Welcome! This is a selective guide of tools to help you do research in Art.

Art Databases

Journal articles are not listed in QCAT. Use a database to find magazine and journal articles. Articles are important in your research as they contain the most-up-to-date research in a given field and often focus on a particular aspect of a topic. There are different types of articles: scholarly, popular or trade.

Tip: Remember to search journal title and not article title in QCAT

Major Databases for Art, Architecture and Art History

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Publication coverage: 1984 - present
For 1907-1984 coverage see: Art Index Retrospective

Print holdings: Library also has older volumes in print: check QCAT for details.
Abstracts more than 220 journals, yearbooks and museum bulletins.
Publication coverage: 1929 - 1984
Access restricted to the Queen's community (1 user limit)
International index to more than 220 journals, yearbooks and museum bulletins.
Publication coverage: 1974 - present
Indexes and abstracts all forms of modern and contemporary art (including art movements, crafts, design, photography, and traditional media), dating from the late 19th century onward.
Publication coverage: 1934-present (plus selective coverage back to 1741) - updated weekly
Indexes over 700 American and international journals on all aspects of architecture and design.
Comprehensive index to European and American art from late antiquity to the present. Abstracts books, articles, conference proceedings, essays, dissertations, exhibition and dealers’ catalogues. Covers painting, sculpture, drawing, prints, architecture, crafts, decorative, applied, graphic, folk and popular arts.
IBA is the successor to the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA). Includes records created by the Getty Research Institute in 2008-09, with new records created by ProQuest using the same thesaurus and authority files. Abstracts 500+ core journals, monographs, essay collections, conference proceedings and exhibition catalogues. Covers European art since late antiquity; American art since the colonial period; global art since 1945; fine art in all media; decorative arts and antiques; museum studies and conservation; archaeology and material culture; folk art; architectural history.

Major Databases for Art Conservation

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Indexes international literature of conservation and heritage management, offered free by the Getty Institute. Formerly Art & Archaeology Technical Abstracts.
Conservation Information Network's bibliographical database(BCIN)for conservation literature. Includes the Art & Archaeology Technical Abstracts prior to 1998, technical reports, conference proceedings, journal articles, books and audiovisual and unpublished materials.

More Article Indexes and Databases for Art Conservation >>

Other Databases for Art

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Publication coverage: 1975 - present
Indexes scholarly articles on topics, including art.
Publication coverage: Varies with publication
Index to over 700 Canadian journals and newspapers.
Publication coverage: 1972 - present
Useful for feminist perspective in art.
Text and image database of works of art from Princeton University and other institutional and private owners.
Access restricted to the Queen's community (8 user limit)

All Databases for Art >>


To find books and exhibition catalogues on a topic, search QCAT by author, title, subject heading, or keyword.

To find books by a particular author/person, search QCAT by author:
Pollock Griselda
To find books about a particular author/person, search QCAT by subject heading:
Carr Emily
To find books on a topic, use a Keyword Boolean search if you do not know the correct subject heading for a topic, and truncate to the root of a word if useful. Think of the focus (or key) words that describe your topic.
oriental? and art
Select useful titles and look at the Subjects provided on the QCAT records.
Orientalism in art
Examples of subject headings relating to Art:
Anatomy, Artistic
Architecture, Baroque
Art criticism
Decorative arts--Canada
Human figure in art
Installations (art)
Painting, modern--20th century
Plants in art
Textile design
Wood engraving
To find information in particular formats on a topic, look for a subdivision following a subject heading. The subheadings can also be used to combine with keywords in a Keyword Boolean search.
Painters, Italy--Biography
Painting, Baroque--Exhibitions
Painting, Renaissance--Italy--Catalogs
Spencer, Stanley, Sir, 1891-1959--Correspondence

Biographical Dictionaries

Grove Art Online

Web access to The Dictionary of Art (N31 .D5 1996t, 33 vols. Stauffer Library - Compact Shelving). A comprehensive encyclopaedia for the history of the visual arts, including bio-bibliographical information.

Allgemeines Künst[l]erlexikon. Bio-bibliographischer Index A-Z = The artists of the world. Bio-bibliographical index A-Z
N40 .A629 2007 v. 1-12 (Art Collection-non circulating)

Biographies and bibliographies of artists worldwide, from antiquity to today.

Biographical dictionary of women artists in Europe and America since 1850 (Dunford)
N6757 .D86 1990t (SL Reference Collection)

Biographical index of artists in Canada (McMann)
N6548 .M29 2003 (SL Reference Collection; also electronically via QCAT)

Bryan's dictionary of painters and engravers
N40 .B9 1964 (Art Collection non-circulating)

The standard universal English dictionary of artists.

