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Books on Art

Understanding the Library's call number system can save you time in locating information. Because call numbers are assigned to the first subject heading listed for a book in the HSU Library Catalog, knowing something about call numbers will also help you to evaluate the results of searches you perform in the HSU Library Catalog. Our Library uses the same call numbers for our Reference collection, our print periodicals, and our main book stacks. Once you have identified the call number or numbers relevant to your subject, you can use this information to browse in the various parts of the Library.

Our Library uses the Library of Congress Classification System to assign call numbers. In this system, the first two or three lines of a call number identify the subject of a book or other item. The fine arts are classified in the N section. At the beginning go works on the history, biography, and exhibitions for the visual arts in general. Following that, there are sections for the various artistic media. These sections are sub-arranged by subject (equestrian statues in sculpture, for example, or portraits in painting), then country, and finally by individual artists, alphabetically. Each medium has its own history, biography, and exhibition section. At the end of the N classification is NX, a miscellaneous category for all arts in general and comparisons among them, for example works dealing with painting and literature.

Chronological arrangements occur in different places throughout the classification. Because the emphasis is on medium, works on individual artists can be found in different parts of the classification, depending on which media the artist works in. For example, books on Picasso's paintings would in ND, while books on his printmaking would be in NE.

Here is an abbreviated guide to call numbers in the N classification:

N  Visual arts in general  
  NA  Architecture
     NA 4830
     NA 7710-7786

  NB  Sculpture
     NB 1272-1291
     NB 1312-1313

Mobiles, color, sculpture gardens, etc.
Equestrian statues
  NC  Drawing, design, illustrations
     NC 997-1003
     NC 1800-1850

Commercial art
  ND  Painting
     ND 49-813
     ND 1300-1337
     ND 1700-2495
     ND 2550-2733

History of painting
Watercolor painting
Mural painting
  NE  Print media
     NE 1000-1352
       NE 1310-1326.5
       NE 1330-1336
       NE 1340
     NE 1400-1879
     NE 1940-2232.5
     NE 2236-2240.6

Wood engraving
     Japanese prints
     Linoleum block prints
     Fish prints
Metal engraving
Etching and aquatint
  NK  Decorative arts
     NK 3700
     NK 5439.A77
     NK 7300

Art glass
  NX  the Arts in general
     NX 80
     NX 165

Biography for "those creative in several arts"
Psychology of the arts and the artist

Photography is classified in TR. The emphasis in this section is on the process, equipment, and genres of photography, more than on the photographers, so, again, an individual photographer may have more than one relevant number.

Here is an abbreviated summary of the photography sections of TR:

TR 15 General history of photography
TR 139 Collective biography of photographers
TR 140 A-Z Biographies of individual photographers, alphabetically
TR 287-335 Darkroom techniques
TR 640-688 Artistic photography
    TR 647 A-Z     Exhibitions of the works of individual photographers
    TR 650-654     Collections of work by one photographer with little biographical material
    TR 656.5-688     Special subjects and techniques
TR 721-733 Nature photography
TR 820 Photojournalism

To find books, use library catalogs, such as the HSU Library Catalog, WorldCat, or other libraries. The search terms recommended for the HSU Library Catalog searches also work in most other library catalogs and search techniques are similar. If you need help in searching a particular library catalog, please Ask a Librarian.

The HSU Library Catalog may use the artist's name, often with birth and death dates, as the author or the subject for books about the artist's work. The most comprehensive way to search for books about an artist or their work is to do a Keyword search, putting the artist's name in quotation marks.
If a book is entirely about one of the artist's works, the title of the work can be used for searching, too. For example: rembrandt "night watch"

If our Library doesn't own a book that you want, please request it from our interlibrary loan service. Please note that our interlibrary loan service is available to currently enrolled HSU students, faculty, and staff only.