Pathfinder: Art & Architecture Resources



How to Find Books in the WPCC Library

Clip art of the exterior of a building with columnsUse our library catalog, found at one of our catalog terminals near the library entrance or online here. If you are looking for materials about a particular topic, select “SU (Subject)” from the “Look for” drop-down menu and enter a keyword from your topic.  (If you are looking for a particular artist, type in his or her last name as a subject keyword.)  Try different keywords if your first search does not bring up any relevant results.  You can also enter keywords into the Simple Search, selected from the search  drop-down menu.

There is great value in browsing the shelf area where you have found a relevant book.  Look in the section of the shelves marked “N” to find books specifically about the fine arts.  Within this classification, there are more specific classes for particular areas of study.  NA, for example, is for architecture, and ND is for painting.

Selected Reference Books

  • World History of Architecture (Ref. NA 200 M575 2000)
    Detailed survey of architecture discussed in various contexts – artistic, economic, environmental, political, social and technological.
  • The Architecture of the United States (Ref. NA 705 .S578)
    This is separated into three volumes:  New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, the South and the Midwest, and the Plains states and Far West. With around 20 entries per state, there are approximately 1,000 entries, each with a page or two and usually a black and white photograph. Almost all of the sites listed are open to the public.
  • The Color Encyclopedia of World Art (Ref. N 31 .J32)
    This work is like the Encyclopedia of Visual Art, but it has shorter entries and illustrations of a superior quality. It is designed for the layman, not a specialist or scholar, and it should be noted that it is by a single author, not a team of editors.
  • A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques (Ref. N 33 .M36)
    Although this work does not include purely architectural terms, it does cover a large number of terms about the study and practice of visual art, notably the specific materials used.
  • Encyclopedia of Visual Art  (Ref. N 25 .E53)
    Volumes one through five contain well-illustrated articles about aspects of art history in general chronological order and divided geographically.  Occasional lists of further reading are given.  Volumes six through nine contain biographical entries of artists, and volume 10 contains articles on special studies, media studies, a listing of museums and galleries of the world, and a comprehensive index.
  • Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture (Ref. NA 31 .B83 1998)
    This work defines elements of architecture and provides illustrations of these elements.  It also cross-references elements that are similar and groups some elements into categories to be listed together, such as arches and windows.  Includes an index.
  • 6/2011New International Illustrated Encyclopedia of Art (Ref. N 31 .N4)
    Entries in this 24-volume set include artist biographies, descriptions of artistic movements, the art of particular geographical areas, and types of media.  There is an index in the final volume.
  • Facts on File Encyclopedia of Art (Ref. N 31 .F 33 2005)
    Comprehensive five volume reference source for art.


Clip art of a stylized wing to represent a sculptureThe above reference books are fairly general in scope, but there are other more specific reference books that might fit your topic better.  Browse around the reference shelves from N through NX to find reference books specific to a particular time (such as The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Art), place (such as The Britannica Encyclopedia of American Art), time and place (such as Guide to Baroque Rome), and media (such as The Encyclopedia of Furniture).

Where to Look for Online Periodical Articles

There are two main groups of online databases offered by the library: NCLive and the Academic OneFile. If you want to access these resources from home, you will need to use the same user name and password you use to log onto any computer on campus.


NCLive provides access to more than 60 databases. Some are general, covering a wide range of material, and some are subject-specific. Good places to begin your search are:

  • Proquest Arts & Humanities Database
  • SIRS Renaissance


These databases contain full-text articles on many topics, including art and architecture, from several thousand magazines and journals, or, in the case of Newspaper Source and, from a number of newspapers.

Thompson Gale Academic OneFile Database

Academic OneFile provides access to citations, abstracts, and full text articles relating to a wide variety of disciples, including the study of art and architecture.

WPCC Print Periodical Subscriptions

The library has a collection of several current periodicals in print. The following relate to the study of art and architecture in particular:

  • American Association of Wood Turners Catalogs (back issues only)
  • Aperture
  • Art in America
  • Art News
  • Clay Times
  • Fine Woodworking (back issues only)
  • Popular Photography (back issues only)


Online Periodicals


Recommended Websites

  • Art History Resources – very complete list of resources/info on art history – from prehistory to contemporary.
  • Art in the Picture – An intro to art history website with great color images of artists work.
  • Artchive – The Artchive has more than 2,000 scans from over 200 different artists. Created by Mark Harden.  Ads, but good info.
  • Ceramic Arts Daily – provides techniques for ceramic artists and potters. Pottery making, clay art, and ceramic art information on recipes, supplies, tools, kilns, glazing, pottery wheels, ceramic tile, throwing clay and more.
  • Smart History – A free multi-media web-book designed as a dynamic enhancement (or even substitute) for the traditional art history textbook. Podcasts and screen-casts are spontaneous conversations about works of art between art historians who are not afraid to disagree with earth other or art history orthodoxy.
  • – Website that gives brief bios on contemporary artists and explanations of modern art movements and various techniques.
  • – Woodworking Tips, Techniques, Tool Reviews, Plans and Supplies for Woodworkers.  All from the editors of three of the most respected woodworking magazines around: WoodsmithShopNotes, and Workbench.


Updated 10/2017

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