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Architecture: Search for Information

How to search for and find architectural literature and images

Finding books & articles

 

A good place to begin searching is in the Library catalogue. Use the Library catalogue to find books and journal articles on your topic. 

For detailed instructions on using the Library catalogue, watch this video:

Tips for searching... 

  • Books

If you can find a book all about a building, an architect, or an architectural process then that's ideal, because books tend to contain more information than any other type of literature. Use general or broad terms to do such searches. 

  • Journal articles

Try restricting your search to peer reviewed articles. Because peer reviewed articles have been double-checked by academic experts, it's easier to be sure that the words and ideas you're using are of sufficient quality for a university assignment. 

Example: 

A Library Catalogue search for the keywords: Seagram Building found this book & peer reviewed journal article about the building. 

The Seagram Building by Ezra Stoller 1999

Finberg, K.C. (2016). Frank O'Hara rebuilds the Seagram Building. Textual Practice, 20(1), 113-142.

Evaluating your results

 

Not all the information you get from a search will be useful. A successful search will show results relevant to your topic. If your results are not relevant go back and try different keywords in your search.

To evaluate whether your source is of sufficient quality use the C.R.A.P Test. Click on the letters of the acronym to learn more:

Advanced Searching

Having tested a simple search like Seagram Building, we can now try a Boolean search. This one is:
"Seagram Building" AND (design OR morphology OR construction)

Again, the intention here is to find more topical material and to bring articles from lower down in the results list up to the top of the search so we can find them more easily

Notice that when you add the extra search terms it changes the top aricle hit in the search?

Other places to search

 

Using the same searches you've mapped our earlier, try using some of the key resources for architecture, like Proquest, Taylor and Francis Online Journals and JSTOR. You'll find the results are different in each database. The picture below is one of the top hits from JSTOR.

'Modern architecture and corporate America in the 1950's' - article found in JSTOR database

Finding images

 

The requirement to find images for a building is common in architecture assignments. You can use the image resources listed in this guide to find some good content, such as this photo of the Seagram Building interior from ArtStor. 

Photo of Seagram Building Interior from ArtStor

Image credit: Stoller, E. (1958). Seagram building, interior, corner office [Photograph]. ArtStor. www.artstor.org

There's also a great talk by Mies van der Rohe in Pidgeon Digital where he talks at length about designing the Seagram Building.. 

If you need building plans, take a look at our Finding Building Plans guide (on the right of screen) where we show you how to find those too!