Art & Art History Digital Resources: Getting Started

E-books, e-journals, and digital image collections for visual art are increasing in number but can be hard to find. Here are some of those resources.


The intent of this guide is to provide in one location links to some of the "hidden" digital resources for art and art historical research. There are separate tabs for electronic books, for electronic journals, and for digital images and each page has several examples of resources. As additional resources are discovered, more links will be added and suggestions for additional sent to are welcome.


Definition: An electronic book (variously: e-book, eBook, e-Book, ebook, digital book, or even e-edition) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, readable on computers or other electronic devices. Although sometimes defined as "an electronic version of a printed book", many e-books exist without any printed equivalent. Commercially produced and sold e-books are usually intended to be read on dedicated e-book readers, however, almost any sophisticated electronic device that features a controllable viewing screen, including computers, tablet computers, and smartphones can also be used to read e-books. 

Advantages: Thousands of titles can be stored on mobile devises; websites can provide translations unavailable for printed books; e-books can be viewed in low-light and can incorporate motion, sound, enlarged or changed fonts; searching for specific words or concepts can easily be accomplished. Although the mobile devise may be expensive, the cost of an individual e-book is generally less than for a printed version and many older titles are in the public domain and thus free.          

Challenges: Techniques may be used to restrict what the user may do with an e-book. It may not be possible to transfer ownership of an e-book to another person and some devices can track readers and reading habits, restrict printing, or arbitrarily modify or remove reading material.


Definition: Electronic journals (variously: ejournals, e-journals, electronic serials, and online journals) are journals or magazines that can be accessed via electronic transmission to be read on a computer or other devise. Usually, they are a periodical publication containing articles and illustrations, typically covering a particular subject or area of interest. The term includes publications that were previously printed and now are produced digitally, titles that had no paper equivalent but were instead "born-digital", and pdf or html versions of titles that are also produced in paper.

Advantages: E-journals offer a speedy route for publication so news and scholarly content can be shared quickly. They provide concurrent access for multiple users, include full-text searching, multimedia facilities and hypertext links. They require no physical space and are accessibile round the clock across geographical barriers. A subscription to an e-journal will typically include access to all previous issues as well as future issues for the duration of the subscription.

Challenges: E-journals are not always refereed and the potential for plagiarism is increased due to the easy of access and copying. Journals that are converted from paper to online formats may have critical components omitted such as illustrations, book or exhibition reviews, advertisements, and notes about authors.  Converted journals may also substitute black & white images for the color reproductions that appeared in the paper version.

Fine Arts & Humanities Librarian

Andi Back's picture
Andi Back
Art & Architecture Library

(785) 864-3020

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