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Database Review: ArtSource

July 8, 2013

Barbara Opar, Column editor
Column submitted by Barret Havens, Asst. Professor and Outreach Librarian, Woodbury University

ArtSource, a relatively new offering from academic database provider Ebscohost, incorporates all of the full-text periodicals previously available via the Art and Architecture Complete and Art Full Text databases along with 70 additional periodical titles. Of the total of 630 full-text journals available via ArtSource, 76 titles were deemed by this reviewer to be directly related to architecture, interior design, landscape design, or urban planning. Most of the titles in addition to those 76 were also deemed worthwhile as they represent a broad range of art and design topics that are essential to a well-rounded architecture collection.

Indexing (non-full-text records) within ArtSource is extensive, and incorporates all of the content from Art Index, Art Index Retrospective, and Art Abstracts. Since the database does include so much content from other digital collections for which institutions may already be paying, adding ArtSource to the mix could be an affordable upgrade, as it was for this reviewer’s institution since they were already subscribing to Art Full Text. Unfortunately, though there is a great deal of overlap, ArtSource subscribers will not have access to all of the records indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals.

To those familiar with other databases offered on the Ebscohost platform, there will be few surprises when it comes to searching. Limiters such as document type and publication type, the ability to limit to peer-reviewed publications, and other standard features are available. What is lacking, however, is the ability to limit by the variety of drawing types that are included in the “physical description” limiter of The Avery Index. The image descriptions by which a searcher may limit in ArtSource are somewhat vague: “diagram,” “illustration,” “map,” “chart,” etc. 

One useful feature for exploring images within the database is “image quick view.” When this option is toggled, a selection of images contained within each article in the list of results appears below the item. It is easy to access those images without going into the article itself as they can be opened as separate files. Conveniently, each image file comes with its own bibliographic record detailing the source.

This method of accessing images is also provided for the 220 e-books in the collection, which are available in PDF format. What is somewhat confusing about exploring the e-books, however, is the fact that they are broken into article-sized chunks; you will see chapters or small portions of books listed in the search results, making it difficult to make sense of how to access and navigate the entire work. It would probably make more sense to provide access to these e-books by loading the records into your institution’s library catalog.

Publishing embargoes (delay before releasing full text articles) are not excessive compared to other databases, but a considerable number of journals are only available for a short chronological range. Furthermore, though well over half of the architecture-related periodicals available in full-text are in .pdf format, a significant portion are .html and therefore do not include images that may have been in the original publication. 

Overall, this database is comprehensive, easy to use, and relatively affordable for institutions that are already subscribing to databases that are incorporated in ArtSource. But, though it may provide your institution’s Avery Index users with more full-text via your link resolver, it cannot be considered a one-stop-shop for architecture researchers since it does not contain all of the content indexed in The Avery Index

ArtSource periodicals directly related to architecture/planning

Title Full-text start Full-text stop Full text delay (embargo) PDF w/ images avail?
Architect 2006 no
Architect-designed Houses 1996 1997 no
Architecton 2011 yes
Architect's Journal 2006 no
Architectural Design 2011 12 mo. yes
Architectural Digest 1995 no
Architectural Heritage 1998 12 mo.  yes
Architectural Record 1998 no
Architectural Review  1993 no
Architectural Science Review 2008 2010 no
Architectural Theory Review 2008 18 mo.  yes
Architecture-Technology-Culture 2009 yes
Architecture and Urban Planning  2008 yes
Architecture Australia 1996 yes
Architecture Boston 2012 yes
Architecture Ireland 2013 yes
Architecture New Zealand 2009 yes
Architecture of Israel 2008 yes
Architecture Plus Design 2010 2011 no
Architecture_media_politics_society 2012 yes
Architectus 2011 yes
Arkitektur Aktuell 2004 12 mo. yes
Archivos de Arquitectura Antillana 2008 yes
ArchNet-IJAR 2008 yes
ARQ (Chile) 2005 2011 no 
ARRIS 2012 2012 no
Assemblage 1997 2000 no
Buildings & Landscapes 2007 yes
Cadernos d'Obra 2011 yes
Canadian Architect 2002 yes
Center 2010 no
Construction Specifier 2012 yes
Daidalos 1990 2000 no
DEARQ 2007 yes
Detail 2007 yes
Early Homes 2010 yes
Evolo 2009 yes
Fabrications 2007 12 mo. yes
FORM: Pioneering Design 2008 yes
Frame (Netherlands) 2013 yes
Future Anterior 2007 yes
Garden Design 2008 yes
GreenSource 2010 no
Grey Room 2000 12 mo. yes
Home Cultures 2004 2010 no
Hospitality Design 1993 yes
Inland Architect 1997 2001 no
Interior Design 1998 yes
Int'l Journal of Islamic Architecture 2012 yes
Interventions/Adaptive Reuse 2009 yes
Issues in Art, Architecture, and Design 1995 1999 yes
ITU Journal Series A: Arch., Planning, and Design 2009 yes
IUP Journal of Architecture 2010 2012 yes
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 1998 2011 no
Journal of Architectural Education 1999 12 mo.  yes
Journal of Architectural Engineering 1995 12 mo. yes
Journal of Interior Design 2004 12 mo. yes
Journal of the American Planning Association 1990 18 mo.  yes
Landscape Architecture Australia 2009 yes
Landscape Design/Build 2005 2007 yes
Landscape Journal  1997 yes
L'Architettura  1998 2003 no
Lighting Design & Application 2011 yes
Places: Forum of Design for the Public Realm 1997 yes
Plan: Architecture & Technologies in Detail 2011 yes
Planning  1993 yes
Rassegna di Architettura e Urbanistica 2012 yes
Revista Proyecto, Progreso, Arquitectura 2012 yes
Time-based Architecture Int'l 2009 2009 yes
Town Planning & Architecture 2004 yes
TPR: Town Planning Review 2004 yes
Vernacular Architecture 2005 12 mo.  yes
Vernacular Architecture Newsletter 2009 yes
Werk, Bauen, und Wohnen  2001 yes
Winterthur Portfolio 1999 yes

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