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Visual Arts

Use these recommended databases to find journal articles, reviews, and digital images for contemporary arts, art history, media and culture studies. If you need additional help in finding books or journal articles on your topic, contact Sylvia Roberts, Liaison Librarian for Contemporary Arts, at or 778-782-3681.

Top Resources

  1. Reference resources on all aspects of visual arts, and links to art images from around the world. Sources include Grove Art Online, Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Oxford Companion to Western Art, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics & Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms.
  2. Periodicals, journals, and reproduction of images covering fine, decorative and commercial art, folk art, photography, film, and architecture. Coverage from 1997-present is full-text; indexed coverage goes back to 1984.
  3. A multidisciplinary index to the journal literature of the arts and humanities. Some of the disciplines covered include: Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Asian Studies, Classics, Dance, Folklore, History, Language, Linguistics, Literary Reviews, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Poetry, Radio, Television, & Film, Religion, Theatre.
  4. Very large repository of digital images documenting artistic heritage and visual culture from around the world. Special tools are available within the database to support educators and researchers, including shared folders and personalized collections, through the ARTstor Instructor Privileges service.

Other Resources

  1. Multidisciplinary index to academic & popular journals.
  2. SFU Library's Art Images is a collection of online images documenting a broad range of art in support of teaching, learning, and research at SFU, with an emphasis on the history of Western Art. Images are licensed for research and classroom use at SFU.
  3. Index of historical literature on a variety of art topics from the years 1984-present. It covers fine, decorative, and commercial art. Good for finding contemporary criticism of art at the time of its debut.
  4. Index of historical literature on a variety of art topics from the years 1929 to 1984. It covers fine, decorative, and commercial art. Good for finding contemporary criticism of art at the time of its debut.
  5. Search the Art Index, Art Full Text and the Art Index Retrospective together.
  6. Art bibliography covering European and American visual arts from late antiquity to the present. Includes records on material published between 1975 - 2007. The database contains records drawn from journals, as well as books, conference proceedings, essays, exhibition catalogues, selected art dealers catalogues, doctoral dissertations and microform publications.
  7. A selection of HIV/AIDS-related stamps, philatelic materials and ephemera (first day covers, cinderellas, post cards, and telephone cards) collected by Canadian AIDS activist Blair Henshaw.
  8. Publications and ephemera by several B.C. fine/private presses, including works by Takao Tanabe (Periwinkle Press), Jim Rimmer (Pie Tree Press & Type Foundry), Jan & Crispin Elsted (Barbarian Press), and many others.
  9. Biographies of performers, directors, writers, producers, choreographers, composers, dancers, designers, technicians, critics and others active in Canadian, British and American film, theatre and television industries.
  10. Educationally relevant feature films and some documentaries for the Canadian Post Secondary Market. Films available from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, DreamWorks SKG, Mongrel Media, Sony Pictures Classics, Alliance Films, Miramax Films, Warner Brothers, Lionsgate Films, The Weinstein Company, as well as a smaller number of independent producers. Title selections includes 1920 classics, new releases, foreign films, literary adaptations, documentaries, animated titles, and independent features.
  11. Database collecting documentation of digital installation art. Includes computer animation, interactive art, net art, transgenic art, sound installation, bio art, and more.
  12. Index to literature on design and craft since the mid-19th century. Research articles are covered, along with topical news items, conference and seminar reports, and book, video and exhibition reviews.
  13. Open-access digital repository covering visual arts in Canada and especially Quebec. Includes essays, articles, books and magazines as well as images, audio and video works. Also provides access to Artexe's cataloge for their print collection, housed on-site in Quebec.
  14. An index to peer-reviewed publications of regional importance in emerging scientific fields in response to rapidly changing research fields and interdisciplinary scholarship to provide coverage of relevant titles in evolving disciplines.
  15. Scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web.
    SFU Authorized users can obtain full text links to SFU Library resources, by going to Google Scholar Settings and clicking on Library links. Then type and select Simon Fraser University - Get@SFU and Save.
    OR use the Off Campus and Wireless Access Bookmarklet to gain access to the full text licensed by SFU Library.
  16. Articles published in over 350 English-language periodicals. Topics include: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, Communications, Community Health, Economics, Geography, History, Law, Linguistics, Literature, Planning & Public Administration, Religion & Theology, Minority Studies, Performing Arts, Psychology, Philosophy, Political Science, Urban Studies etc.
  17. Printed documents, including posters, handbills, broadsides, book and journal prospectuses, topographical prints, and more, relating to entertainment, the booktrade, prints, crimes, murders and executions, and advertising. These materials document everyday life in Britain in the 18th to 20th centuries.
  18. An archival collection of scholarly journals mainly in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Subject coverage includes: African American Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Botany & Ecology, Economics, Education, Finance, General Science, History, Literature, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, Population Studies, Sociology and Statistics.
  19. 4,500 selected images from the photograph collection of the weekly Vancouver labour newspaper Pacific Tribune. The images cover a twenty-year span, from 1972 to 1992, which was one of the most active periods in British Columbia's labour history. Also included are images from other social movements, including rallies and campaigns for human rights and the internationally recognized Vancouver walks for peace during the mid-1980s.
  20. Postcards collected by Philip Francis that visually capture a wide array of places, people, events, industries, geographic and architectural landmarks, and modes of transportation associated with British Columbia. Many are from the "golden age" of postcards, 1900 to 1920, and publishers include Vancouver's Thompson Stationery Co. and Warwick Brothers & Rutter, the first Canadian company to produce Canadian-made colour postcards. A large percentage contain personal messages.
  21. Humanities and social sciences peer-reviewed academic journals and ebooks from university presses and scholarly societies world-wide.
  22. A directory for the film, video, internet and digital production industry in Western Canada.
  23. More than 800 colour slides and black-and-white prints, with corresponding photography logbook, created by Richard (Dick) Harwood Chambers (1922-1999), a prominent member of the Vancouver mountaineering community from the 1940s through the 1960s. Chambers' photographs date from about 1947 to 1967, roughly the years he was active in the BC Mountaineering Club. Some of these photos are the first, or very early, photos of what were then extremely remote parts of the Coast Mountains, while others document summer camps in more commonly visited parts of the Canadian Rockies and Selkirk Mountains and weekend climbs in southwestern B.C.
  24. Covers a wide-range of history and criticism. Includes full-text access to The Comics Journal, as well as interviews, criticism, images, and journal articles that document the continual growth and evolution of this art form.
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