Contemporary artists (Naylor)
N6490 .C6567 1989 (SL Reference Collection; 1977 ed. in Art Collection)

Single volume source on approximately 1700 artists; lists of works; some illustrations.

Contemporary Canadian artists
N6548 .M65 1997t (Art Collection)

Contemporary women artists (Hillstrom)
N8354 .C66 1999 (SL Reference Collection)

Dictionary of Canadian artists (Macdonald)
N6548 .M172. 7 vols. A to F of 5th ed., 1997, more to come. Published 1967-1990. (Art Collection)

Historical and contemporary.

Dictionary of women artists (Gaze)
N8354 .D53 1997 2 vols. (SL Reference Collection)

Dictionary of women artists : an international dictionary of women artists born before 1900 (Petteys)
N43 P47 1985 (Art Collection non-circulating)

Dictionary of women in religious art (Apostolos-Cappadona)
N7793 .W65 A66 1998 (SL Reference Collection)

Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays (Benezit)
N40 .B47 1999 14 vols. (Art Collection non-circulating)

After Thieme-Becker, the most useful dictionary of artists.

Early painters and engravers in Canada (J. Russell Harper)
N6548 .H3 (Art Collection, SL Reference, LP Collection)

First Nations artists in Canada
E98 .A7 A16t 2001 (SL Reference)

International dictionary of art and artists
N31 .I57. 2 vols. 1990 (Art Collection non-circulating)

This work covers the 13th-20th centuries.

Kindlers Malerei Lexicon
ND30 .K54 6 vols. (Art Collection)

Brief biographies of painters; comprehensive; many coloured illustrations.

The new A to Z of Canadian art (B. McKendry)
N6540 .M155 2001 (Art Collection non-circulating)

North American women artists of the twentieth century : a biographical dictionary (Heller)
N6503 .N67 1995 (SL Reference Collection)

Thieme-Becker Kunstlerlexikon
N40 .T43. Published 1907-50. 37 vols. (Art Collection)

Full title is: Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden U. Thieme and F. Becker. International, ancient to modern times. Brief biographies, scholarly, comprehensive, especially good for obscure artists. Lists of artists' works with dates. No illustrations. Supplemented by:

Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Kuenstler des xx. Jahrhunderts (Hans Vollmer)
N40 .V92 1953-62. 6 vols.(Art Collection)

Continues coverage of artists in 20th century.

Le vite de' piu eccellenti pittori, scultori ed architettori ...(Vasari)
N6922 .V3. Several editions; multi-volumes. (Art Collection)

Originally published ca. 1550 and 1568. Includes biographies of Italian Renaissance artists. Italian; English translations.


Grove Art Online

Web access to The Dictionary of Art (N31 .D5 1996t, 33 vols. Stauffer Library - Compact Shelving). A comprehensive encyclopaedia for the history of the visual arts, including bio-bibliographical information.

Enciclopedia dell'arte antica.
N31.E48 9 vols. (Art Collection)

Antiquity, many illustrations.

Encyclopedia of world art.
N31.E567. Published 1958-78. 17 vols.(Art Collection)

International, ancient to modern. Survey articles and bibliographies, scholarly. Many illustrative plates.

N5300.P895. Published 1966-1977. 18 vols. (Art Collection)

International, ancient to modern. Many illustrations.

Historical Surveys

Grove Art Online

Web access to The Dictionary of Art (N31 .D5 1996t, 33 vols. Stauffer Library - Compact Shelving). A comprehensive encyclopaedia for the history of the visual arts worldwide, prehistory to present.

History of art. (Janson)
N5300.J3 various eds. (Art Collection)

Standard art history survey text, overview, well illustrated.

Oxford history of English art.
N6761.O9. 1952-78. 11 vols. (Art Collection)

Each volume covers different period, ancient to modern. Includes bibliographies and illustrations.

Pelican history of art.
Series of volumes, with individual titles and call numbers. Search series title in QCAT and resort by author, title or date (Art Collection)

Each volume covers different period, school of art, from ancient to modern. Includes bibliographies and illustrations.


Index of Christian Art

Important archive of medieval iconography, from Princeton University.

