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Finding information online
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!
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.
General film, theatre and television-related sites
Organizations and Institutions
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.
Book Arts Web
Features links to a large selection of book arts related sites on the web, including educational opportunities, professional organizations, tutorials, reference materials, and galleries with images.
British book trade index (BBTI)
The BRITISH BOOK TRADE INDEX (BBTI) aims to include brief biographical and trade details of all those who worked in the English and Welsh book trades up to 1851.
British Library Flickr account
Includes examples of old and rare books, book layout, printing etc - albums include; Illustrated letters and typography, Book covers, Advertisments, Decorations and designs, Children's book illustration.
Colonization and print in the Americas
An exhibition from University of Pennsylvania Library - A sample of texts showing Colonization in the Americas.
Color printing in the Nineteenth Century
An online version of an exhibition in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery of the Morris Library, University of Delaware. Includes Intaglio processes, relief processes, Lithography and Nature printing.
Online versions of some early manuscripts, maps, atlases and printed works from the Bodliean's collection.
Digital Watermark & Ornament Catalogue
Study of the watermarks and type ornaments in William Stansby's edition of Ben Jonson's Workes.
English handwriting online 1500-1700
Online course on using original English manuscript sources 1500-1700 in research. Compiled by Cambridge University.
Hand bookbindings: plain and simple to grand and glorious
An online version of exhibition showing book bindings by theme from books in Special Collections in the Princeton University Library. Images of more than 200 bookbindings, with the ability to zoom in and see details.
handwriting and script
A big collection of links on deciphering older handwriting.
A guide to thousands of typefaces, including a series of questions to determine the name of a typeface.
Karpeles Manuscript Library
Manuscripts are equipped with an interactive tool enabling the user to view the document's transcription.
Oxford bibliographical society
The Oxford Bibliographical Society was founded in 1922 to encourage bibliographical research. They publish, run events and provide grants.
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