Basic Online Architecture Research

The following are all available 24/7  From the Architecture Library Home Page:

Note:  To access the research databases below 24/7 from off campus, the library barcode on the back of your ID card must be in the library's system. Please check with any campus library's Circulation Desk to make sure YOURS is in!  (Anyone worldwide can access the library's online catalog CUNY+ with no password.)

     1.  To find books:
  • CUNY+, the library’s online catalog. (you can also access CUNY+ from the Arch Library home page by clicking “books, videos and more” above the search box on the left.   
  • Begin with Keyword Searching using a few target search words (OR, if this search retrieves too many non-relevant hits, try a "keyword in subject" search). When you retrieve your results, click the library's name on the right & check at the BOTTOM of the screen for the book's location in that library. It could be in Reference, Reserve, or in the Stacks (these are the circulating books you can borrow). Note the book's "call number" (the book’s shelf address) to find the book in the library. Ask any library staff member for needed help in locating a book/s.  See this guide to call numbers.
  • Books can be renewed online by using the “My Account” tab at the top of the CUNY+ site.
  • “Requests” can be placed online for books from other CUNY schools. This is the CLICS system that attempts to get the book to you within two business days. Click on “Request” on the screen for a book at another CUNY library and choose to which CUNY library you want the book sent. The default is CCNY.  Your library barcode on the back of your CityONE ID is needed.
     2.  To find books outside of CUNY libraries Use:
  • WORLDCAT (Online catalog of books, web resources, and other material worldwide)
  • Click on “Articles via databases” in the left column of the Architecture Library home page.  Chose WorldCat from the alphabetical list of databases.
  • When you find a book or journal on WorldCat that CCNY or CUNY doesn’t own (and the system highlights CCNY & CUNY ownership with green fonts), simply click  “Request via InterLibrary Loan” from the item’s full record.  You’ll be brought to the library’s interlibrary loan service screen: ILIAD. You can register free.   Enter your CCNY email (required; gmail, etc will NOT work.  If you don't know your CCNY email address, go to: & click "student."  Follow the directions which require you to enter the last four digits of your social security no. You'll  find out your assigned email address & you can enter a password.) 
  • . (If you’re requesting a book chapter or journal article, you need to add the full citation information: date, volume no., article/chapter title, pages, etc. This requested material will be emailed to you digitally.)  Requested books will arrive at the Cohen Library Circulation Desk at that library's front entry. You'll be emailed to pick up books there. Count on 7-10 days for delivery. 
  • Need to get the book right away?  Click on the link "Libraries worldwide that own item," in the book's WorldCat record. You may find it somewhere in the NYPL system or at Columbia or another local  private college. If only at a private university, see librarian for access.
           FOR DESIGN/STUDIO CLASSES:   To find suggested books on architectural precedents/building typologies, check this online guide from U/Cal/Berkeley's Environmental Design Library.  The CCNY Architecture Library has nearly all of these books on different types of buildings.  Double check call numbers & locations in CUNY+.   

           Also, design students should look at:

  •  BuildingGreenSuite (BGS) that offers sustainable case studies for building types.  Click the BGS on this alphabetical list:  

     3.  To find articles in journals:             
  • Avery Index
  • This is the best database (from Columbia's Avery Library) to search for citations to articles in architecture journals from the 1930s to the present (some articles go back to the 1880s). This link is directly on the Architecture Library home page. 
  • Remember:  Avery is an index pointing you to the journal in which the article appears. You can check to see if we offer you a particular journal on the Find It box on the article's record in Avery.  If it's not available online, don't give up: we will have many of the journals you need in print in the library. 
  • Finally, if CCNY doesn't own the journal, we'll help you locate it in NYC, OR you can request a digital copy online in WorldCat (see above in books). This will be sent to your CCNY email in a week or less.
  • Art Full Text
  • Also offers citations & some full text for 30 architecture journals.
  • Click on “Articles via databases” in the left column of the screen.  Chose Art Full Text from the alphabetical list of databases.  This database is both an index (from 1929) and a source of SOME full-text articles after 1994.
  •  JSTOR offers researchers the ability to retrieve high-resolution, scanned full-text images of  journal articles as they were originally designed, printed, and illustrated.
  • NOTE:   While JSTOR  is acquiring more current articles, some may not be available for recent year/s.
  • Click on “Articles via databases” in the left column of the library home page.  Chose JSTOR from the alphabetical list of databases.
  •  This database includes about 25 architecture journals. All articles are full-text PDFs.
      4.  Image Databases:

  • Oxford is a good place to start searching for encyclopedic information on your topic, whether it is an architect, a building, an architectural style, or construction method.  The site links to many images.  
  • ARTstor offers nearly one million images with information, from a wide range of cultures and time periods, in art and architecture and other areas.  It offers tools to download images, save them into groups, print them, and create online and offline presentations.

      5.  Additional Research Guide:

Check out the Architecture Librarian's Guide to Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture for lots more help.


       6.  Google Scholar:

This database connects the searcher to some of the library's online full-text journal databases and to information in relevant books scanned by google. It may not be comprehensive, so don’t rely on it alone.   

When you use google scholar off campus, set your computer up as a CCNY computer to read any full-text information offered by CCNY.  NEW: Do the following:

      1. Click on the "Settings" icon on the upper right. 
      2. Click "Library Links" in the left column.
      3. Type ccny in the search box & then check the CCNY box. 
      4. Be sure to click on the blue SAVE box to complete the process of identifying your off-site computer as a CCNY computer before you begin your scholar search.  These actions will allow you to read full-text materials offsite. (You may be asked to sign in with your CCNY email the first time you access a full-text article with your ID barcode.)

Library Research Help Needed?
Contact: Judy Connorton, Librarian
Architecture Library - Spitzer 101

212 650 8766 or

        Updated July 2013