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University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

Art: Books


Subject Searching

The basic Library Catalog search is a keyword search--you simply type your search terms into the box, and the catalog retrieves all the items that have your search terms in their catalog records.

Searching by subject is another way to find materials that focus on your topic. Each item in the Library Catalog has one or more subject terms (headings) assigned to it, When you search by subject, you retrieve only the items that have the subject for which you searched. To make a subject heading more specific, subheadings are added after it. A subheading is separated from the main heading by a double dash (--). Here are some good headings and subheadings for Art:



Art -- Study and teaching

Art Appreciation

Caricatures and cartoons

Ceramic sculpture

Comic books, strips, etc.

Commercial Art



Figure Drawing

Folk Art

Graphic Arts

Illumination of books and manuscripts

Landscape Painting

Mural painting and decoration







Watercolor Painting


Animals in Art 
Use this form to find books about specific themes in art--replace Animals with the theme in which you are interested, e.g. Primitivism in Art, Indians in Art, Romanticism in Art, etc.

Movements, Styles, and Periods

Art, Baroque
Use this same structure to find books about different movements, periods, and styles--replace Baroque with the movement, period, or style in which you are interested, for example, Art, Medieval; Art, Modern; Art, Renaissance.



This is a structure that is used frequently for art subject headings. First comes the type of work and then comes the nationality. Use this form to find books about particular styles (or art in general) of specific countries. You can replace American with the nationality in which you are interested. For example, you might use the headings Art, British and Art, French. You can replace Art with a medium or style--for example, Painting, American. By replacing both Art and American you can end up with a heading like Painting, Greek. 

Art -- United States
This is another way to find art associated with a specific country. Substitute the name of any country for United States.

There are some headings especially created for the art of different groups and religions:

African American art

Buddist art

Christian art and symbolism

Indian art

Islamic Art

Jewish Art


You can also use subject headings to look for books about specific artists. Again, doing a keyword search, finding a relevant book, and looking at its subject headings is a good way to find the right heading. The typical form for names is thus:

 Monet, Claude, 1840-1926

There is also a subject heading for works about artists in general:


Once you have your subject terms, to search by subject in the Library Catalog, in the dropdown list under "Search for," select "Subject." 

To find subject headings for a subject you are studying, first use keyword searching to find some books on your general topic. Then look at their records and see what subject terms they have. You can use the subject links in the catalog records to retrieve all the items with the same subject. However, this linking scheme has some quirks, so if it seems like it is returning far too many (or too few) items, try use the Library Catalog (aka Advanced Search) screen and a Subject or Subject Phrase search with your terms.

Call Numbers

If you want to browse the library stacks, you can use these call numbers to find books on Art.

N Visual Arts

NA Architecture

NB Sculpture

NC Drawing. Design. Illustration

ND Painting

NE Print Media

NK Decorative Arts

NX Arts in General

TR Photography

TT Handicrafts. Arts & Crafts

These books can be found on the third and fourth floors of the library stacks. You may find useful books with other call numbers too; for example, art law books can be found in the K's (Law) and books about art of specific peoples or geographic regions might be found classified with those groups/regions.

Interlibrary Loan--WorldCat

To find books from thousands of other libraries and request them through interlibrary loan, use WorldCat FirstSearch. You can search for books, journals, audiovisual materials, dissertations, and many other material types. When you find a resource you think would be useful in your research, you can fill out an interlibrary loan form, and Nash Library will request the book from another library. 

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Nash Library - University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma