Digital Resources

The MFAH libraries offer free access to a wide range of digital resources to suit your research needs. You can access many resources from home as well as from your personal laptop, tablet, or mobile device with the complimentary Wi-Fi in the Hirsch Library reading room. 

To access the paid subscription databases, visit the Hirsch Library in person. For the databases listed as on-site use only, ask about access credentials at the reference desk.

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Style Manuals

AskART (on-site use only)
Online database containing close to 300,000 artists, with information ranging from biographies to auction records.

Britannica: Academic Edition (on-site use only)
Fact-checked online encyclopedia with hundreds of thousands of objective articles, biographies, videos, and images from experts.

The Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition (on-site use only)
Provides recommendations on editorial style and publishing practices for the digital age.

Dictionary of Art Historians
A biographical and methodological database intended as a beginning point to learning the background of major art historians of western art history. A free, copyrighted, scholarly database for the use of researchers, students and the public.

Getty Vocabularies
The Getty vocabularies contain structured terminology for art, architecture, decorative arts, archival materials, visual surrogates, conservation, and bibliographic materials. 

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Thematic, chronological, and geographical exploration of global art history through The Met collection. It is a reference, research, and teaching tool conceived for students and scholars of art history.

Merriam-Webster Unabridged (on-site use only)
Largest, most comprehensive American dictionary currently available in print or online.

Oxford Art Online (on-site use only)
Access to the most authoritative, inclusive, and easily searchable online art resources available today. Through a single, elegant gateway users can access—and simultaneously cross-search—an expanding range of Oxford’s acclaimed art reference works.

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Books & Periodicals

Art Index Retrospective & Art Abstracts (H.W. Wilson) (on-site use only)
Provides users access to more than a half-century of art literature, covering fine, decorative, and commercial art. Content includes high-quality indexing of nearly 600 publications, many of which are peer-reviewed, and citations of over 25,000 book reviews.

Art Abstracts (H.W. Wilson) (on-site use only)
Comprehensive resource for art information featuring high-quality indexing and abstracting of over 600 periodicals dating back to 1984. Covers fine, decorative and commercial art, folk art, photography, film, and architecture, and also includes a database-specific thesaurus.

ARTbibliographies Modern (on-site use only)
The only specialist bibliography available for the study of modern and contemporary art. Covers all art forms, including fine art, digital art, crafts, design and photography. Features full abstracts and indexing from art journals published from the late 1960s onwards.

Arts: Search (on-site use only)
Invaluable resource for research into the history of modern design and the applied arts.

The Burlington Magazine Online Index (on-site use only)
World's leading monthly publication devoted to the fine and decorative arts. 

Cfile.daily (on-site use only)
News and review journal for avant-garde ceramics, which receives more than 720,000 visits a year from readers in 189 countries. 

Contemporary Artists Index, Cleveland Institute of Art
Unique resource developed and maintained by the CIA Library staff containing artists, artists groups, photographers, craftspeople, designers, and design firms whose work appears in select publications in the library's collection.

Design and Applied Arts Index (​DAAI) (on-site use only)
Premier source of information for all aspects of design and crafts, from textiles and ceramics to vehicle design, advertising and sustainability. Covers journal articles, exhibition reviews and news items from 1973 to the present.

Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture (public version)
Collects and creates electronic resources for study and research of the decorative arts, with a particular focus on Early America. Included are electronic texts and journals, image databases, and information on organizations, museums and research facilities.

Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS), Library of Congress
Bibliography on Latin America consisting of works selected and annotated by scholars. Edited by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress.

International Bibliography of Art (IBA) (on-site use only)
The definitive resource for scholarly literature on Western art, IBA is the successor to the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA).

International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) (on-site use only)
Catalogues raisonnés, scholarly compilations of an artist's body of work, are critical tools for researching the provenance and attribution of artwork. Here you can find a database of published catalogues raisonnés and one of catalogues in preparation.

JSTOR (on-site use only)
JSTOR provides access to more than 10 million academic journal articles, books, and primary sources in 75 disciplines.

Making of America, Cornell University Library
Digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.

OpenBibArt (on-site use only)
A collaboration between the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, the Getty Research Institute, and the Institut de l’Information Scientifique et Technique of the CNRS, this database provides access to nearly 1.2 million bibliographic records of periodicals, books, and exhibition and auction catalogues published between 1910 and 2007.

Print Council of America
Contains entries for European and American prints, print publishers, drawings, and photographs, as well as Japanese prints and photographs.

WorldCat (on-site use only)
The world's largest network of library-based content and services, WorldCat is a way to locate a book, video, or other item of interest and discover which libraries near you own the item.

