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Art

Book collections

The Art books are located on the 1st floor of the UCL Main Library (Wilkins Building) and comprise Fine Art, History of Art and Film, broadly arranged as follows:

  • Section A: historiography, museums, curating and the art market
  • Section B: philosophy, aesthetics, criticism and cultural studies
  • Sections C – M: specific periods in art history, from pre-history to the 21st century
  • Section P: applied and performing arts, graphic design, costume, music, theatre
  • Section Q: film studies
  • Section R: photography
  • Section T: techniques, colour, materials, conservation

For more information, see the detailed classification scheme.

E-books can be located by searching Explore.

Books in Stores

Books with a STORE location can be requested either via Explore or from the Stores Service. Most can be borrowed and are usually collected from the UCL Science Library Assistance Desk from 3pm the following day.

Art books in UCL Special Collections

Books with an ART RARE location require special access arrangements. See UCL Special Collections for details. 

Journals

Recent issues of Art journals (also known as periodicals or magazines) are shelved in the reading room; older issues are located offsite and must be requested via the Stores Service. Journal holdings can be checked by searching Explore.

AV material

Feature films, documentary etc.

Feature films on DVD can be borrowed from UCL Main Library. DVDs can also be used in the viewing room or in your own laptop. 

UCL Library Services also provides access to the following streaming services

  • BoB National (Box of Broadcasts): access to over a million programmes broadcast on 65+ free-to-air TV and radio channels, including the full BBC archive dating from 2007. Also includes some older, archival recordings.
  • Kanopy: over 26,000 feature films and documentaries.

Art AV

Audio visual material relating specifically to Art is shelved at ART AV in the Art reading room.

Online resources

Explore is UCL Library Services' search tool for accessing print and electronic materials. It incorporates the catalogue of printed books and journal titles with access to the full text of selected journal contents, e-books, and a range of other archival material. The Skills in Seconds series includes a number of short films introducing subjects such as databases and ebooks.

Databases

More in-depth research can be done by using subject specific databases, many of which provide full-text access to journal contents and other published literature.

Remember: if you refer to any published literature, images or films in your essays or assignments they must be properly referenced. See our guides to References, Citations and Avoiding Plagiarism and to reference management tools such as EndNoteMendeley, and Zotero.

Which databases to search?

Core Art databases: including Art & Architecture Source; ProQuest Art, Design and Architecture Collection; Oxford Art Online.

Newspapers are an excellent source of information on exhibitions, including reviews and interviews with artists:

  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers has content from 1791 to 2007, including the archives of The Guardian and The Observer and US titles such as The New York Times and The Washington Post
  • Newsvault: cross search historical newspaper archives, including The Times, the Daily Mail, and The Financial Times
  • Nexis UK includes international newspapers from the 1980s to the present
Searching for images

Image databases: these resources contain high quality, copyright cleared images for use in education. Bridgeman Education and The Art Museum Image Gallery are particularly comprehensive.

Other internet resources

Websites useful for History of Art and Fine Art include:

  • Arts on Film Archive: a large range of films on art produced in the United Kingdom since the 1950s. Accessible only from an ac.uk domain.
  • CAMEO: Conservation and Art Material Encyclopedia Online: developed by the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
  • The Commons on Flikr: image collections donated by cultural institutions from around the world, free to use under the Creative Commons licence.
  • Getty Publications Virtual Library: over 250 freely available ebooks from the Getty Publications archive.
  • MetPublications: a portal to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's comprehensive book and online publishing program with hundreds of back catalogue titles published from 1964 available in full text.
  • Tate YouTube: weekly videos about art and artists from around the world.
  • Ubuweb: an 'independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts' which includes a vast selection of avant-garde texts and conceptual writing, sound and video files.

The Film Studies subject guide lists further relevant internet resources.

Follow @UCLArtLibrary on Twitter to keep up to date with new resources.

General Resources


All students registered at UCL are entitled to obtain a borrowing card for the Senate House Library. Reference access to other University of London Libraries is available to students registered at UCL.

The London Art History Libraries Forum represents libraries across higher education, the cultural and museum sector in London. The LAHLF website lists member libraries as well as giving brief descriptions of their collections and contact details. 

There are several online catalogues to help you locate books and periodicals not held by UCL, including:

  • Copac: searches the catalogues of over 70 UK and Irish academic, national & specialist libraries.
  • Search25: joint catalogue for academic libraries in London, the East and South East of England.
  • Art Discovery Group Catalogue: a sub-catalogue of Worldcat that brings together the catalogues of leading art libraries around the world.
  • SUNCAT: Serials Union Catalogue for the UK. Search for periodicals held by contributing libraries, including the British Film Institute, the National Art Library, the Tate Library, and the University of the Arts London.

More information is available about the use of other libraries.

The British Library is a useful resource and all UCL staff and students can apply directly for reference access. You will need to bring identification showing proof of address (e.g. utility bill), proof of signature (e.g. driving licence) and proof of student or research status (UCL ID card) in order to obtain a reader's pass.

A wide range of training and support is available for members of staff and students. Please feel free to contact me for assistance or to make an appointment.  Other services and materials which may be of use include:

Video:

Getting help in the library

In addition:
  • The ISD Service Desk is located on the ground floor of the Science Library and can be contacted for enquiries regarding your computer accounts, email, etc. ISD also provide IT training and resources, and an email address for questions about bibliographic software: biblio-support@ucl.ac.uk
  • Training is available for research students via the UCL Doctoral School, including information skills sessions run by library staff.

Library Services offers a variety of research support services in order to assist researchers. For further information please contact me directly using the contact details to the right.