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Art: Databases for Art: Overview

In this guide...

Basic databases for art research including CMU's Cameo, other library catalogs, images, streaming video and sound, journal articles and archives, and dissertations.
For more databases covering art, the arts and across discplines navigate to the
University Libraries Databases A-Z  list.

Mo Dawley
Art and Drama Librarian
Art Research Guide
Drama Research Guide

Environment: Interdisciplinary Research Guide

Cameo and other library catalogs

Cameo: Carnegie Mellon University Libraries catalog to find books, articles, media, videos, recordings and more at CMU.

Pittcat: University of Pittsburgh Library holdings

The Catalog:   Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh holdings; excellent music and scores collection

Pittsburgh library catalogs of Duquesne University, Chatham University, Carlow University, Point Park University, and Robert Morris University.

WorldCat includes holdings for all of the above as well as other local, regional, national and international library holdings


Arts Library Visual Resources 
Make this your first stop for finding high resolution subscription image databases at CMU such as ARTstor, AP Images and the Digital Image Database as well as carefully selected open access image collections including...

ARTstor This link opens in a new windo

Over one million high-quality images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences.

AP Images Collection
Associated Press news images: photographs, audio sound bites, graphics and descriptive text.

Creative Commons Search
Provides access to various sites for content you can share, use and remix.

Google Art Project
Collaborative open-access project between Google and over 150 art partners worldwide. "Users can explore a wide range of artworks at brushstroke level detail, take a virtual tour of a museum and even build their own collections to share."

Internet Archive Book Images
2.6 million images with searchable tags.

Article archives


Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive‎
(1880 - 2000)

Sources for studying the history of the film and entertainment industries, from the era of vaudeville and silent movies through to 2000. The core US and UK trade magazines covering film, music, broadcasting and theater are included, together with film fan magazines and music press titles. Magazines have been scanned cover-to-cover in high-resolution color, with granular indexing of all articles, covers, ads and reviews.

The complete archives of the US and UK editions of Harper's Bazaar magazine, a fashion, arts, and culture authority from 1867 to the present.

Vogue Archive‎ (1892-current) The full contents of Vogue magazine (US edition) from the first issue in 1892 to the present, with monthly updates for new issues.

Life Magazine Archive. Cover to cover from 1926-2000.


Time Magazine  Archive

Complete digital version of more than 77 years of the prominent weekly news magazine, dating back to its first issue in March 1923 through December 2000 in a comprehensive cover-to-cover format.


Article databases

Art-focused article databases you need to know about up front:

Art and Architecture Source (formerly Art Source)
Focus on art and architecture; combines article databases Art Full-Text, Art Index Retrospective and Art and Architecture Complete with increased access to full-text and interdisciplinary content. International coverage including some full-text books and images.

ARTbibliographies Modern 1974- (updated irregularly)

Citations and abstracts
Journal articles, exhibition catalogs, exhibition reviews, books, dissertations and essays in books or exhibition catalogs. Covers modern and contemporary art, art history, photography and design beginning with artists and movements in the late 19th century, and photography since it's invention in 1839.


Bibliography of the History of Art/Repertoire de la literature de l'art
Citations and abstracts
The(BHA/RILA) database contains citations and abstracts for European and American books, journal articles, conference proceedings, dissertations, exhibition catalogs and dealers' catalogs covering topics from late antiquity through the first decade of the 21st century. The database combines the records of BHA from 1990-2007 and records from The Repertoire de la litterature de l'art (RILA), one of the predecessors of BHA, covering publication years 1975-1989.


Art Margins
Scholarly articles and essays addressing global postmodern and post-colonial issues in contemporary art, media, architecture, visual culture, and critical theory. Including: art and politics in transitional countries and regions; post-socialism and neo-liberalism; the problem of global art and global art history and its methodologies.

"a forum for serious, playful, and radical thinking about art in the world today." Founded 2009; headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.

Pittsburgh Articulate
Online platform for critical writing and dialog related to arts issues in the Pittsburgh region including reviews, interviews, articles and discussion

Theatre and performance article databases

International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance with Full-Text
Scholarly research database for theatre and dance studies.

Music Online
Allows cross-searching of audio, video, scores and full text reference content from all Alexander Street Press Music databases to which Carnegie Mellon subscribes.

Performing Arts Periodicals Database (formerly International Index to the Performing Arts)
Articles covering the arts and entertainment industry - including dance, drama, theater, stagecraft, musical theater, circus performance, opera, pantomime, puppetry, magic, performance art, film, television and more.
Coverage: 1864-current

Performance Design Archive Online
A collection that covers all aspects of theater production design, from the 17th century through to the present day, including scenic and set design, lighting design, sound design, costume design, and makeup.

Wide scope article databases

Full-text access to important academic journals in all disciplines


Current humanities and social science journals from a variety of university presses

Mega-database that searches many interdisciplinary databases together - journals, newspapers, magazines; also industry reports. Start here to find reviews.

Google Scholar
Open access to full-text scholarly literature.


Citations to critical research of language, literature, and folklore for all periods beginning with the Middle Ages


A multidisciplinary database, with searchable author abstracts, covering the literature of the sciences, social sciences and the arts & humanities providing indexes and links to cited references for each article.

Academic OneFile
Articles on all subjects

Scholarly citations in all disciplines

General OneFile
Articles on all subjects

Lexis-Nexis Academic (full-text)
Business, legal and general medical/health information; continually updated news items, background information on current issues, industry news and financial information, law reviews, federal case law; access to quick information through online reference resources and directories.
Will soon be replaced by:
Nexis Uni featuring more than 15,000 news, business and legal sources, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1790.


To find scholarly journals and articles across disciplines that are "open access" in one place, the best site to start with is the quality-controlled Directory of Open Access Journals.  You can browse by topic or search by keyword.

Also try:

Google Scholar
Open access to full-text scholarly literature


Theatre and performance databases

Performance Design Archive Online
A collection that covers all aspects of theater production design, from the 17th century through to the present day, including scenic and set design, lighting design, sound design, costume design, and makeup.

GloPad: Global Performing Arts Database
Records in the database include authoritative, detailed, multilingual descriptions of digital images, texts, video clips, sound recordings, and complex media objects related to the performing arts around the world, plus information about related pieces, productions, performers, and creators.
Developed with the support of: Cornell University and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

American Film Scripts Online
Over 1,100 scripts and makes available,
for the first time, accurate and
authorized versions of copyrighted

Streaming video

Kanopy Streaming Service. Provides remote access to over 25,000 documentary and feature films on many subjects: arts, business, global studies, health, sciences, technical training, etc.
Offers filmed concerts performed by today’s greatest names in classical music, archive movies, inspiring documentaries on performers and composers, educational programs, and master classes.
High-quality films of full-length performances by current provocative artists working in dance, theater, music and other forms.

Dance Online: Dance in Video and documentaries in streaming video with influential performers and companies of the 20th century. Includes ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, experimental, improvisational dance, and forerunners of the forms and the pioneers of modern concert dance;
search, browse, cite or bookmark videos to the moment; make custom clips, annotate and share them.

Theatre in Video
...definitive performances and documentaries in streaming video with leading actors, playwrights and directors covering a wide range of 20th century theatre history. Includes contemporary revivals of classic works, television broadcasts of New York productions, experimental performances and more;
search, browse and bookmark scenes, monologues, and staging examples to a link that can be shared.

VDB TV is a rotating series of groundbreaking programs presenting essential video art, streaming free for the first time to the general public on the Video Data Bank website. From early media pioneers, to sensational contemporary artists, VDB TV provides unprecedented access to the culturally significant Video Data Bank archive of more than 600 artists and 6,000 video art titles. VDB TV is curated by prominent programmers and moving image art specialists. To advance accessibility to the VDB collection, all programs included within VDB TV feature closed captions for the hearing impaired.

Academic Video Online (AVON)
A large video collection across subject areas including theatre, music, film and more; documentaries, interviews, feature films, performances, news programs and newsreels, demonstrations, raw footage; award-winning films, including Academy®, Emmy®, and Peabody® winners; classroom instruction nad archival material.

American Newsreels in Video
News footage covering the years leading
up to and during the Second World War.

World Newsreels Online
Captures full runs of many of the key international newsreels produced during the early twentieth century. Newsreels are in English, French and Japanese.

American Newsreels in Video
News footage covering the years leading up to and during the Second World War.

Sixties Video
Fifty hours of primary footage and secondary documentariesthat explore the key events of the sixties and early seventies
featuring interviews with major players and revolutionaries of the decade.

Streaming audio and music

Streaming Audio

Audio Drama: The L.A. Theatre Works Collection
More than three hundred important dramatic works in streaming audio from the curated archive of the nation’s premiere radio theatre company. The L.A. Theatre Works Collection is also available online via our Drama Online database.

16,000 downloadable sound effects now available in WAV.
Open Access. Certain copyright restrictions apply.

Aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, ... released under Creative Commons licenses that allow their reuse. 
Studio Cutz
Each CD covers a unique theme, with titles such as "Acoustic Brew" and "Silly Stuff" with 60 second edits, 30 second edits, and short edits (or stingers) of each song. Search "Studio Cutz" in CAMEO for a complete listing.

Ethnographic Sound Archives Online
Over 2,000 hours of previously unpublished historic field recordings from around the world alongside their supporting field notes and ethnographers for the study music in a cultural context. 



Music Online : American Music
Streaming songs from Americans of diverse origins and all walks of life, from America’s past and present.

Music Online: Classical Music in Video
Streaming video of classical music performances by leading orchestras, chamber music, oratorio, and solo performances, along with masterclasses and interviews with master teachers from around the world.

Music Online: Classical Music Library
Streaming audio with a supplementary reference database, enabling patrons to listen while simultaneously searching and browsing the Classical reference database. Send-to-mobile functionality.

Classical Scores Library (Volumes I-IV)
Encompasses more than one million pages of classical scores for teaching and study. Includes a mix of public domain, previously unpublished, and in-copyright works from all major classical music genres and time periods.

Library Music Source
This is the online version of the CD Sheet Music and Orchestra Musician’s CD-ROM Library CD-ROMs. The music is selected from out-of-copyright standard editions from publishers such as Breitkopf and Hartel, C.F. Peters, G. Schirmer, Carl Fischer, G. Ricordi, Durand and many others. The editorial staff for CD Sheet Music has chosen the best edition available for each work.
Offers filmed concerts performed by today’s greatest names in classical music, archive movies, inspiring documentaries on performers and composers, educational programs, and master classes.

Music and Performing Arts
Combines audio and video that spans all time periods, hundreds of thousands of seminal artists, composers, choreographers, and ensembles to provide an unparalleled learning environment for the teaching of music.

Naxos Music Library
Streaming recordings for genres such as Classical, Jazz, Blues, Nostalgia, World, Contemporary Instrumental, Chinese, Pop and Rock, Gospel, Spoken Word, and Relaxation. iPhone and Android apps available.

Naxos Music Library Jazz
Streaming music from the artists and collections of Fantasy Records.

Topic databases across disciplines (a sampling)

For a complete list of databases across discpliplines navigate to University Libraries Databases A-Z.

African American Studies Center
Combines Oxford University Press scholarly reference works in one online resource focusing on the lives and events shaping African American and African history and culture.

Underground & Independent Comics, Comix and Graphic NovelsThis link opens in a new windo
Scholarly, primary-source database focused on adult comic books and graphic novels. Here are the works of artists both celebrated and overlooked, alongside interviews, criticism, and journal articles that document the continual growth and evolution of this art form.

Berg Fashion Library
Articles covering all aspects of world dress and fashion throughout history.

Black Studies Center
Gateway to Black Studies including scholarly essays, recent periodicals, historical newspaper articles, reference books, more. It includes The Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, Index to Black Periodicals Full Text, Black Literature Index, etc

History Vault
Access to millions of primary source, cross-searchable, full-text/full-image documents on the most widely studied topics in 19th and 20th-century American history. Search or browse digitized letters, papers, photographs, scrapbooks, financial records, diaries, and many more primary source materials.This link opens in a new windo


Books, periodicals, and archival materials documenting LGBT political, social and cultural movements throughout the twentieth century and into the present day.

A comprehensive resource for research on literary topics, authors, and their works, covering all genres and disciplines, all time periods, and all regions of the world.

Vogue Archive‎ (1892-current) The full contents of Vogue magazine (US edition) from the first issue in 1892 to the present, with monthly updates for new issues.


Artsearch (Theatre Communications Group)