Art History Research: Getting Started: Articles

Avery Librarians - Reference

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Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Librarians
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Finding Articles on Your Topic

Columbia University Libraries provide access to many online resources. As a way to get started with your research, a few interdisciplinary databases are highlighted below. These resources are subscription based, so they should be accessed through the links in this guide or through CLIO by searching for the name of the resource. For more resources, check out this guide by Barnard Library here, or our in-depth guide to art history resources here.

Database Search Tips

  • Keep terms together by doing a phrase search using quotation marks, like "abstract expressionism".
  • Try a truncated search using asterisk. The asterisk allows you to search for any ending to a word. For example, histor* will find history, historian, historic, historical, historiography, etc.
  • A wildcard search also uses an asterisk, but replaces just one letter in the middle of a word. For example, wom*n will find woman and women.
  • Try using boolean operators (AND/OR/NOT) in your searches. OR is especially helpful for alternate search terms or multiple spellings, while NOT can eliminate unwanted or irrelevant results.
  • Most databases have ways to filter your search results, often through a bar on the left hand side of the page. Use these facets to filter by date, subject, language, etc. You can also use sorting to put your results in a particular order--for example, most recent articles first.
  • Most databases also have a help or search tips section.
  • While some databases, like JSTOR, are entirely full text (meaning they provide the full article for immediate use), others offer a combination of full text and citations (brief information about the article). These citations can be searched in CLIO to find access via other databases or print journals. Most databases have an option to filter so that you can see only full text content.

JSTOR is an interdisciplinary full-text database. Try limiting your search to Art & Art History (and/or other related disciplines) through the advanced search feature as shown below, or searching more broadly and then using the menu on the left hand side to filter your results.

JSTOR advanced search box

JSTOR journal collection selected by subject

Once you have found an article and opened it, to print or to search within an article on JSTOR, click on the Download PDF button as shown below, then use ctrl+F or command+F to search within.

JSTOR download pdf  button


This resource includes citations and full text articles in academic & professional disciplines. ProQuest includes journal articles, newspaper articles, and dissertations, among other formats. You can search multiple databases simultaneously or select individually (see below). Includes Art Bibliographies Modern (among other art databases) and Avery Index.

ProQuest includes many databases, and allows you to search across all databases or only those which you select. You can choose to filter before or after searching. To select databases or see which ones you're searching, click on Databases on the top of the page.

ProQuest header and top menu showing "Databases" circled in red.

ProQuest contains the Arts Premium Collection. To search only this collection or any other database(s), use the check boxes to select before searching.

ProQuest database selection showing Arts Premium Collection.


This resource provides access to various interdisciplinary databases. Like ProQuest, you can search multiple databases simultaneously or select individually. EBSCOhost includes Art & Architecture Source (among other art databases) and the Avery Index.

To search only art-related databases, click Choose Databases above the search box on the EBSCOhost home page, as shown below.

EBSCOhost search page showing "Choose Databases" circled in red.

Then choose the individual databases you want to search. Unlike ProQuest, which lists databases thematically, EBSCOhost lists databases alphabetically, so you will need to scan the list to find the relevant databases and select them individually as shown below.

EBSCOhost art databases, selected for searching.