, costumes, costuming. Use Boolean operators to get even fancier, e.g.: costum* AND Africa*. Be sure to use all CAPS for the operator. Other operators are OR and NOT. A helpful Boolean Operator video may be found at the SLC Youtube channel, as well as a general WorldCat video tutorial.

Books on Non-Western Fairy Tales

Selections from the Curriculum Collection


ArtStor image database contains over 2 million images of artworks and cultural objects, many contributed by museums and archives. Users can search and download images, create and share groups, generate Powerpoint presentations, and utilize content for any scholarly purpose.


Note that you MUST register for an account from an on-campus computer/device. Then you can log in from anywhere. It only takes a moment to register, so take care of it early. 

The ArtStor YouTube channel has instructional videos on registering, searching, downloading, and organizing images. Watch this lengthy video, or skip around to relevant parts: