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This is a general guide to resources for art history research.

Search tips

Before you begin your search, compile a list of potential keywords related to your topic. For example:

  • Artists such as Ed Ruscha or Michelangelo
  • Styles and movements such as Art Deco or the Arts and Crafts Movement
  • Works such as Urban Light or the Sistine Chapel
  • Subject matter such as still life or landscape

Combine keywords using the AND operator to narrow your topic. For example:

  • Los Angeles AND graffiti

Combine keywords with synonyms using OR to broaden your search. For example:

  • Watts Towers OR Towers of Simon Rodia

To search phrases or titles with multiple words, use quotation marks. Putting these terms in quotes means that the words will be searched as a phrase rather than each word separately. For example:

  • "Arts and Crafts Movement"
  • "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"

Finding books in OneSearch

finding books infographic

Finding Books Using OneSearch

You can search for books using Onesearch by typing in the title, author or keywords in the homepage OneSearch form. Once the results page loads, you can use the limiters in the menus under "Refine My Results" to narrow your results. Selecting "books" under "Resource Type" will limit the results to eBooks and print books. For eBooks only, select "Available Online at CSUN" under "Show Only"; for print books only, select "Available at CSUN" under "Show Only." Click the title heading of any given result item to view the full record. In the full record, under "Get It" you'll find the item's location in the Library and its status (available, checked out, request options), and under "View It" the direct link to electronic text, if available. The "Send To" menu offers tools for citing, emailing, or saving a record as a favorite.

Types of Art Publications

Exhibition catalog:

Strictly speaking, an exhibition catalog is a work published to document an exhibition, and includes a list of works exhibited. It may or may not contain additional information, such as illustrations, introductory essays, analyses of the works of art, biographical information on the artists, etc.

(Cataloging Exhibition Publications: Best Practices: Title and Statement of Responsibility)

These can come in a couple of different flavors: solo and group. 

Solo exhibition catalogs focus on the work of a single artist, whereas group exhibition catalogs document an exhibition that features more than one, sometimes several artists.  While group exhibition catalogs may contain valuable information about a single artist, it will not likely be very comprehensive.

Example of a solo exhibition catalog:


Artist monograph:

Book publishers use the term "artist monograph" to indicate books dealing with a single artist, as opposed to broader surveys of art subjects.

(Wikipedia "Monograph")

As the name implies, artist monographs are books about a single artist. They usually highlight the major bodies of work by an artist and often include biographical information and critical essays about the artist.  You may have a more difficult time finding artist monographs about younger or emerging photographers.

Example of an artist monograph:


Catalogue raisonné:

This is a comprehensive, annotated listing of all the known artworks by an artist either in a particular medium or all media. The works are described in such a way that they may be reliably identified by third parties.

(Wikipedia "Catalogue raisonné"

Catalog raisonnés provide the most comprehensive overview of an artist’s body of work because they seek to document every artwork an artist has ever made, either comprehensively or in a specific medium.  For the most part, you will only find catalog raisonnes for very well established artists.

Example of a catalog raisonné:

Call Numbers for Art

Library of Congress Call numbers
N Visual Arts
NA Architecture
NB Sculpture
NC Drawing, Design, Illustration
ND Painting
NE Print Media
NK Decorative Arts

Arts in general (includes works dealing with two or more of the fine arts, i.e. Art & Film, Art & Music, etc.)

Other related call numbers
T 385 Technology (specifically, computer graphics)
TR Photography
TS Manufactured products (industrial design, product design, etc.)
TT Handicrafts, arts and crafts, fashion


Interlibrary Loan

 Interlibrary Loan is a FREE service that allows you to request physical and electronic items (books, articles, etc.) that are not owned by the CSUN Library. 

Submit a request online: Interlibrary Loan Service

For questions: or call (818) 677-2294.

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