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Art & Art History

Selected reference works, electronic resources, and Web sites for Art & Art History.

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Finding Books


Catalyst is the shared online catalog of the libraries of Carleton College and St. Olaf College. It provides an access point to the books, periodicals, government documents, and electronic resources available at Carleton or St. Olaf.

Library of Congress Subject Headings are the words and phrases you can use to do a subject search in Catalyst (as opposed to a keyword search, where you may use any words you like).

When starting out, it is often helpful to do a keyword search on your topic, and then to examine the subject headings of the results you find relevant. Catalyst displays these subject headings as links and clicking on one of them will automatically conduct a subject search for that particular topic. If you have trouble finding relevant sources using a keyword search, try consulting the printed volumes of Library of Congress Subject Headings in the reference collection.


Search WorldCat, an online catalog for libraries throughout the world, to take your search beyond Northfield.

Relevant Library of Congress Call Numbers

This is only a partial list of call numbers pertaining to the Fine Arts. For a more complete listing, go to the Library of Congress Classification Outline, provided by the Library of Congress.

N Visual Arts (General)
NA Architecture
NB Sculpture
NC Illustration, Design, Drawing.
ND Painting
NE Printing
NK Decorative Arts, Applied Arts
NX Arts in General

Subject Headings

Because subject headings are created according to a specific formula, and because it is unlikely that you will be able to guess what phrases this formula will generate, it is often helpful to do a keyword search on your topic, and, once you find an appropriate source, examine the subjects (usually found in the middle of the page as you scroll down). You may then conduct a subject search by clicking on the linked subject heading in Catalyst. Keeping a list of the phrases you find in the subject headings can help you form more and more complex and effective searches as your research progresses.

Although Art history is a Library of Congress Subject Heading, you will probably get better results if you are more specific. If you are interested in the art of a particular country, use the subject heading art and the adjective describing the products of that country. For example, use Art -- Mexican to search for works on Mexican art. You may also specify a state or even a city, but be aware that being that specific will greatly limit your results. You may also specify a time period, as in Art 19th century. Some art movements have been assigned Library of Congress Subject Headings; others have not. You may also search by the name of a particular artist (last name first). Be careful in your word choices--some words and phrases that may seem very natural to you will not be Library of Congress Subject Headings.

Finding Dissertations