Attributs et symboles dans l'art profane, 1450-1600.
N7740.T4. 1958, 1964 suppl. (Art Collection & SL Reference)

Barockthemen. (Pigler).
N6410.P5. 1956. 2 vols.(Art Collection)

Dictionary of subjects and symbols in art. (Hall)
N7560 .H34 2008. 2nd ed. (Art Collection non-circulating)

Encyclopedia of themes and subjects in painting. (Daniel)
ND1288 .D3. 1971 (SL Reference)

Iconographie de l'art chretien. (Reau)
N7830 .R37 1955-59. 3 vols. (Art Collection)

Iconography of Christian art. (Schiller) 1971-72. vols. 1-2, English translation of Ikonographie der christlichen Kunst.
N7830 .S35I32 (Art Collection)

Well illustrated. Search for vols. 3-5 under German title above or call number N7830 .S35 (Art Collection)

Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie.
BV150.L4 1968-76. 8 vols.(SL Reference)

Signs and symbols in Christian art. (Ferguson)
N7830.F3 (1959 ed. in Art Collection & SL Reference; 1961 ed. in SL Reference)

Websites, Art

Browse our recommended Art websites by topic:

Canadian Art

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)
The AANDC site provides links to its AANDC Art Gallery and the Artist Directory of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit artists.
Canada's online source for visual art information
Art Canada Institute
ACI is a non-profit research organization based at Massey College, University of Toronto. Founded in 2012, its mandate is to promote the study of an inclusive multi-vocal Canadian art history to as broad an audience as possible, in both English and French, within Canada and internationally.
ACI works with leading Canadian art historians, curators, and visual culture experts to create authoritative original content on the people, themes, and topics defining Canadian art history, published freely in Online Art Books
ARTEXTE (Contemporary Art Information Centre)
Established in 1980 to collect and disseminate information on all aspects of contemporary visual art.
Includes the Public Art Database now archived in e-artexte as an HTML file
Artist Run Centres
Eastern Edge Gallery's website providing links to Canadian artist run centres and information for artists
Artists in Canada Visual Arts Directory site dedicated to raising the profile of the visual arts in Canada by maintaining a national directory of internet links to artists, art galleries and art resources by province and city
Canadian Centre for Architecture

Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN)
Includes link to Artefacts Canada
CARFAC (Canadian Artists' Representation/Front des artistes canadiens)

CCCA Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art
Search the Canadian Art database. Includes First Nations and Inuit artists.
Federation of Canadian Artists
Not-for-profit organization, dedicated to the promotion and professional development of artists, and services for art collectors
First Nations Art
An introduction to contemporary native artists in Canada
Images Canada
Hosted by Library and Archives Canada, Images Canada allows users to search images from participating cultural institutions from across Canada.
A service oriented artist collective based in Toronto and Vancouver
Slate: Gallery Guide to Art Exhibitions from Toronto and across Canada
Select group of listings from galleries and museums located across Canada with a concentration on Toronto and Southern Ontario
Women Artists in Canada


Art History Resources on the Web

Maintained by Chris Witcombe, Art History Professor at Sweet Briar College, Virginia. Covers art from antiquity to the present. Contains many images.


Selective art resources on the web, developed by Art librarian, Mary Molinaro. Includes Art and Architecture library and image collections.

art websites

Web site of Mark Hudelson, associate professor of Art History, Palomar College .

Getty Search Gateway

Searches across the Getty's collections, including the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection Database, Getty Research Institute Research Library Catalog, Getty Research Institute Collections Inventories and Finding Aids, and Getty Research Institute Digital Collections.


American Memory : Historical Collections for the National Digital Library

Library of Congress's gateway to primary source materials in over 100 historical collections relating to the history and culture of the United States. Search under Collection Finder: Art and Architecture.

Architecture in the Classical Tradition (ACT)

Created by Pierre du Prey, Professor Emeritus, Queen's University, reflecting over forty years of teaching, photographing, studying, writing about, and helping to preserve our built environment. Contains image database, glossary, and chronological, thematic and theoretical paths.

British Library: Images Online

The Picture Library of the British Library holds over 150 million items including the King's Library, manuscripts, rare books, musical texts, maps, illustrations, drawings, paintings and photographs spanning almost 3000 years

British Library: Online Gallery

30,000 items from the British Library Collection, including Online Exhibitions

Digital Archive of American Architecture

Search principally by architect, building type, century (Prof. Jeffery Howe, Boston College)

Digital Imaging Project

Art historical images of sculpture and architecture from pre-historic to post-modern (Prof. Mary Ann Sullivan, Bluffton University).

Folger Shakespeare Library: Digital Image Collection

High resolution images from books, theater memorabilia, manuscripts, and art to re-use for any purpose provided credit is given to the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source. Direct link to database catalog

Frick Digital Image Archive

The Frick Collection's digital archive

Google Art Project

Google's collaboration with over 250 art institutions to enable the discovery and viewing of tens of thousands of artworks from more than 6,000 artists in high resolution images online

The Great Buildings Collection

Architecture reference site to a thousand buildings, with 3D models, photographic images, architectural drawings, commentaries, bibliographies, timelines and web links. Search by name of building, architect or place.

