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There is a huge amount of information on the Internet but the quality is variable. Some reliable sources are suggested below.
See also the tips and suggestions to help you evaluate what's good and what's not!
General art-related sites
This page lists useful, free internet resources for Fine Art. See the E-resources tab for a list of key online sources purchased by the University to help you find information in this subject.
Please note: our site descriptions are based on information available on the site described at the time it was evaluated.
Archive of Digital Art
A free, searchable archive of digital art installations. You can search for keywords or browse by date, genre or artist etc.
Although a commercial site, this is compiled by an ex-art librarian and sites listed are carefully selected.
British Library Art websites
A collection of useful websites for art and architecture chosen by the British Library
Getty Research Institute Collecting and Provenance Research Resources
Access to Getty Provenance Index® databases which contain 1.5 million records taken from source material such as archival inventories, auction catalogues and dealer stock books.
A collection of avant-garde resources including sound, video and text.
Visual Arts Data Service (VADS)
Image database of visual arts collections comprising over 100,000 images which are freely available and copyright-cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK. Collections include: African and Asian artists; Design and Romanesque Sculpture in Britain; the Tom Eckersley Archive and the Imperial War Museum collections.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The museum provides Open Access for Scholarly Content. This means any of the images in their collection marked OASC may be used, free of charge, for any scholarly work. Please see the FAQs on the website for further information.
Searchable by artist, title of work and individual galleries, this site provides links to works of art in various virtual museums round the world, providing images and catalogue information. You can also browse the database for genres, themes etc and there is a page of links.
Yale Center for British Art
Online catalogue enabling seamless searching across the art collections and related library material. Has publication quality images of art objects in the public domain.
This website aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings. There will be images of around 200,000 paintings when the project is complete. It is a joint initiative between the BBC, the Public Catalogue Foundation and participating collections and museums across the UK.
The Marburger Index
A picture index of art and architecture containing over 2 million images on art and architecture in 13 European countries.
Google Art Project
This project allows users to 'walk' around galleries using the Google Maps 'street view' technology and to see reproductions of artworks.
Web Gallery of Art
The Web Gallery of Art is a virtual museum and searchable database of European painting and sculpture of the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods (1150-1800), currently containing over 11,600 reproductions. Commentaries on pictures, biographies of artists are available.
Galleries, Museums and Libraries
The Art Museum Network
200 major art museums have collaborated to provide a single site with information about collections and museums.
Over 2500 museums and galleries in the UK with good search facilities.
Tate Research Services
Based at the Tate Britain, the Tate Research Services enable researchers to access Tate library and archive collections. Consult their website for more information and to search their catalogue.
National Art Library
The National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum is the main external source for art history students. You can find information about the library, search their catalogue, and find out how to get a reader's ticket on their website.
National Gallery Catalogue
The National Gallery is making selected extracts from their new catalogues available online.
Westminster Reference Library
The Westminster Reference Library has a collection recognised as one of national significance. It consists of over 40,000 volumes covering painting and drawing, sculpture, installations and other aspects of art and design. Consult their website for information about the library, including how to join, and to search their catalogue.
Organisations & Institutions
Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA)
inIVA aims to promote the work of culturally-diverse artists. This site has a digital archive of images, text, audio and video. It also includes a link to their library catalogue.
LUX is an arts agency which explores ideas around artists' moving image practice through exhibition, distribution, publishing, education and research. Includes LUX Online, a resource for British based artists' film and video. It contains articles, biographies, film clips and new writings.
UK & Ireland Art Libraries society blog.
Tips on evaluating websites
Before believing the information given on a web site, or quoting it in your essay or project, think about the following:
- Who is responsible for the page/site?
- Is it a reliable organisation (eg a well known university) or a subject expert?
- Can you trust them?
Accuracy and reliability
- Is the information correct?
- Is the grammar and spelling correct?
- Is it complete, or are they just giving one point of view?
- Do they have their own agenda eg political organisations?
- Is the information fact or opinion?
- Can you tell how up-to-date it is?
- Is it regularly updated?
- You don't want to quote out-of-date information
Audience / relevance
- Is the information of the right level to be quoted in your project? If it is aimed at the general public or school children it might not be!
- Is the site well structured and easy to navigate?
- Are the links from the page up-to-date and valid?
- If it is well designed and maintained then you can feel more confident about the information it provides
Guides & Tutorials
A brief guide to finding information which includes links to the main search engines.