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Design History

Databases for Finding Design History Articles


Begin by searching the databases below to find periodical article citations and full text periodical articles on your topic.

If you are off-campus, sign in to use the resources below with your netID and password.


Art History databases A-Z logo

50 databases Northwestern subscribes to for Art and Architecture, listed A-Z
(click for the full list and descriptions of each resource)


Highlights found there which are particularly helpful for design topics include:

Google Scholar

You can also use Google Scholar to find links to article or book citations in other texts, or related materials.

Google Scholar Search

Getting the Articles Themselves


Once you have found a list of citations for articles on your topic in the databases, how do you get the articles themselves?


  1. Sometimes the full text of the article is already attached to the database citation, as a PDF or HTML file. (Yay!) If so, just click to open, save, or print it!

  2. More often, the databases provide the citation only, telling you where to find the articles. Check NUsearch to see if Northwestern has the periodical in our collection and if we have the issue or date you need. (Search by the title of the journal or magazine, not the title of the specific article.)

  3. If our library does have the title and issue/date you need, you can go to the shelf to find and scan the article yourself, or you can request that the library scan it for you
    If Northwestern does not collect the magazine or journal you need, or we do not have access to the issue or date you need, you can request the article via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Northwestern will request a scan from another library and then forward it on to you.

Scholary vs. Popular: Periodicals Vocab

Periodicals are also called "serials," a synonym.

They are published on a predetermined schedule, such as once a week, four times a year, annually, etc. Each issue of a periodical is usually filled with multiple pieces of writing (the articles), written by multiple authors.


In general, magazines are more popular. They are written and marketed for a wide audience of anyone interested in the topic. Abitare is a good example of a popular design magazine. Popular magazines can often be found at large newsstands or mainstream bookstores, and they include advertisements for art galleries, design firms, and many consumer products in addition to their articles.

Journal of Design History

Journals are generally more scholarly, written for a narrower audience of academics and fellow scholars of the topic. The Journal of Design History is a good example of a scholarly design history journal. Journals do not usually include many advertisements, and the articles include footnotes, bibliographies, and the other aspects of scholarly research.

Periodicals by Topic

Here are links to NUsearch, Northwestern's library catalog search tool, for online and print journals and magazines on design: