This guide is a selected list of reference tools covering the visual arts, art history, aesthetics, photography, applied arts, and museum studies. Some of these reference tools will also be useful for research in architectural history, performing arts and stage and theater design. This guide includes both print and electronic resources.
Table of Contents
Article Databases and Indexes
Academic or Scholarly Articles Subject Indexes
Art Full Text, produced by The HW Wilson Company, is a bibliographic database that indexes and abstracts articles from periodicals published throughout the world. Full-text coverage for selected periodicals is also included. Periodical coverage includes English-language periodicals, yearbooks, and museum bulletins, as well as periodicals published in French, Italian, German, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish. In addition to articles, Art Full Text indexes reproductions of works of art that appear in indexed periodicals. Indexing coverage begins 1984; abstracting coverage begins with January 1994. The abstracts range from 50 to 300 words and describe the content and scope of the source articles. Full-text coverage begins in 1997. See Art Index (below) for coverage before 1984.
This is the print index upon which Art Full Text is based. Very useful for research before 1984.
Art Index Retrospective covers 55 years (from 1929-1984)of art journalism and research from leading English-language sources, plus others published in French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Dutch. Besides periodicals, resources include data from yearbooks and select museum bulletins.
Index and abstracts of articles from periodical articles, books, exhibition catalogs, and index entries for dissertations. Covers all aspects of late 19th and 20th century art, including decorative and applied art, with particular reference to photography and three-dimensional design.
Note: A&HCI is no longer searchable as a separate index.
(1) Start by clicking on this link, which takes you to the Web of Science main page.
(2) In the search box enter one or more key words.
(3) On the next page, under Research Domains, select Arts and Humanities to limit your results.
(4) Hints: Your choice of words can influence the results. For example, "hydraulic fracturing" will favor science-journal articles; "fracking" will retrieve more articles in humanities and social-science journals.
The data available on the Getty Web site as of April 1, 2010, comprises two databases: BHA and IBA. BHA (Bibliography of the History of Art/Bibliographie d'histoire de l'art) covers the years 1990-2007; the Getty Web version includes all records with abstracts in French or English and all subject terms in French and English. IBA (International Bibliography of the History of Art) covers 2008 and part of 2009; the Getty Web version includes all records with abstracts in English and all subject terms in French and English. A third database will be added to the Getty Web site during the coming months: RILA (Répertoire de la litterature de l'art), which covers 1975-1989. At present, the Getty has no plans to add RAA (Répertoire d'art et d'archéologie), which covers 1973-1989.
DAAI is an international index to design and craft journals. It contains annotated references from more than 450 design and craft journals, and data on nearly 50,000 designers, craftspeople, studios, workshops, firms etc. All areas of design and craft are covered, including industrial design, interior design, environmental design, computer aided design, furniture design, ceramics, glass, fashion design, textile design, graphic design, typography, multimedia design, book design, photography, advertising, theatre design, ergonomics, and design management.
Humanities & Social Sciences Retrospective searches nearly 1200 of the most important journals in these subject areas. Updated, uniform subject headings facilitate your search, with the original subject headings also provided. Subjects Covered Include: Addiction Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology, Area Studies, Art, Classical Studies, Communications, Community Health & Medical Care, Corrections, Criminal Justice, Criminology, Dance, Economics, Environmental Studies, Ethics, Family Studies, Film, Folklore, Gender Studies, Geography, Gerontology, History, International Relations, Journalism, Law, Linguistics, Literary & Social Criticism Literature, Minority Studies, Music, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Planning & Public Administration, Policy Sciences, Political Science, Psychiatry, Psychology, Public Welfare, Religion and Theology, Social Work, Sociology, Urban Studies.
(Coming Soon) The International Bibliography of Art (IBA) is the definitive resource for scholarly literature on western art and successor to the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA). Includes detailed abstracts for all new content, in-depth abstracts for scholarly articles, and authority files of controlled terms. Ideal for academic and specialist art libraries, museums, and design firms. Focus on European art from late antiquity to the present, American art from the colonial era to the present, and global art since 1945 Visual arts in all media are covered: painting, sculpture, drawing, video, installations, new media, decorative and applied arts, museum studies and conservation, archaeology, folk art and material culture, classical studies, antiques, architectural history.
Iter is a bibliography of over 230,000 articles and reviews drawn from over 475 medieval and renaissance journal titles.
General Indexes to Magazine, Journal & Newspaper Articles
NOTE on ART SEARCHING: There are a number of newspaper and magazine indexes that may be useful for getting information on exhibits, current arts events, interviews with contemporary artists, museum topics, and arts issues such as funding, thefts, forgeries, censorship, etc. LOCAL ARTISTS and LOCAL ARTS ISSUES: For local reviews, interviews, etc., search CD-ROM versions of Pioneer Press and/or Star Tribune, located in the Newspaper Room, basement of Wilson. OTHER ART SEARCHES: you can search the following indexes for full-text articles: Lexis-Nexis, New York Times, Expanded Academic Index, and Magazine Index, also called General Reference Center. The other indexes on the menu are not full-text, but they will list articles, and in some cases will provide abstracts (summaries) describing the articles. STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE ART SEARCHES: You may want to add keywords, such as "exhibits", "reviews", "interviews" (try singular and plural) or the name of the art museum and/or city where they have shown, in addition to the artist's name.
LexisNexis Academic is a collection of online databases: News, Business (plus corporate news and corporate financials), Legal, Medical, and Reference. International news sources are included. There are a number of newspaper and magazine indexes that may be useful for getting information on exhibits, current arts events, interviews with contemporary artists, museum topics, and arts issues such as funding, thefts, forgeries, censorship, etc. Search the following for full-text articles in Lexis-Nexis.
A significant resource compiled by William Frederick Poole. A core resource for researching nineteenth-century topics.
Lists information for over a quarter-million serial records such as newspapers, popular and trade magazines, and academic and scholarly journals. Includes active, ceased, and forthcoming publications. Search by title, subject and more.
Representing the largest fully searchable collection of historical newspapers from around the globe, the World Newspaper Archive was created in partnership between Readex, a division of NewsBank, and the Center for Research Libraries to advance research opportunities across a wide range of academic disciplines. This collection of historical newspapers published in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and other regions provides excellent coverage of the people, cultures, issues and events that have shaped world history. Additional collections covering other regions will be added over time.
Catalogs and Bibliographies
Search with MNCAT to find books, journals, etc. owned by the library. Search by keyword, subject, title, or author for materials on your topic.
Find books, journals, articles, maps, music scores, sound recordings, films, theses/dissertations, machine-readable data files, and any other materials available in libraries worldwide. This covers all subject areas. Request items through Interlibrary Loan using the ILLiad link on each item's record. WorldCat is produced by OCLC (Online Computer Library Center, Inc.)
The Libraries' subscription to this resource allows for 65 users at any one time. If you get a busy signal, please wait a few minutes and try accessing the site again.
General Reference Sources
Atlases & Maps
Compilation of weblinks to biographical information on designers, architects, craftspeople, painters and sculptors.
The Timeline of Art History is a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of art from around the world, as illustrated especially by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection. The Museum's curatorial, conservation, and education staff, perhaps the largest single core of art experts anywhere in the world, research and write the Timeline, which is an invaluable reference and research tool for students, educators, scholars, and anyone interested in the study of art history and related subjects. First launched in 2000, the Timeline now extends from prehistory to 1600 A.D., and will continue to expand in scope and depth. The Timeline will span art history up to the present day by the fall of 2004.
The Concise Dictionary of Art Terms is an accessible and useful A-Z, covering a wide range of terms from the visual art world, including materials, techniques, and important styles and periods. From abstract art to woodcuts, and the Baroque Revival to ziggurats, this highly readable dictionary is the ideal reference source for students of Art and all related subjects, for gallery visitors, and for all people interested in the visual arts.
This database is designed to give researchers a beginning point to learning the background of major art historians of western art history. Includes an index of art historians mentioned in major art historiographies.
Provides rich detail on all aspects of the Renaissance in 14th to 17th century Europe. Includes comprehensive coverage of the art, literature, science, culture, philosophy, religion, economics, history, and conflict of the period. The text explores the influence that this intense intellectual and cultural revival continues to have on modern thought and society. Nearly half the entries are biographical, covering artists, thinkers, statesman, and reformers. A table of European ruling houses and a table showing the dates when cities and countries changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar are also included.
As a public service, AskART provides directory listings and links to approximately 1300 museums from around the world, dealers, auction houses, and an extensive list of artists in their collections. Subscribers to AskART receive auction data. The University does not currently subscribe to AskArt.
Good resource for addresses of museums, galleries, art schools, etc.
"Celebrating the present and anticipating the future of contemporary art, Younger than Jesus: Artist Directory introduces over 500 of the best artists under 33 years of age from around the world Assembled by a worldwide team of curators, writers, teachers, critics and artists during the research phase of the New Museum's new triennial exhibition, 'Younger than Jesus'. Captures an imminent generational change in art, exploring how artists from the same age group can develop similar interests and express similar concerns across geographies and nationalities An indispensable handbook for curators, collectors, dealers and critics, Younger than Jesus: Artist Directory also serves as an unparalleled visual guide for anyone interested in the latest artistic innovations."--BOOK JACKET.
Concise as well as scholarly articles on a wide range of subjects. Also includes links to related Internet resources, and the Britannica Book of the Year. Search tip: When combining words in search, capitalize AND. For example: revolution AND 1848
"The most comprehensive online reference resource for all aspects of the visual arts worldwide from prehistory to the present day."
The Grove Encyclopedia of American Art (GEAA) deals with all subject areas in American fine art including: biographies of major artists, architects and patrons, architecture, painting, new media, photography, sculpture, installation art, performance art, new media art, art education, and more.
The Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art and Architecture is the most current and comprehensive reference resource for the visual arts of the Classical period. It features an abundance of in-depth articles on this field of enduring importance"”from biographies to thematic entries on architecture, ceramics, metalwork, mosaics, painting and sculpture. The resource provides fascinating and authoritative art historical and cultural information about art forms, artists, rulers, philosophers, architecture, renowned works of art, archaeological sites and stylistic developments. Notable important subjects include the Apollo Belvedere, Carthage, the Euphronios krater, the Laokoon, Troy, the Venus de Milo and much more. Encompassing over four thousand years of artistry and innovation, this resource spans every art form, medium and civilization from Cycladic, Minoan, Helladic, and Etruscan art to the fall of the Roman Empire. Drawing upon the unparalleled scholarship in The Dictionary of Art (1996), and adding dozens of newly commissioned entries on recent archaeological discoveries, fully updated bibliography and over 600 illustrations, this publication sets a new standard in Classical studies.
The Encyclopedia offers scholarly material on Medieval art in more than 2,030 intelligent, well-written, and informative articles, each of which is followed by a bibliography to support further research. These include a mixture of shorter, more factual articles and larger, multi-section articles tracing the development of the arts in major regions. There are articles on all subject areas in Medieval art including biographies of major artists, architects and patrons; countries, cities, and sites; cultures and styles (Anglo-Saxon art, Carolingian art, Coptic art, Early Christian art, Romanesque, Gothic, Insular art, Lombard art, Merovingian art, Ottonian art, and Viking art); ivories, books and illuminated manuscripts, metalwork, architecture, painting, tapestries, sculpture, mosaics, reliquaries, and more.
General Reference Works
Critical reviews of books, exhibitions, and projects in all areas and periods of art history and visual studies. Published by the College Art Association.
Handbooks and Manuals
Offers access to e-books covering subjects from all disciplines across science, technology, and medicine, as well as humanities and social sciences.
ebrary is an ebook platform that hosts a wide variety of titles. To use features such as note taking and highlights, create a Bookshelf account. A few advanced features, including text-to-speech, require you to download the Ebrary reader to view content. Books can be read online, or downloaded for 1-2 weeks. Mobile app is available.
Reference titles from various publishers in many subjects, including art, biography, business, cultural studies, education, the environment, history, religion, science, and social science.
Gateways & Megasites
The Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture collects and creates electronic resources for study and research of the decorative arts, with a particular focus on Early America. Included are electronic texts and facsimiles, image databases, and Web resources. Made possible by the Chipstone Foundation, the project is produced at the University of Wisconsin Madison General Library System.
This website will connect to the art research tools available online at the Getty Research Institute, including the Union List of Artists Names (ULAN), the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT), the Photo Study Collection, and the Getty's own extensive library collection.
The Fine Arts Collection is one of the nation's oldest and largest public art collections. It consists of mural and easel paintings, sculptures, architectural and environmental artworks, as well as prints and other works on paper dating from the 1850s to the present. These civic artworks are displayed in federal buildings and courthouses nationwide. In addition, more than 23,000 easel paintings, prints, and small-scale sculptures created during the New Deal are on long-term loan to museums and other non-profit institutions across the United States. Maintained by GSA as a part of America's national and cultural heritage, the Fine Arts Collection also serves as a reminder of the important tradition of individual creative expression.
ARTstor is a cross-disciplinary image database. It offers collections of approximately 300,000 art images and descriptive information covering art, architecture and archeology. ARTstor's accompanying software tools will support a wide range of pedagogical and research uses including: viewing and analyzing images through features such as zooming and panning, saving groups of images online for personal or shared uses, and creating and delivering presentations both online and offline.
OCLC's Catalog of Art Museum Images Online offers art images that are rights-cleared for educational use. CAMIO is a growing online collection documenting works of art from around the world, representing the collections of prominent museums. CAMIO highlights the creative output of cultures around the world, from prehistoric to contemporary times, and covering the complete range of expressive forms. Includes about 95,000 art images"”photographs, paintings, sculpture, decorative and utilitarian objects, prints, drawings and watercolors, jewelry and costumes, textiles and architecture"”plus audio, video and mixed media. CAMIO is licensed for use by students, faculty, and researchers at subscribing institutions. Works of art may be used for educational and research purposes during the term of the subscription, if they are properly credited. Images may not be published or otherwise distributed.
Images from Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts makes thousands of digital images from the Pierpont Morgan Library's collections and enhances the use of The Index of Christian Art, the world's largest archive of medieval art and the most comprehensive database for Christian iconography.
"The Digital Content Library (DCL) is a combined resource of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and the College of Design (CDes). Together, there are almost 200,000 learning objects from many different disciplines in image, video, and audio formats. These objects come from a variety of sources including purchased and licensed, donations, and copystand photography."
High-resolution images of selected works from 16 museums around the world, including Gemaldegalerie, Berlin; National Gallery, London; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Versailles; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Uffizi, Florence; Museum Kampa, Prague; and more... Gallery and street views, Explore the Museum feature, videos
Videos and Films
Created by P.B.S., this Web site is patterned after a nationally broadcast series on contemporary art, artists, and ideas. Among other things, this site has an online lesson library, teacher materials and discussions. Full episodes are available in the PBS video portal.
The Moving Image Archive within the Internet Archive provides access to nearly a quarter million films, uploaded by Archive users, and ranging from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Videos in the Archive are organized into 15 broad sub-categories: Animation and Cartoons, Arts & Music, Computers & Technology, Cultural & Academic Films, Ephemeral Films, Home Movies, Movies, News & Public Affairs, Open Source Movies, Spirituality & Religion, Sports Videos, Video Games, Vlogs, and Youth Media. The Archive also contains the Prelinger Archive, the most complete and varied collection of ephemeral films (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) in existence.
Periodical and Newspaper subscriptions
Electronic Journal Collections
Index to full-text collection of journals in literary theory, classics, history and cultural studies, philosophy, film, theater and performing arts, political science, and mathematics. From Johns Hopkins University Press. The full text of a limited number of individual monographs is also available for titles that the Libraries have purchased. Users can limit their search results to include only the full text content that the University of Minnesota has access to.
A collection of journals that have been digitised and available free to access on the Internet with a focus on digitised art, architecture, design and craft journals that have originally been published in print format. Click on the title to search.
Electronic Journal Titles
Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide is the world's first scholarly, refereed e-journal devoted to the study of nineteenth-century painting, sculpture, graphic arts, photography, architecture, and decorative arts across the globe. The chronological scope of the journal is the "long" nineteenth century, stretching from the American and French Revolutions, at one end, to the outbreak of World War I, at the other.
Primary Source Materials
ArchiveGrid provides detailed information about archival, museum, library, and other special collections of historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and other archival materials, primarily in the United States. ArchiveGrid is not a full-text archive, but it provides sophisticated search functions for locating archives and contacting these institutions.
Guide on how to use Archives & Special Collections at the University of Minnesota Libraries. Including general information about how to conduct research using primary materials.
NYPL Digital Collections provides access to over 600,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library.
Search some 3,400 finding aids to collections of archival material at the University of Minnesota Archives and Special Collections. A finding aid is a guide and inventory list to a collection of archival materials, personal papers, or manuscripts. For more information about this resource, please see the Finding Aid FAQ or contact the Libraries.
Societies, Agencies, and Organizations
Official Agency & Organization Websites
Trade & Professional Associations
"Founded in 1906, the American Association of Museums (AAM) is dedicated to promoting excellence within the museum community. Through advocacy, professional education, information exchange, accreditation, and guidance on current professional standards of performance, AAM assists museum staff, boards, and volunteers across the country to better serve the public."
Style Manuals and Writing Guides
Background on several citation managers, which are software packages used to create personalized databases of citation information and notes.
RefWorks is a web-based citation manager that allows you to create your own databases of citations by importing references from MNCAT and other databases, and then in seconds automatically generate bibliographies in all major styles (MLA, APA, Turabian, Chicago, etc.).
The standard work and most comprehensive of the style manuals. All chapters are written for the electronic age, with advice on how to prepare and edit manuscripts online, handle copyright and permissions issues raised by new technologies, use the latest methods of preparing mathematical copy, and cite electronic and online sources.
University of Minnesota
Related U of M Web Sites
This tumblr highlights selections from the Gorman Rare Art Book Collection. This collection is located in the James Ford Bell Library, Wilson Library, 4th floor.