Books on a stack The Art & Architecture Collection contains approximately 100,000 volumes of reference works, monographs and exhibition catalogues. We subscribe to well over 200 journals and serials.

Forms and Media

The collection covers all aspects of the visual arts, including:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Print making
  • Ornament
  • Sculpture
  • Performance art
  • Arts and crafts
  • Photography

It covers the fields that make up Environmental Design:

  • Architecture history and practice
  • Urban Planning and design
  • Landscape architecture
  • Design Studies

It also covers other interdisciplinary areas, such as:

  • Artists’ books
  • Art and theater
  • Art and literature
  • Feminist art
  • Electronic media arts
  • Urban studies

Chronological & Geographical Subjects

Particularly well-developed subject areas include the art and architecture of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque and the Modern period. The library has special strength in the history of the United Kingdom and the American West, and the Art & Architecture collection supplements these resources. The collection in Latin American, Asian and Contemporary art has been the target for intensive development.


Most research materials are accessible in the open stacks of the Art & Architecture Collection during Norlin Library’s hours. Original works of art including Artists' books, facsimile editions of manuscripts and works such as Christian Zervos' Pablo Picasso are housed in the Special Collections Department.


An extensive reference collection of dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference books supports the collection in all areas. The collection includes important major reference sets such as the Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (AKL), the Corpus Vasoroum Antiquorum (CVA). Many of the library's reference sources are now online, the Art History research guide section on reference sources lists these core resources.


Recent issues of art and architecture journals and magazines can be browsed in the lounge located at the west entrance to the collection. The most recent five years of back issues are kept in the stacks interfiled with monographs at the appropriate call numbers. Older back issues are housed at Pascal off-site storage.

Electronic Resources

The Library provides online access to articles, digital images, dissertations and other materials. Use the A-Z Databases page to access resources such as ARTstor, JSTOR, the Avery Index Art Full Text and much more.