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Databases A-Z

Unless otherwise noted, these resources are available at the Art Institute of Chicago, the SAIC campus, or from other locations with an ARTIC username and password.

A freely-available, comprehensive database of over 100,000 abstracts of literature related to the preservation and conservation of material cultural heritage.

Types of material covered: Journal articles and conference proceedings
Dates covered: 1932 to the present

Indexes scholarly and trade articles, many full text, in all academic subjects including: arts & literature, humanities, social sciences, education, computer sciences, language and linguistics, medical sciences, ethnic studies and more.

Types of material covered: Journal articles only.
Dates covered: 1975 to the present.

This international biographical database of artists contains more than a million artist entries. The database covers painters, graphic designers, sculptors, architects, designers, photographers, calligraphers, craftsmen and many more.

Types of material covered: Biographical information on artists

Provides bibliographic access to over 2,000 international, state and local history journals covering the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. For coverage of world history, excluding the United States and Canada, use Historical Abstracts.

Types of material covered: Journal articles, book reviews, and dissertations.
Dates covered: 1964 to the present.

Contains more than 1,100 historically-significant periodicals published between 1740 and 1900, including special interest and general magazines. Everything is available in full text.

Types of material covered: Full text American historical periodicals
Dates covered: 1740-1900

The largest collection of family history records on the web. 

Types of material covered: Vital records, newspaper articles, and reference publications.
Access note: Reference desk access only.

Combines Anthropological Literature, the citation database of Harvard University's Tozzer Library, with the British Museum's Anthropological Index, providing access to over 2,500 journals and edited works. Useful for African and Native American art.

Types of material covered: Journals, edited works, and monographic series.
Dates covered: Selected late 19th century literature to the present.

This union catalog of archival collections is a combination of nearly a million descriptive records for individual collections and the full text of over 48,000 finding aids (detailed collection guides or inventories) from international libraries and archives.

Types of material covered: Includes materials from the Medieval and Renaissance eras to the current day.

The image colleciton contains over 8,000 photographs, sketches, letters, and other documents that have been scanned and individually described.

Access note: Free access. Available to everyone.

The Courtauld Institute of Art provides a searchable database of over 40,000 images from the Courtauld, the Conway Library, and independent photographers. 

Access note: Free access. Available to everyone.

Provides citations, abstracts, and selected full-text coverage to a wide range of international art journals, giving general coverage of most art topics and periods. In addition, it indexes reproductions of artwork that appear in indexed periodicals.

Types of material covered: Journal articles only.
Dates covered: Indexing coverage begins September 1984; abstracting coverage begins January 1994. Selected full-text coverage begins 1997.

Art Institute Publications

Full text of periodicals and exhibition catalogs published by the museum.

Provides citations and some abstracts for a wide range of international art journals, giving general coverage of most art topics and periods.

Types of material covered: Journal Articles
Dates covered: 1929-1984

Digitized copies of selected art sales catalogues from 1600-1900. Art Sales Catalogues also includes the complete Lugt's Répertoire online database.

Types of material covered: PDFs of more than 27,000 art sales catalogues
Dates covered: 1600-1900

Provides access to over 3.5 million entries for fine art sold at auction. Items qualify for entry when they exceed a certain starting price. "Bought-in" works are only included starting in 2008.

Types of material covered: Auction activity for houses covered.
Dates covered: Includes current coverage of many auction houses but also historical coverage of Christie's London (going back to 1920) and Sotheby's London (going back to 1946).
Access note: Free access, but requies registration.

An online dictionary of artist signatures, which includes photographs of signatures from works of art. Through a unique partnership with police authorities around the world Art Signature Dictionary also is the world's only database of art forgery. Also includes biographies for some artists. Free access to signatures and biographies; auction results require a subscription.

Access note: Free access. Available to everyone.

A comprehensive survey of current publications in the fields of visual and applied arts; includes the indexes ARTbibliographies Modern (covering modern and contemporary art), Design and Applied Arts Index (for all aspects of design and crafts) and the International Bibliography of Art (covering scholarship on Western art history), together with a complementary collection of current full-text journals, Arts and Humanities Full Text. 

Types of material covered: Books, dissertations, exhibition catalogs, essays within collected works, and articles from current journals.
Dates covered: 1974 to present.

Provides annotated citations on modern and contemporary art from the 19th century to the present, including photography, performance art and installation works, video art, computer and electronic art, body art, artists' books, jewelry, as well as the traditional fine arts of painting, printmaking, sculpture, and drawing.

Types of material covered: Books, dissertations, exhibition catalogs, essays within collected works, and articles from current journals.
Dates covered: 1974 to the present.

Allows one to see hand-copied signatures by artist name or do reverse look-ups by initials or monograms. Incorporates the contents of all 10 of John Castagno's signature books as well as additional corrections and unprinted research.

Types of material covered: Artists' signatures
Dates covered: Provides signatures for artists working from 1400 to the present. International in scope.

Contains over 2 million illustrated fine art auction records from more than 500 major auction houses. The database excludes works that fail to meet certain attribution and price criteria, i.e., single prints, photographs, posters, books, and ceramics with a low estimate below $300.00; artists with a qualified name. e.g. after, attributed to, circle of, school of, studio of, etc.

Types of material covered: Auction activity for houses covered.
Dates covered: Works meeting attribution and price criteria since 1987, with some entries dating back to 1985.
Access note: On-campus access only.

Contains over 4 million auction entries from over 2,900 auction houses worldwide. The database includes all auction listings regardless of attribution and price.

Types of material covered: Auction activity for houses covered.
Dates covered: Sales back to 1987.
Access note: Reference desk access only.

Covers more than 100 journals and yearbooks, including important titles that have not been indexed or abstracted before. It provides information about more than 8,000 designers and design-related organizations that were influential in the 20th century world of design, including over 1,000 female designers.

Types of material covered: Profiles of designers and design organizations
Dates covered: 1894-1986

Allows user to search across three major art, architecture, and design databases resources: Arts+Architecture ProFiles (biograpical dictionary of designers, craftspeople, artists, and architects), Design Abstracts Retrospective, and Designinform ReView (19th and 20th century art journals).

Dates covered: 19th and 20th century

Includes an Image Gallery, a growing survey of major works of art, as well as specialized image collections such as The Illustrated Bartsch and the Digital Design Collection from the Museum of Modern Art's Department of Architecture and Design.

Types of material covered: Images of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts from around the world.
Dates covered: Art from all eras.
Technical tip: ARTstor works best with the Safari browser.

Provides biographical and professional data on over 120,000 American artists from the early 16th century through the present.

Types of material covered: Images, biographies, and auction records

An index to journal articles on architectural design, history and practice, landscape architecture, historic preservation, interior design, and urban planning. More than 2,800 current and ceased US and foreign journal titles are indexed. In 2004 journal citations from the 10 volume Burnham Index to Architectural Literature were added. Monographic, AIC scrapbook, and Burnham Library Architectural Archives microfilm (Microfilm 1973 1) references from the Burnham Index are not included in Avery.

Types of material covered: Journal articles only.
Dates covered: 1930s to the present; selective coverage dating back to the 1860s.