Yale Art & Architecture ePortal (on-site use only)
The Yale A&AePortal is an authoritative ebook resource that features important works of scholarship in the history of art, architecture, decorative arts, photography, and design.

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Newspapers & Online News Sources
Covers news stories on a variety of topics related to art: events related to figures in the world of visual art, painting, photography, and sculpture.

Artnet News Pro (on-site use only)
Provides unlimited access to premium market coverage, analysis, and articles as well as subscription-only art-market columns.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
Access information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

CultureMap Houston
Source for local Houston lifestyle news and events.

Glasstire {Texas visual art}
An online magazine that covers visual art in Texas.

Houston Chronicle
One of Texas’s largest news organizations, Houston Chronicle publishes print and online products in English and Spanish.

Houston Press
Houston’s first free major arts, news, and entertainment weekly, with weekly print and daily online editions.

New York Times (on-site use only)
Access breaking news stories, multimedia, reviews, and opinion articles from this American daily newspaper.

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Local Library Catalogs

Harris County Public Library
Annual circulation of over 10 million items from the HCPL network of 26 community-focused branch libraries.

Houston Public Library
Holds 3.6 million items, serving more than 7 million in-person and online visitors per year. 

Menil Collection Library
Open to qualified outside scholars and researchers by appointment. 

Rice University Fondren Library
Open to visitors. Those without a Rice University ID can to present a government-issued ID to gain access to the building.

University of Houston
Provides access to more than 3.2 million physical and digital volumes and more than 152,000 physical and digital journals and other serial subscriptions. 

University of Texas at Austin Libraries
Members of the public have access in the libraries to most of these library e-resources by obtaining visitor access.

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National & International Library Catalogs

Art Discovery Group Catalogue
Union catalog of more than 30 art libraries in the United States and Europe.

The British Library
Thousands of records for library webpages, and millions of freely available articles, books, journals, newspapers, printed maps, scores, e-resources, sound archive items, and more.

DPLA: Digital Public Library of America
A large-scale public digital library that brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions.

HathiTrust digital library
Partnership of academic and research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world.

Internet Archive
Nonprofit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

Library of Congress
Contains 17 million catalog records for books, serials, manuscripts, maps, music, recordings, images, and electronic resources in the Library of Congress collections.

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AATA Online Abstracts of International Conservation Literature
Comprehensive database of more than 156,000 records of literature related to the preservation and conservation of material cultural heritage.

AIC American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works
Information on conservation, from guides on how to care for your treasures to guidelines on how to select a conservator and answers to many more questions you may have about conservation.

BCIN Bibliographic Database of the Conservation Information Network
A bibliographic resource for conservation, preservation, and restoration of cultural property.

CAMEO: Conservation & Art Material Encyclopedia Online, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Contains chemical, physical, visual, and analytical information on more than 10,000 historic and contemporary materials used in the production and conservation of artistic, architectural, archaeological, and anthropological materials.

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Specialized Art Databases or Collections

Archives of American Art
Most widely used research center dedicated to collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary sources that document the history of the visual arts in America.

Art Inventories, Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Inventories of American Paintings and Sculpture provide information on more than 400,000 artworks in public and private collections worldwide.

One of the most widely used resources in the academic and cultural world of Hispanic search services, offering journal articles, thesis, dissertations and documents.

Documents of 20th-Century Latin American and Latino Art
Provides access to primary sources and critical documents tracing the development of 20th-century art in Latin America and among Latino populations in the United States. A project of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Institute for International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA).

The Getty Provenance Index Databases
More than 1.7 million records taken from source material such as archival inventories, auction catalogs, and dealer stock books.

Google Art Project
Features content from more than 1,200 leading museums and archives who have partnered with the Google Cultural Institute to bring the world’s treasures online.

The Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association
A vast storehouse documenting the rich and complex history of the state through innovative online features and content.

William J. Hill Texas Artisans and Artists Archive
In the 19th century, Texas artisans & artists created ceramics, furniture, textiles, metalworks, photographs, paintings, and works on paper in this growing region. Their lives, practices, and products are captured in the census records, city directories, newspapers and primary sources included in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Hill Archive.

Initiative run by Open Knowledge that promotes free and open access to digital cultural heritage held by Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums.

Payments to Artists Database
Contains approximately 1,000 payments recorded in Rome between 1576 and 1711. Information concerning painters active in Rome for a small portion of their careers is limited to their Roman phase.

The Portal to Texas History
A gateway to rare, historical, and primary source materials from or about Texas.

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