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Art & Art History

Pertains to the study and creation of fine art and architecture.

Research Tools

Where to Search for Books

Method What's there Why use it
IUCAT Books, journals, maps, etc. already at IU (both physical copies and e-resources)  Covers most topics, materials often immediately available
Worldcat Books, journals, maps, etc. that may or may not be at IU Covers all topics, can find material regardless whether IU happens to own it
Interlibrary Loan Use this service to order materials that are unavailable at IU (either because IU doesn't own it or it is checked out) Use alongside Worldcat or when you don't find a book, journal, etc. in IUCAT
Google Books Books and journals that Google has scanned from many Library collections. Many items are available only in preview or snippet view. Ideal for journals and books in the public domain (usually published before 1923). Preview can help locate particularly useful sections.
Hathitrust Scanned books and journals, often the same materials as Google Books Navigation is often more cumbersome than Google Books, but locating specific journal issues is often easier

What Expert Researchers Know

Type of Book How to Use These Books
Exhibition Catalogues

These titles document museum and gallery shows; are often the best source for high-quality images; and usually include artist biographies, curatorial essays, artist interviews and/or writings, and career chronologies. Use the term "Exhibitions" as part of your keyword or subject search in IUCAT.

Monographs These are books by or about artists published independent of any exhibition. Usually, these are in-depth writings that analyze or provide context for an artist and his/her work. Look for words like "Criticism and Interpretation" in the subject heading of a book. Search in IUCAT using "criticism" or "analysis" as keywords.
Catalogues Raisonné The catalogue raisonné is an important tool for provenance research and for establishing the oeuvre of an artist; it normally contains provenance for each version of a work of art. Each work is pictured, with scholarly opinions, provenance, literature about the work, and sales information (when known). Search this Catalogues Raisonnés resource from the International Federation for Art Research to locate published and forthcoming titles.  Use IUCAT to locate catalogues raisonné in IU Libraries


Here are the top six recommended article databases for art and art history research.  For further options, look at the Specialized Databases page.  Articles may be published by scholarly journals, magazines, or newspapers.  In addition to news and criticism, you can find exhibition reviews and artists interviews in these articles.

Scholarly journals, including those that publish peer-reviewed articles, are a major source of scholarly communication about art and art history.  

Use the checkbox in these databases to limit your search results to only scholarly articles or peer-reviewed articles.

The databases below provide a wide variety of image of visual artworks.  Printed books are often the best source of images, when looking for a specific artwork; use IUCAT to look for books about the artist or artistic movement. Find directions for citing images in the Image Citation: Formats and Best Practices guide.

The following databases provide streaming films.  

In general, start your search in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. If you are looking for an IU dissertation and cannot find it in ProQuest, search IUCAT. If it is not in IUCAT, search WorldCat.

For search tips, visit the IU Libraries' guide to Finding Dissertations & Theses.

Looking for examples of IU MFA theses, including accompanying images?  Email with your request.

Searching archival collections is generally facilitated through finding aids or guides, often available through a repository's website.

The resources below can also help you locate collections, and their finding aids, guides, and inventories.

Auction Databases

Provenance Databases