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Art Practice Research @ Yale: How do I find books on my topic?


This page will help you locate book (a.k.a. "monographic") sources on art topics, including dissertations and theses and catalogues raisonnés. Books can be great starting points for research as they can provide broader and more comprehensive information than articles found in magazines and journals. Books take longer to publish than articles though, so the information found in them may be less up-to-date than what might be found in a journal article. Books may provide photographs, drawings, and details of artworks not found in articles or online.

Find books BEYOND Yale

These databases allow you to search other research library catalogs internationally. In order to BORROW books you find here located beyond Yale, see the services we provide - such as Borrow Direct and Interlibrary Loan - on the Get It @ Yale page.

Find Books at Yale and in Haas Arts Library

Searching for books

ORBIS is the main online public access catalog (OPAC) for Yale University and includes an Advanced Search option. ORBIS contains records for over 13 million items located in 15 libraries on the Yale campus and at the Library Shelving Facility (LSF).

Quicksearch combines the Orbis and Morris (Law Library) catalogs and searches Articles+ and Digital Collections all in one convenient fast search.

Finding books in the Haas Arts Library   stacks map

Main Level
All Oversized (+) Books
Oversized Reference Collection and Serials (with circulating books)
All Current Periodicals
All Open & Closed Reserves
Patron Shelves

Lower Level
All Regular-sized Books
Regular-sized Reference Collection and Serials (with circulating books)
All Folio-sized Books

Library of Congress classification system
N Visual arts
NA Architecture
NB Sculpture
NC Drawing; Design; Illustration
ND Painting
NE Print media
NJ 18 (A classification unique to Yale Arts Library. Locate books on a single artist or architect here, published before 2017)
NK Decorative arts
NX Arts in general
TP Chemical technology (includes some ceramics/pottery)
TR Photography
TT Handicrafts; Arts and crafts

Catalogues raisonnés

catalogue raisonnè is a comprehensive list of works created by an architect, firm, artist, or designer - or work created in a particular medium by an artist. Reproductions of the artworks are also included, along with the date, provenance, location and history of the artist and their work.

The Arts Library holds close to 3,000 catalogues raisonnès and several hundred more are located in other libraries on campus. To locate catalogues raisonnès in Yale libraries, search the library catalog (and search Worldcat for holdings in other libraries).  Try using the following advanced keyword searches:

  • catalogue raisonnès and the architect's name (e.g. catalogue raisonnès and Alvar Aalto)
  • werkverzeichnis and the architect's name (e.g., werkverzeichnis and Walter Gropius)
  • complete paintings/drawings/prints or sculpture and the artist's or designer's name (complete paintings and Leonardo da Vinci)
  • complete works and the architect's name (e.g., complete works and Zaha Hadid)

Primary v. Secondary Sources

Secondary sources interpret and analyze primary sources. Because they are often written long afterward by parties not directly involved (but who may have special expertise), they can provide historical context or critical perspectives. Secondary sources routinely include pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources.

Depending on the subject, newspaper and journal articles can fall into both categories. For example, Paul Goldberger's architectural review of the new Citi Field and Yankee Stadium in New York is a primary source, because he is commenting directly on a current event, whereas an article surveying the history of New York City stadiums would be considered a secondary source.

Primary sources present first-hand accounts or direct evidence. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented, and can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later. In the case of architects and architecture firms, this includes drawings, office records, and personal papers. At Yale, architectural archival materials are held in Manuscripts and Archives at the Sterling Memorial Library. Also consult the guide Primary Sources on Architecture @ Yale.

Locating Dissertations/Theses Around the World

Dissertations & Theses Full Text
ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQD&T) is the authoritative resource for information about doctoral dissertations and Master's theses. Contains dissertations published from 1980 on,with 350-word abstracts written by the authors. Master's theses published from 1988 forward include 150-word abstracts. UMI offers over 1.8 million titles for purchase in microfilm or paper formats. More than 600,000 are available in native or image PDF formats for immediate free download. Coverage from 1861-present, with simple bibliographic citations available for dissertations dating from 1637.

Index to Theses
Comprehensive listing of theses with abstracts accepted for higher degrees by universities in Great Britain and Ireland since 1716.

Theses Canada Portal
Search AMICUS, Canada's national online catalogue, for bibliographic records of all theses in Library and Archives Canada's theses collection, which was established in 1965.

Center for Research Libraries (CRL) - Foreign Doctoral Dissertations

CRL has more than 750,000 uncataloged foreign doctoral dissertations, of which approximately 20,000 are included in this database.
Universal Index of Doctoral Dissertations in Progress

Database of voluntarily-registered, author-identified doctoral dissertations in progress around the world.

Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations

International organization dedicated to promoting the adoption, creation, use, dissemination and preservation of electronic theses and dissertations. 

Wanfang Dissertations of China

Full-text, or abstracts and other descriptive information of Master's, doctoral, and post-doctoral dissertations from key Chinese research institutions, beginning in 1986.


An online catalog to holdings at French academic libraries for Humanities and Social Sciences theses completed in France since 1972.

Österreichische Dissertationsdatenbank 

German language dissertations.

Open Thesis
A free repository of theses, dissertations, and other academic documents