Category Archives: Research Services

Fine Arts Databases from Proquest at Avery Library

Proquest logoProquest Research Databases (for Columbia University affiliates, or visitors to the library) contain periodical indexes useful to Art Historians. The search entry titled The ARTS includes cross-searching of 24 databases. You can view and change the databases searched by clicking on the “24 databases” tab at top.

artbibliographies_small1. ARTBibliographies Modern (ABM): This database is the only specialist bibliography available for the study of modern and contemporary art. Covers all art forms, including fine art, digital art, crafts, design and photography. Features full abstracts and indexing from art journals published from the late 1960s onwards. Also incorporates book records, including those drawn from the collections of the Tate Library and the Bibliothèque Dominique Bozo, Musée LAM.

iba_small2. International Bibliography of Art (IBA): The definitive resource for scholarly literature on Western art, IBA is the successor to the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA), and retains the editorial policies which made BHA one of the most trusted and frequently consulted sources in the field. The database includes records created by the Getty Research Institute in 2008-09, with new records created by ProQuest using the same thesaurus and authority files.

daai_small3. Design and Applied Arts Index (DAAI): This database is the premier source of information for all aspects of design and crafts, from textiles and ceramics to vehicle design, advertising and sustainability. Covers journal articles, exhibition reviews and news items from 1973 to the present.


vogue_small4. The Vogue Archive: A complete searchable archive of American Vogue, from the first issue in 1892 to the current month, reproduced in high-resolution color page images. Every page, advertisement, cover and fold-out has been included, with rich indexing enabling you to find images by garment type, designer and brand names. The Vogue Archive preserves the work of the world’s greatest fashion designers, stylists and photographers and is a unique record of American and international fashion, culture and society from the dawn of the modern era to the present day.

Anniversary-logo-WEB--25. Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals: This database is a comprehensive listing of journal articles on architecture, interior design, historic preservation, landscape architecture and urban planning since 1934 with citations to select 19th century periodicals.



There are other Proquest databases such as Arts & Humanities Full Text, Proquest Historical Newspapers Full Text, Proquest Central and Proquest Dissertations & Theses which may also have relevant information for an art historian.

Fine Arts Databases from Ebsco at Avery Library

logoEhostEBSCOHost Research Databases (for Columbia University affiliates, or visitors to the library) contain periodical indexes useful to Art Historians.

To access this conglomerated resource, get into CLIO, type “ebscohost research databases” and click on the first URL found under the CATALOG section. Once in, click on the words “CHOOSE DATABASES,” deselect all (unless you are performing unique term searches), then select the individual indexes that look appropriate—a sample of which are listed below. If you drag your mouse over the sheet of paper icon to the right of each index title, it will tell you about the index. Soon you’ll get to know which ones are important for you.

Art source1. Art Source:
The long standard Art History index Wilson’s Art Index,  is now sold through EBSCO,  has merged with EBSCO’s Art & Architecture Complete, which has been renamed Art Source.  It covers literature from the late 1920s to date.


Index19thCenturyAmerican_Masthead_Web2. Index to 19th-Century American Art Periodicals:
An index of articles to 42 American art journals published between 1800-1899.


Anniversary-logo-WEB3. Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals:
The standard architectural periodical index created at Avery Library covering articles in architectural journals in all European languages, as well as some non-Roman languages from the 19th century to date.


Frick_thumbnail_100x1004. Frick Art Reference Library Periodicals Index:
An index created by the Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection in New York, it indexes art history periodicals written in English, French, Italian, German, Russian, Spanish, Dutch, and Scandinavian from the mid-19th century until the middle of the 1960s.

NOTE:  EBSCO offers many other indexes that may prove useful to an art historian, such as: Alternative Press Index and its Archive, FRANCIS, Index to Jewish Periodicals, MLA International Bibliography, and many more.


