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ARCH 53311— Issues in Sacred Architecture

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Getting Started

The Architecture Library houses valuable resources that will enhance your research and study of Sacred Architecture.  This guide will show you step-by-step how to conduct your research and, more specifically, how to search for information on Sacred Architecture.

Beginning your research:

First choose the building you wish to research.  Explore your topic and develop a strategy for finding information. What are the most important aspects? These ideas become your 'keywords' to search with. For researching an architect, the architect’s name is your keyword. For researching a style or movement, that name would be the keyword to start with. It is important to start broadly and then to narrow your search process.

When researching a particular building it is important to note that not all buildings have books. You should always start your search with the name of your building.  After that you will need to broaden your search with the name of the architect, if known, and then the name of the city or country your building is in. 

It is helpful to create a chart that describes all aspects of what you are looking for.  This can easily be achieved by a search on Wikipedia or another Internet source. 

Example: Searching for a specific building

Architect's Name: Leon Battista Alberti
Building Name: Malatesta Temple
Alternate Names: Tempio Malatestiano, Church of San Francesco at Rimini
Location: Rimini, Italy 
Associated Names: Sigismondo Malatesta (patron), Pope Pius II, Isotta degli Atti 
Associated Architects/Artists: Matteo de'Pasti, Piero della Francesca, Agostino di Duccio 
Other Keywords: engaged columns, triumphal arch

Oxford Art Online

Search Oxford Art Online

Oxford Art Online is the access point for five databases: Grove Art Online (formerly called the Grove Dictionary of Art), the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, and the Oxford Companion to Western Art. These databases can be searched jointly or separately.

Grove Art Online is the foremost scholarly art encyclopedia, covering both Western and non-Western art. First published as the Dictionary of Art, the content of Grove Art encompasses all aspects of visual culture. It includes bibliographies as well as thousands of searchable images.

The Benezit Dictionary of Artists has nearly 170,000 entries on artists from antiquity to the present day.  It covers many obscure artists, and includes images of artists’ signatures, monograms, and stamps.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms provides 1,800 entries on art terms, critical periods, and styles in a quick reference format.

The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics is a comprehensive survey of major concepts, thinkers, and debates about the meaning, uses, and value of all the arts, from the fine to the popular.

The Oxford Companion to Western Art contains more than 2,600 entries, including art movements, theory, and criticism.

Ryan Rare Book Room

The Ryan Rare Book Room houses many rare and unique volumes, including those on Sacred Architecture. Be sure to check the catalog to see if there are any books related to your research.

The room is accessible by appointment only, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM. Please visit the appointment page to request an appointment.

Exploring Architecture Through Early Publications showcases some of our volumes housed in the RRBR that have been digitized and are keyword searchable.