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Art and Architecture: Getting started

The Sackler Library is the premier research library for the study of art and architecture at the University of Oxford. It incorporates the libraries formerly housed at the History of Art Department and the Ashmolean Museum.

Useful links

Key resources

Oxford's union catalogue for the holdings of university, departmental and college libraries as well as e-resources available to Oxford researchers.
Union catalogue for the holdings of UK research libraries.
Massive union catalogue of countless libraries worldwide. Useful for finding books and archival materials beyond Oxford.

Online catalogues, citation, full-text & image databases

All-topics searching

Allgemeines Kunstlerlexikon
International Database of Artists Online successor to Thieme-Becker. Information on visual artists from A as in ANDERS A. to Z as in ZZÜRCHER, from the classical era up to the present, and from every country in the world. Covers painters, graphic designers, sculptors, architects, designers, photographers, calligraphers, craftsmen, etc. NOTE: You need to search under the German spelling of the artist – e.g., Tizian, NOT Titian, Dürer, NOT Durer.
Art Full Text (including Art Abstracts)
Covers publications 1984 – present. Abstracts available from 1994. Full text coverage varies with journal title. Wide-ranging index to Western-language journal articles, book reviews and images in mainstream archaeology, architecture, conservation and  "fine" and "decorative" arts periodicals. All geographical areas and all periods (ancient – contemporary).
Union collection of image collections worldwide. Approaching 1,000,000 images covering all periods, all geographic areas and all types of art, architecture and archaeology as well as other subject areas in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Hisitory of Medicine and Science. Contributing collections include libraries, museums and archives, including the Bodleian’s Western Manuscripts and Incunabula collection. All periods, all geographic areas.
Bridgeman Education
300,000+ images of objects from museums, galleries and private collections, as well as buildings and monuments. Images cover visual culture worldwide, from pre-History to the present day. Media covered include photography, fine art, engravings, sculpture, architecture, the decorative arts, artefacts and applied arts. It addresses the interests of such disciplines as art, architecture, archaeology, anthropology, & ethnography, history, science & medicine. All periods, all geographic areas.
Dissertations & Theses Humanities & Social Sciences
Dissertations / theses written for academic institutions in Ireland, North America (Canada & the US), the UK & other countries.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB)
Full-text extended essays not only on British people but also non-Brits. who spent time in the UK. Excellent resource for finding biographical information on artists, art historians, patrons, collectors and dealers. People still alive are excluded.

Oxford Art Online (Oxford-Grove Dictionary of Art)
Full-text extended essays (and bibliographies) on most aspects of the art world. Frequent updates. All geographical areas and all periods.
Smithsonian Institution Collections Search Center (US)
Access to 2 million+ museum, archive, library and research holdings and collections across the Smithsonian's various sub-entities. Includes: Archives of American Art, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Museum of the American Indian, National Portrait Gallery, and Smithsonian American Art Museum.
TLS - Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive
Electronic version of the TLS, 1902-2013.
VADS (Visual Arts Data Service)
Union collection of UK-based image collections (although not all the objects are British). Contributing collections include libraries, museums and archives, including the Bodleian’s John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera. Periods covered: Medieval – Modern.