How to do research in Art History and Visual Arts

Library resources for researchers working on art and architectural history, contemporary art, and visual culture


Topic-specific keywords will help improve your results in a general multidisciplinary database like Google, Google Scholar, HOLLIS, or Academic Search Premier

Add keywords like these to your search:

  • Photography
  • Exhibition
  • Renaissance or Cubism, etc.


The best tool for your project may be a specialized search engine, also known as a database. These databases are subject-specific or format-specific search tools:

Art Full Text (via HarvardKey) – An easy to use database for scholarship in art history and related fields. Search tip: Use Try Harvard Library links for more access options. Includes material as far back as 1977 to the present.

ArtStor (via HarvardKey) – A large digital image library covering arts and culture 

Dig Deeper

Our History of Art & Architecture research guide provides a helpful overview of specialized resources, primary and secondary, in print and online, at Harvard and beyond. 

Databases in Arts & Architecture- explore the full list of Harvard Library databases in this subject category.



Jessica Evans Brady, the library liaison for art and architectural history, is available to support researchers via email or in-person consultation.


How to do research in Architecture and Design

Service Alert:
  • Some Harvard Library locations will be closed or have special hours for Commencement, Thursday, May 26. Please check the Library Hours page for specifics. Ask a Librarian and chat hours will remain as usual.
  • Most Harvard Library locations will be closed Monday, May 30 and Tuesday, May 31, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. Ask a Librarian and chat service will be closed on these dates.
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Talk to a librarian for advice on defining your topic, developing your research strategy, and locating and using sources. Make an appointment now.

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