Auction catalog databases are essential in Museum Libraries, but in fact, they can be critical for Art Historical researchers as well.  We now have two new databases that might be good tools for our researchers:

OCLC logoSCIPIO  : art and rare books sales/auction catalogs:

This database provides bibliographic access to art auction and rare book sales catalogs from all major North American and European auction houses as well as private sales, from the late sixteenth century to scheduled auctions not yet held.   It is a valuable source of information on the provenance of art objects and rare books, the history of collection, and contemporary and historical mark et trends. Records include the dates and places of sales, the auction houses, sellers, institutional holdings, and titles of works.  SCIPIO is available only on the OCLC® FirstSearch® service.

Ask Art logoAskART:

AskART is an online database containing over 270,000 artists. The focus was on American artists from the early 16th-Century through the present, but beginning in January of 2007 the database was expanded to include international artists’ auction records.


*For access to these you must be a Columbia University affiliate, or you must access them using a Columbia University Library computer.

New Multimedia Architecture Resource

on architectureOn Architecture is an online audiovisual service providing a detailed panorama of the world’s main authors, works, experiences related to the field of architecture. The collection features original videos, such as interviews, buildings and installations, all of this enriched with a selection of complementary material about the main authors and figures of contemporary architecture.

Once you have explored On Architecture, try Pidgeon Digital. This resource is an audiovisual collection of illustrated talks by architects and related designers.

Cabinets of Curiosities

When Europeans became intrigued by the exotic in the sixteenth century, they began building systematic, even obsessive compulsive collections of natural, unusual, or rare artefacts gathered from all over the world.    Known as Wunderkammer or Cabinets of Curiosities, these collections became increasingly popular over the next several centuries, yielding insights into the attitudes of collectors about the exotic and the primitive.  Cabinets of curiosities assembled in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries still hold a fascination for contemporary scholars and viewers.  Today artists incorporate the concept in their own works.  See, for example, Orhan Pamuk’s catalog of his Museum of Innocence, the catalog on Oskar Kokoschka’s own Wunderkammer, and Daniel Spoerri’s creation of a Wunderkammer for a museum exhibition.  Most recently, museum and interior designers have begun assembling their own cabinets of curiosities as described in the article by Barrett and the book by Davenne.

Author:   Seba, Albertus, 1665-1736.
Uniform Title: Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri.
Title: Cabinet of natural curiosities : locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri 1734-1765 : based on the copy in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague .
Publisher/ Date:  Köln ; London : Taschen, c2001.
Avery-LC  QH41 .S42 2001g F
     Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities is one of the eighteenth century’s greatest natural history achievements and remains a celebrated natural history book today. Amsterdam-based pharmacist Seba (1665-1736) was unrivaled in his passion for assembling a collection of animals, plants, and insects from around the world.  His collection brought him international fame during his lifetime.  In 1731, after decades of collecting, Seba commissioned illustrations of every specimen and arranged for the publication of a four-volume catalog of strange and exotic plants, snakes, frogs, crocodiles, shellfish, corals, birds, and butterflies, as well as fantastic beasts, such as a hydra and a dragon.  His scenic illustrations, often mixing plants and animals in a single plate, were unusual even for the time. The more peculiar creatures from the collection–some of them now extinct–were as curious in Seba’s day as they are today.  (Revised from publisher’s description)


Author: Bessler, Gabriele.
Title: Wunderkammern : Weltmodelle von der Renaissance bis zur Kunst der Gegenwart.
Publisher/ Date: Berlin : Dietrich Reimer Verlag, c2009.
Offsite <Fine Arts> AM221 .W86 2009g

Wunderkammern illustrates cabinets of curiosity from the eighteenth century to today. Author Gabriele Bessler analyzes the historical phenomenon and shows how contemporary artists have responded to it with new configurations.  Wunderkammern were both gathering places and a forum for attempting to decipher the secrets of nature.   Regarding the Wunderkammer as a phenomenon of perception, Bessler discusses contemporary installations and environments through the work of Joseph Cornell, Joseph Beuys, Andrea Zittel and Olafur Elisasson , as well as the detailed documentation of the Stuttgart exhibition series "Art Space Wunderkammer."  The appendix provides an overview of the major German cabinets of curiosities that have been preserved or reconstructed. (Revised from publisher’s description)


Title:  La licorne et le bézoard : une histoire des cabinets de curiosités / [commissariat, Anne Benéteau]. 
Publisher/ Date:  Montreuil : Gourcuff Gradenigo, c2013.
Avery-LC: AM342 .L53 2013g
    Published on the occasion of an exhibition held in Poitiers, Sainte -Croix Museum and Espace Mendes in France , this book offers a survey of cabinets of curiosities in Europe from the sixteenth century to their incarnations today.  Abundantly illustrated with exceptional loans from major European cabinets including Ambras Castle in Austria, the Aldrovandi collections in Bologna, and others held in French museums.    (Revised from publisher’s description)

Uniform Title: Kunstkammer, Laboratorium, Bühne. English.
Title: Collection, laboratory, theater : scenes of knowledge in the 17th century / edited by Helmar Schramm, Ludger Schwarte, Jan Lazardzig.
Published: Berlin ; New York : W. de Gruyter, c2005.
Avery AA510 K966
    This volume examines the role of space in the construction of knowledge in the early modern age. Wunderkammern, laboratories and stages arose in the seventeenth century as instruments of research and representation.   The book considers the institutional framework of these spaces and their placement within the history of ideas, their architectural models and the modular differentiations, and the scientific consequences of particular design decisions.  This volume is the English translation of Kunstkammer, Laboratorium, Bühne (de Gruyter, Berlin, 2003). (Revised from publisher’s description)

Title:  Rooms of wonder : from Wunderkammer to museum, 1599-1899 : an exhibition at the Grolier Club, 5 December 2012-2 February 2013 / curated by Florence Fearrington.
Publisher/ Date:  New York : Grolier Club, 2012, c2013.
Avery-LC : AM221 .R66 2012g
    Published to accompany the exhibition "Rooms of Wonder: from Wunderkammer to Museum, 1599-1899," this volume focuses on the beautiful and elaborately illustrated catalogues produced by collectors over three hundred years to celebrate their "cabinets of curiosities." (Revised from publisher’s description)

Title: Oskar Kokoschka : Wunderkammer = Cabinet de curiosites / Roland Scotti, Regine Bonnefoit. Publisher/Date:  Appenzell : Stiftung Liner Appenzell ; Göttingen : Steidl, c2010.
Avery-LC N6811.5 .K59 A4 2010g
    Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980), created his own Wunderkammer in his home.  His cabinet contained artistic and natural objects such as Greek vases, ancient fragments, Byzantine, Asian, Indian and African valuables, engravings, devotional objects, minerals, shells, jewelry, dried plants and fossils. They served Kokoschka as a source of inspiration and often appear in his paintings, watercolors, drawings and lithographs.  (Revised from publisher’s description)


Author:  Spoerri, Daniel, 1930-
Title:  Daniel Spoerri : Historia Rerum Rariorum.
Publisher/ Date:  Flensburg : Museumsberg ; Bielefeld : Kerber, 2013.
Avery-LC: N7153 .S66 A4 2013h
    Daniel Spoerri transformed the Heinrich-Sauermann-Haus on Flensburg’s Museumsberg into his own personal Wunderkammer.  The title of this show and catalogue, ’Historia Rerum Rariorum’, is derived from typical seventeenth-century Wunderkammer.  It brings together a selection of Spoerri’s works from the past two decades with a number of more recent pieces.  (Revised from publisher’s description)

Author:  Pamuk, Orhan.
Title: The innocence of objects.
Publisher/ Date:  New York : Abrams, 2012.
Avery-LC : DR739.M37 P36 2012
    This catalog represents decades of omnivorous collecting by author Orhan Pamuk.  The Museum of Innocence in Istanbul uses his novel of lost love, The Museum of Innocence, as a departure point to explore the city of his youth.  In the catalog of this remarkable museum, he writes about things that matter deeply to him: the psychology of the collector, the meaning of the museum, the photography of  twentieth century Istanbul (illustrated with Pamuk’s superb collection of haunting photographs and movie stills), and of course the customs and traditions of his beloved city.  The book’s imagery is equally evocative, ranging from the ephemera of everyday life to the superb photographs of Turkish photographer Ara Güler.  As such, the museum and catalog represent his own personal Wunderkammer.  (Revised from publisher’s description)

Author: Barrett, Katy.
Article title: A Sense of wonder.
Journal: Apollo. Feb. 2014, p.54-58.
    Museum displays are beginning to show a renewed interest in the Wunderkammer.  By applying the concept of collocating objects in this manner, it allows museum to celebrate their eclectic origins, and it helps to resolve some of the challenges of categorizing contemporary art. (Revised from introductory abstract)

Author: Davenne, Christine.
Uniform Title: Cabinets de curiosités.
Title: Cabinets of wonder.
Publisher/ Date: New York : Abrams, 2012.
Avery-LC :  AM342 .D3713 2012
    Skulls, butterflies, hunting trophies, ancient Egyptian artifacts, the alleged skeletons of mythological creatures, and many other mysterious oddities fill cabinets of wonder. A centuries-old tradition developed in Europe during the Renaissance, cabinets of wonder are once again in fashion. Shops, restaurants, and private residences echo these cabinets in their interior design by making use of the eclectic vintage objects commonly featured in such collections. Cabinets of Wonder showcases exceptional collections in homes and museums with more than 180 photographs, while also explaining the history behind the tradition, the best-known collections, and the types of objects typically displayed. Offering a historical overview and a look into contemporary interior design, this extravagantly illustrated book celebrates the wonderfully odd world of cabinets of wonder. (Revised from publisher’s description)

Featured Research Resource: International Bibliography of Art (IBA)

If you are in search of scholarly publications that cover the global region and span the of subject Fine Arts and Architecture,
ProQuest's International Bibliography of Art (IBA) is the resource for you. IBA covers
European art from late antiquity to the present, American art from the colonial era to the present, and global art since 1945.

The definitive resource for scholarly literature on Western art, IBA is the successor to the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA), and retains the editorial policies which made BHA one of the most trusted and frequently consulted sources in the field. The database includes records created by the Getty Research Institute, with records since 2010 created by ProQuest.

Access to IBA is through the Columbia University Libraries homepage. It can be located by clicking on the Quicksearch drop down menu either through Catalog or Databases. This resource is available only to current faculty, staff and students of Columbia University.

On the Basic Search page, I am given the ability to enter a key term in the search field. If I wanted the opportunity to do a more in-depth search, I would instead choose the Advanced Search page. On the Advanced Search page, I am given multiple fields for key terms and search options including publication date, language, and document (article, review of book, journal, etc…) that will allow me to narrow my results and obtain what I am specifically looking for.

If I wanted to find out more about a Renaissance artist and their medium of art, for example if Titian (Tiziano Vecelli in Italian) produced any etchings, I could enter 'Titian' in the first search field and 'etchings' in the second field. You may also use the drop down menu on the right-hand side and click on the 'Subject Heading (all)' option next to 'Titian.' This selection will help give you results that have 'Titian' in the subject. 



Another possible subject you may want to explore is the German architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the Bauhaus movement with which he was involved.  I would start my search by entering 'Mies van der Rohe' and 'Bauhaus' in two separate boxes (or fields) within the Advanced Search page. You may click on the drop down menu to the right of the field where you entered the architect's name and choose the 'Subject Heading (all)' option. This will limit your results to only include the architect as your subject in your results.


As the scope of content is wide, I have to keep in mind that IBA is a bibliographic index. Some documents will be available to me in full-text because they are licensed to Columbia. If I find that a document is not available to me in full-text, the resource will provide me a citation that lists the basic bibliography of the work (author, date, publisher) along with a possible abstract of the document, and a link that will lead me to the full-text version of that document. Links to full-text documents will mean that I am sent from the IBA website to Columbia's online catalog. The online catalog will tell me whether or not I have access to the document, and where else I am able to access the document if it is not available through Columbia. I understand that there are multiple resources (or as us in the library world like to call them "databases") at a student's disposal when it comes to retrieving documents or articles related to art, but if you are looking for that one extra article you think will help with your research, try ProQuest's IBA as I am sure you will be pleased with your results.

