Curating Architecture

Photograph of TWA Building by Eero Saarinen Associates, Photography By Ezra Stoller, 1962 
Photo: Ezra Stoller, TWA Terminal, 1962. Photograph. Ezra Stoller Archive (Esto).

Key Resources for Curating Architecture

This guide covers how to use Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals in depth, as well as how to find newspaper databases in CLIO, and strategies for locating high quality images in Artstor.

For more architecture resources see my general architecture research guide

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Materials for this class:

Irina Verona

Personal Librarian Meredith Wisner
105 LeFrak Center, Barnard Hall


About Avery Index | Searching in Avery Index | Finding Print Journals | Finding NewspapersFinding Images


About Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

Scope (19th century - present; some citations as early as 1741)

Avery Index is one of the most comprehensive databases for finding articles in the field of architecture, but also covers archaeology, landscape architecture, interior design, decorative arts, garden history, historic preservation, urban planning and design, real estate development and environmental studies. The index is maintained by Columbia University's Avery Library, which is one of the largest architecture libraries in the world.

Avery Index provides citations for journal articles that are available electronically, and also those available only in print. For more information on how to find print articles in Avery Library, please see the Finding Print Journals section of this guide. While images may accompany articles found in Avery Index, the Index does not include an image database per se. To locate images please see the Finding Images section of this guide.

More Information

Searching in Avery Index

You can access Avery Index through two different vendors:


  • Advantage: You can put multiple search terms in a single search box
  • Advantage: The database updates more frequently than EBSCO
  • Disadvantage: Avery Library call numbers are not included in the record

* Proquest also has an extensive database of historical newspapers that you can search at the same time


  • Advantage: Avery Library call numbers can be found at the bottom of the record 
  • Disadvantage: You must put each search term in a separate search box

Note: When searching both databases you may notice that one or the other returns more results. This is due to the frequency of updating on the part of Proquest and EBSCO. They receive the exact same index data, and generally speaking the results should be the same.

Keyword Tips (from Avery Index FAQ):

  • Use Keyword search or Subject search to find architects or firms
  • Searching for buildings works best in Keyword search as well (particularly for buildings with multiple names )
  • Use the all caps boolean search term "OR" to search for multiple building names at once like TWA OR "Trans World Arline"

Searching Avery Index (Proquest)

Searching in Avery Index through Proquest is fairly straightforward, but there are a few tips and tricks to help you find precisely what you are looking for. You can run a basic search and limit your results in a variety of ways to help you find what you need.

Advanced Search: In advanced search you can search for articles that offer a particular feature (photos, plans, elevations, etc.), as well as limit your search to a certain document type or language. You can enter your keywords into a single search box separated by boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT, etc.), or separated to search specific field types (creator, author, subject, etc.) with different keywords.

Screenshot showing how to limit results by selecting a document feature

Search Additional Databases: Avery Index is available through Proquest along with many other discipline specific databases. You can add additional databases to your search by selecting "Change Databases" from the landing page. Proquest allows you to select individual databases, or choose a subject area.

Screenshot showing how to change or add databases


Screenshot showing database selections by subject

Date: Use the date slider to limit your search results by date of publication.

Screenshot showing date slider in Avery Index

Chronological Sort: Review your search results chronologically to see how scholarship around your topic shifted over time.

Screenshot showing sort menu for chronological sorting

Searching in Avery Index (EBSCO)

EBSCO's version of Avery index gives you the Avery Library call number (Proquest does not). This is quite useful for finding articles that are not available digitally, but are available on the shelves of Avery Library.

Screenshot showing call number in EBSCO version of Avery Index


Finding Print Journals

When searching Avery Index in Proquest you will need to use the e-Link to find the call numbers of print journals at Avery Library. EBSCO's index provides this information automatically, Proquest does not.

Screenshot showing e-Link icon

Once you click the e-Link you will need to search for the journal you are looking for by selecting Search CLIO By Title. Clicking this link will bring you back to CLIO Catalog. Multiple journals may be listed when clicking this link. You will need to confirm publisher information and the date of publication to determine which journal listing you need.

Screenshot showing CLIO search feature through e-Link

Call numbers are listed on the right of the CLIO catalog record. Use this number to find your journals at Avery Library.

Screenshot showing call numbers in CLIO

Print journals are located in two locations at Avery Library. Here are some useful maps and things to know:

Periodicals are arranged alphabetically by call number and then chronologically by the date of publication. 

Map of Avery Library showing periodical locations


Slides (finding the periodical room)


Finding Newspaper Databases in CLIO

There are a variety of historic newspaper databases in CLIO that can help you glean historical context and public reception of buildings as they were being constructed. 

  • Select "Databases" from the left hand navigation list (no need to enter anything in the search bar)
  • Select "Browse by Resource Type" in the lower drop down menu to find newspaper databases 

Screenshot in CLIO showing database search

Proquest Historical Newspapers offers the widest coverage for major American newspapers. You can search this database along with the Proquest version of Avery Index (see "Searching in Avery Index" for details).

Finding Images

Reverse Google Image Search

You can search in Google using the image file itself rather than doing a keyword search. This is useful for pinpointing images that are the same or similar to the image your are looking for.

Reverse Google Image Search


Artstor offers more than one million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences with a suite of tools for doing research. Images in Artstor are high quality images for download, with complete descriptive information related to the image itself, and the object(s) depicted. 

Advanced Search: Allows you to search by architect, image creator, and project, and further limit your search by location, classification (architecture, decorative arts, drawing, etc.), by date, or search within institutional collections like Columbia University Image Bank, or all of Artstor.

Screenshot of advanced search in Artstor

Results: You can further refine your search results in the result page.

Screenshot of results page in Artstor

Image View: Offers you all the the rights information you need to make a full citation, and also offers other important information you might not find elsewhere. You can also download high resolution images directly from this page.

Screenshot of image view in Artstor

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