GRI Digital Collections

The Getty Research Institute Digital Collections

Images Canada

Hosted by Library and Archives Canada, Images Canada allows users to search images from participating cultural institutions from across Canada.

Mapping Gothic France

Project of Dr. Stephen Murray, Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University and Dr. Andrew Tallon, Art, Vassar College, funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. A 3-D database of images, texts, charts and historical maps, to explore Gothic architecture and the formation of France in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Collection Online

Over 400,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain works in the Museum’s collection may be downloaded for non-commercial use.

NGA Images: National Gallery of Art

Repository of more than 43,000 open access digital images from the collections of the National Gallery of Art.

Links to photographic libraries and archive collections worldwide related to all aspects of photography, graphics, fashion, moving images, photo and ad agencies, maps, fine art and clip art photos

V&A Collections

1,146,388 objects and 416,583 images from the V&A's collections

Virtual Museum of Canada's Image Gallery

Images of museum artefacts, photos and paintings, works from the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson, Emily Carr and many other artists. Themes range from art deco, love, canoes, the Trojan War to farms. Each image includes detailed information on the contributing museum and copyright information.

Visual Collections - images of art, history and culture

More than 300,000 images in cartography, fine arts, architecture and photography from over thirty renowned collections

The Walters Art Museum: Online Collection

High-resolution archival images from the collection of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, along with detailed catalog descriptions

Web Gallery of Art

Digital reproductions of European paintings and sculptures created between the years 1100 and 1850

Special Interest Art Websites

Daily Serving
An international publication for contemporary art, including original articles, artist interviews, and reviews.
An international visual art network, established in New York in 1999. Includes links to an Archive of contemporary art exhibitions and to the e-flux online Journal.
Medici Archive Project
Archive of the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany (1537-1743), housed in the Archivio di Stato in Florence, Italy and online database to the historical data in the Medici Granducal Archive
Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide
Refereed e-journal of nineteenth century visual culture: painting, sculpture, graphic arts, photography, architecture, and decorative arts
On-Line Picasso Project
Project of Dr. Enrique Mallen, professor of Hispanic studies at Texas A&M University. Login access may be granted upon request on an individual basis.
The Victorian Web : Literature, history and culture in the age of Victoria
Webmastered by George P. Landow, Professor of English and the History of Art, Emeritus, Brown University. Includes links to The Arts in Victorian Britain
The Vincent van Gogh Gallery
Website by David Brooks, endorsed by the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
William Morris Society Web Site
Site devoted to William Morris (1834-96), British craftsman, designer, writer, typographer, and Socialist. Includes link to the William Morris Society of Canada.

Women and Art

Celebrating Women's Achievements: Arts (Government of Canada archived site)

Biographies of 23 women artists in Canada who have worked in a range of media over the last 150 years


Materials for the Study of Women and Gender in the Ancient World

International Archive of Women in Architecture

Archive to document the history of women's involvement in architecture, primarily before the 1950s

National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington DC)

Only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to recognizing the contributions of women artists.

Varo Registry of Women Artists

Electronic registry of artwork by contemporary international women artists

Women's Art Museum Society of Canada (WAM)

Alberta initiative to safeguard and preserve women’s visual art heritage

World's Women On-Line

Electronic art networking project, originally stemming from UN's Conference on Women, Beijing, China, 1995. Contains Artist Index

Research Strategy for Art

Research Strategy - checklist

  1. Think of keywords or concepts to define your topic.
  2. Find background information by looking up concepts in dictionaries, encyclopaedias, bibliographies, catalogues, etc.
  3. Read Course Reserve material and follow up on references.
  4. Search QCAT by Author, Title, Keyword(s), and Subjects for books, journals, audiovisual materials, exhibition catalogues, theses, conferences, government documents.
  5. Search Art Databases for appropriate journal articles. Check QCAT under Journal Title Exact to see if Queen's has the journal in print or electronically. Follow up on article references.
  6. Search for journal articles in interdisciplinary databases related to your topic. For ex: CBCA for Canadian art coverage, Dissertations and Theses, Gender Studies Database, JSTOR, Project MUSE, etc.
  7. Select and evaluate web resources, many of which have been provided through Art Websites and other QUL web pages.
  8. Analyze, and evaluate your sources, write and edit your paper, and not least, document your sources as you find them in order to compile your bibliography. Begin research early to order necessary articles through Interlibrary Loan (RACER).
  9. Don't forget you can always ask a Subject Liaison Librarian for help.

Find Background Information

For Interpretation, Criticism, and Analysis

Find Exhibition Catalogues

Reviews of Exhibitions

For Information About Artists