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Visual Arts: Search tips

An overview of the library resources and services relevant to all the visual arts (including glass/glazing, graphic design, illustration, jewellery)

This page provides some tips around searching for resources, from very specific searches to broad searches.

The search continuum. Left hand side is very specific, the right hand side is broad. From Left to Right: (1) Search by title, author, artist (2) Multiple keyword search (3) Single keyword search (4) Browse by Subject Heading or Call Number

Keyword Search

When searching for resources, sometimes you know the exact title, author or artist. Other times you'll search by keyword or combinations of keywords.

Keyword Search
When you do a keyword search, FindIt will retrieve results that contain that keyword anywhere within that resource record (or even from within the resource itself if it is a digital resource). This often means you’ll retrieve a large number of resources. Keyword searches are great if you have a specific term in mind. Combining keywords will often create searches that are more specific.

Subject Headings

How can you browse when you don't know exactly what it is you're looking for? 

You can browse in a couple of ways: by subject heading or by call numbers (only applicable to print books and physical library resources). Remember you can filter these results even further in order to make your search more specific.

Subject Headings

Each resource is usually given a series of subject headings. Think of them as tags, but tags that have been carefully chosen by librarians to ensure accuracy. Longer subject headings usually denote a more specific topic.

Subject headings are often hyperlinked in the FindIt results, so once you find one relevant resource, it’s to find other related content. You can also search FindIt by subject too, meaning you’re not relying on whether an author has used a particular keyword.

Here are some broad subject headings:

Australian art

Costume design

Graphic arts



Textile arts

*FindIt and most library catalogues will pick up most spelling variations

Call Numbers

Items in the library are shelved according to call numbers so that related materials are kept together. Visual arts are found within 700-780. Each successive number indicates a more specific level (for example, 700 = Arts, 740 = Decorative arts, 746 = Textile arts, 746.9 = Fashion). The below table will give you an idea of where to look for specific visual arts topics:

Call Numbers

700-709 The Arts
701 Philosophy & theory

702 Miscellany (includes techniques, procedures)

703 Dictionaries & encyclopedias

704 Special topics.

            704.03 Aboriginal art
            704.9 Iconography

706 Organizations, management
, business

707 Education, research

Galleries, museums, private collections

709 Specific artists, areas, historical periods

730-739 Sculpture
730 Philosophy, historical periods

731 Techniques

736 Carving and carvings
738 Ceramic arts

739 Jewellery and metalwork

740-749 Drawing & Decorative Arts
742 Perspective

743 Drawing & drawings by subject (anatomy, botanical etc)

745 Decorative arts 

            745.2 Industrial art and design

            745.4 Pure and applied design and decoration

            745.5 Handicrafts

            745.6 Calligraphy, illumination, heraldic design

746 Textile arts 

            746.4 Needle- and handwork
            746.6 Printing, painting, dyeing

            746.9 Fashion

747 Interior decoration

748 Glass

749 Furniture

750-759 Painting 
750 Painting & paintings  

            750.1 Philosophy and theory 
751 Techniques, equipment, forms  

            751.4 Techniques and procedures 
            751.7 Specific forms 

752 Colour 

757 Human figures & their parts 

759 Historical, areas, specific artists 

            759.994 Australian 

760-769 Printmaking 

770-779 Photography 
770 Photography & photographs  

            770.9 Historical, geographic, persons treatment 
771 Techniques, equipment, materials  

776 Digital art (including programs,eg Photoshop) 

777 Cinematography and Videography 

778 Fields & kinds of photography  

            778.3 Special kinds of photography 
            778.5 Motion pictures & television photography 
            778.9 Photography of specific subjects 

779 Photographs (specific artists etc)