–by Erin Noto, Avery Library intern; Pratt Institute, MSLIS 2014



Open Access Week: October 22-28

Open Access Week is a global event promoting the opportunity for academic communities to continue to share the results of their research and scholarship. It runs October 22-28, 2012.

Columbia University Libraries and the Scholarly Communication Program are pleased to host three events promoting open access and its benefits this week!

Monday October 22, 1:00 pm – Butler Library, Room 523 Your Dissertation: What You Need to Know About Copyright and Electronic Filing This event is free and open to Columbia students, faculty, and staff. Students at the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) must file their dissertations electronically, and a copy of each dissertation will be deposited in Columbia's online repository Academic Commons. This new requirement may change the way you prepare your dissertation for filing. Learn important information about using copyrighted materials in your dissertation, and depositing your work in Academic Commons. Bring your questions! Speakers: Kenneth Crews, Columbia Copyright Advisory Office Rob Hilliker, Academic Commons Manager

Tuesday October 23, 11:00 am – Butler Library, Room 523 – Bountiful Harvest? Collection-building Opportunities With Open Access This event is free and open to the public. How is open access changing the way libraries build their collections? Has it caused greater shifts in opportunities in the sciences or humanities? What are the most pressing challenges it presents? Join Columbia’s Scholarly Communication Program for a lively debate on how librarians can support open access and use it to enrich the collections and services they offer. Panelists: Matthew Baker, Collection Services Librarian, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary Pamela Graham, Director of Global Studies and Director, Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research, Columbia University Libraries/Information Services Megan Wacha, Research and Instruction Librarian for Media and the Performing Arts, Barnard College

Wednesday October 24, 2:30 pm – Butler Library, Room 523 Webcast Screening: Open Access and Your Publications – What’s Copyright Got To Do With It? The screening is open to Columbia students, faculty, and staff. Join us for our webcast screening of an American Library Association (ALA) webinar with Kenneth Crews, director of Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office. For librarians, researchers and many other library users, the open access movement has enabled easy and reliable access to a wide range of new publications.  However, the success of open access hinges on the terms in the agreements between authors and publishers. The copyright language that spells out whether the public will have access to specific material might be buried in a cryptic, pro forma email attachment or even a click-through agreement. Don’t let your materials stay hidden under a rock—facilitate access by learning to be proactive with the expert advice of copyright authority Kenneth D. Crews. This is the second of a series of occasional ALA webinars called “Crews on Copyright”. (NB: These events are also listed on the Scholarly Communication Program website here, and the Open Access Week 2012 website here.)

Enter to win a Kindle Fire!

Enter our IM/text a Librarian poster contest and win a Kindle Fire!

Design a poster about the Libraries’ IM/text a Librarian service! The poster content will also be used as an ad in the Spectator appearing in November!

The best one will win a Kindle Fire. Up to ten other contestants will win an awesome, library approved water bottle!

Deadline is October 15! More information about contest details and how to submit.

Sponsored by Columbia University Libraries!



Please check out our online calendar for our Spring hours.

We welcome Cathryn Miller, a student at the Rutgers Library School, who will be handling Saturday reference hours from 1-5 pm. She will begin on Sat. Jan. 28. There will be no "in-person" reference on Jan. 21.

On Sundays we are switching to online reference assistance ("Ask A Librarian") Or, please email your reference queries to us.

Good luck during the new semester! 

Avery Library open on MLK


Please note that Avery Library will be open on Monday, January 16th with the following exceptions:
Avery Classics, Drawings & Archives, Art Properties, Avery Index and Bibliographic Services will be closed.

We will operate with minimal public service staff levels to accommodate researchers for the day.

See our hours.