Art History Resources: Getting started

Basic sources for researching an art historical topic including finding books, journal articles, biographies, images, and web directories.

KU Library Catalog

KU Catalog Search collections available in all library locations at the Univ. of Kansas

Other Library Catalogs

WorldCat Includes millions of records describing items owned by OCLC member libraries, including the KU Libraries.

Catalog for the Spencer Art Library at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Located in Kansas City, MO, this art research library is open to the public but must be used on-site. The hours are listed on the library website.  

Lawrence Public Library in Lawrence, KS Located at 7th & Vermont, this public library has a good art collection.  


ArtLex: Art Dictionary  Definitions along with thousands of supporting images, pronunciation notes, quotations and cross-references.
Oxford Art Online  Gateway to the Grove Art Online and other Oxford art reference resources with more than 23,000 subject entries, 21,000 biographies, and 40,000 image links.  
Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms   Over 2000 entries covering painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, the decorative, applied and graphic arts from all periods throughout the world up to the present day plus a table of the dynasties of Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, China, India and Japan

Starting Points

Art Full Text Contains indexing and abstracting dating from 1984 for more than 600 periodicals and 13,000 dissertations on the subjects of art, architecture, urban planning, & design; journals are primarily but not exclusively English-language; full-text articles from over 300 journals dating from 1995; also indexes nearly 200,000 art reproductions that appear as illustrations for articles or advertisements. Can be combined with Art Index Retrospective to extend coverage to 1929.

ARTbibliographies Modern Citations and abstracts for 20th and 21st century art and artists plus photography since its invention in 1839; covers journal articles, books, essays, exhibition catalogs, PhD dissertations, and exhibition reviews; coverage from 1974.

Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA), citations with abstracts on a range of art; ceased in 2008.

International Bibliography of Art, coverage begins in 2008 and includes the literature documenting European art from late antiquity, American art from the colonial era, and global art since 1945.

Oxford Art Online An encyclopedia of art information and a good starting point for research.  Allows simultaneous searching of Grove Art Online, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. Content includes biographies, subject entries, bibliographies, images, and learning resources.  Articles are signed by recognized scholars.


Fine Arts & Humanities Librarian

Andi Back's picture
Andi Back
Art & Architecture Library

(785) 864-3020

Web Directories

Websites organized by category and subcategory assembled by specialists in the subject field.  

ART-Guide A collection of Art History Internet Resources from the Univ. of Heidelberg providing access to art history websites, such as subject gateways, image databases, search engines, or mailing lists. The collection covers the full range of European medieval, modern, and contemporary art history, and Aesthetics

Art History Resources on the Web Directory of art history links organized by time period and location. Extensive list of links to museums and galleries section organized by country.

Voice of the Shuttle Directory of websites related to the Humanities with divisions such as Architecture Art (Modern & Contemporary), Art History, etc.

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