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Databases: Databases A-Z

Key databases offered at SIA London

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What is a database?

A database is a structured collection of information. Our databases usually contain one or more of the following:

  • articles and papers - the full text from journals and other sources
  • abstracts - summaries of articles and papers
  • citations - basic details of articles, papers and books, as in a bibliography
  • financial data - from the art world
  • images.


Source: divinetechygirl.


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This page lists all databases SIA London subscribes to, plus the most important free databases.  More free databases can be accessed via the databases by subject tab. Remember: it's often best to use Summon, which searches many databases at once.


ABI/INFORM Collection

  • 99% of content included in Summon

Consists of three databases: ABI/INFORM Dateline, ABI/INFORM Global, and ABI/INFORM Trade and Industry. Provides full text access to business publications such as the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and the Economist.


Art & Architecture Source (EBSCO)

  • 94% of content included in Summon.  Separate search recommended due to significant gaps in coverage of some key journals

A major collection of journal articles and more. Includes over 600 full text journals, over 220 e-books, and citations and abstracts to further material. Incorporates the contents previously found in Art Full Text, Art Index Retrospective and Art & Architecture Complete. Can be searched as part of EBSCO: combined search.


ARTbibliographies Modern

  • citations included in Summon, but text of articles only included if in another database

An index of journal articles about art published from 1974 onwards, with some earlier material. Also includes details of some books, dissertations and other material. No access to the text of the resources themselves. However you may be able to find these by searching in Summon, the SIA journals list, or in another database such as Art & Architecture Source.



  • content not included in Summon

Two auction price databases, for fine arts and decorative arts. Over 2.9 million records from over 500 auction houses since 1985. Over half of the records include illustrations. Over 1,000 galleries are featured. The library subscribes to the price database only, and not to the analytics report packages.



  • content not included in Summon

Database of 30 million auction prices and indices, detailed auction results and 635,000+ artists. Lists upcoming auctions for over 6300 auction houses. Archive of 210,000 fine art auctions. Artists’ reports, art market key figures and trends by country. Includes access to Mayer auction prices 1963-1987, Mireur dictionary of auctions 1700-1900, and the annual report Art Market Trends.


  • some content included in Summon; all included in JSTOR

Searchable database of more than 1 million images. Covers many time periods and cultures, and documents the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, design, and many other forms of visual culture. 



  • content not included in Summon

ArtTactic sends an individual log-in to each MA/PGDip student in the first semester, by email.
If you cannot find your log-in details, then go to the lost password page and a request a new password with your SIA email address.  If your email address is not recognised, try your personal email address instead.  If that is not recognised either, please email with details of how you have tried to log-in. We will contact ArtTactic on your behalf.


Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA)

  • content only included in Summon if found in another database as well as BHA

This citation database covers material published between 1975 and 2007. BHA includes articles from over 1,200 journals. BHA includes all articles within the subject scope of BHA regardless of the subject focus of a particular journal. Thus, many of the journals on this list are covered partially, as only some of their articles are within BHA's scope.


Business Source Premier (EBSCO)

  • 99% content included in Summon

Important business research database, providing full text for more than 2,300 journals, including full text for more than 1,100 peer-reviewed titles. Includes the Harvard Business Review and the Academy of Management Review.  With a British Library reader's ticket you can access a more comprehensive version of this database: visit the British Library's electronic resources list, and search for Business Source Complete.  Business Source Premier can be searched as part of EBSCO: combined search.


Chicago Manual of Style

  • not included in Summon

16th edition of the definitive guide to Chicago referencing. Includes recommendations on editorial style and publishing practices in the digital age.


Ebook Central

  • almost 100% of content included in Summon

Access to over 75,000 academic e-books. You need to create your own free account to access all features, including downloading whole books, adding notes and highlighting passages of interest to you. However this account is not needed for reading online, or downloading single pages or chapters. Ebook Central is particularly good for general business titles and some key art titles.


EBSCO: combined search

  • 95% of content included in Summon

Simultaneously searches all EBSCO databases subscribed to by SIA at once, most importantly Art & Architecture Source, Business Source Premier and GreenFILE. See Business Source Premier, higher up this page, for info about accessing a more comprehensive version of this database via the British Library.


Google Scholar

  • some content included in Summon

An alternative to Summon for finding scholarly material from many sources at once. Includes scholarly material not indexed by the main Google search engine, such a selection of content from university repositories. Does not personalise your results, unlike the main Google search engine.

There are two ways of using Scholar to link to SIA databases:

  • follow a link such as this from the library website, or:
  • on the Scholar homepage, choose Settings from the top menu, and then Library links from the menu on the left. Enter Sotheby's in the search box that appears, and you should be given the option to tick and then save Sotheby's Institute of Art - New York/UK. Your choice should be saved until you clear your cookies.

Material that is free to read online will have a PDF link, or online at SIA link, or similar, on the right of the screen. Many articles come in multiple versions, accessed by the small link All x versions below each result.  This is worth checking as alternative versions may be available even if the primary version is not.

Under each Google Scholar search result, you will see a link to later papers and other resources that have cited the resource in question. This can be useful for evaluating how influential a paper has been, and for following the subsequent scholarly debate.



  • content not included in Summon

(Please email for username and password: available to current SIA staff and students only)
Prices and other information about sales of fine and decorative arts and collectable objects, worldwide. Includes details of upcoming auctions and an auctioneer's directory.



  • all journal articles,95% of e-books and many but not all images included in Summon

An important collection, focused on the arts and humanities. 
SIA's subscription does not cover the whole of JSTOR. However if you need an article which is not included in the SIA subscription, two weeks' access is often possible by creating a free MyJSTOR account and using the Register & Read service.


Nexis Uni

  • most content included in Summon, but separate search recommended due to gaps in coverage and intermittent problems linking through from Summon to Nexis Uni

Major database of legal resources, with much business-oriented material. Includes journal and newspaper articles, legislation and other official legal documents. Mostly full-text.


Oxford Art Online

  • all content included in Summon

Use the link above to search these two reference works together:

  • Grove Art Online: a great starting point for studying an artist, school, medium or theme. Articles are often detailed and include bibliographies for further reading. Global coverage but particularly good for western art.
  • Benezit Dictionary of Artists: global coverage, but particularly good for European artists. Includes biographies, summaries of work, selected museum listings, and often reproductions of signatures, monograms and stamps of sale.
  • It is easier to search the following three Oxford databases separately (but note that a search in one will return results from all three):
  • Oxford Companion to Western Art: a useful supplement to Grove and Benezit.
  • Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Termsauthoritative definitions of terms in the visual arts. 
  • Encyclopedia of Aesthetics: the most substantial English-language reference work devoted to aesthetics. Articles cover both historical and contemporary concepts and debates.


Oxford Art Online contains many high-quality images, and it is again possible to filter your search to find these.


ProQuest: combined search

  • virtually all content included in Summon

Searches all the listed ProQuest databases at once including Art and Architecture Archive,  Arts & Humanities Full Text, ProQuest Research Library, various newspapers, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses and the Publicly Available Content Database. Options are available to include/exclude individual databases.


ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global: Humanities and Social Sciences

  • all content probably included in Summon

Very large collection of doctoral and masters' dissertations and theses in the world. Sotheby's Institute of Art - New York dissertations from 2011 onwards are included.


Sotheby's and Christie's sales catalogues, 2020 onwards

  • content not included in Summon 

(Please email for password: available to current SIA staff and students only)
PDFs of sales catalogues issued since 2020 (Sotheby's) and 2021 (Christie's). Includes sales held in London, New York, Hong Kong and Paris.


US Major Dailies

  • all content included in Summon

Includes five titles: the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post