Subject Guides: Design History & Theory
This quick guide provides you with information on the collections, services and facilities that are useful for your subject area, all helpfully gathered together in one place.
Get To Know Your Librarian
Your academic liaison librarian is here to support you during your studies, and can help you source, access and use the resources you need, both in GSA Library and elsewhere
Before You Start
Watch our short orientation videos for quick bitesize guidance on how to access and use our collections and facilities.
Discover the Library
Use Discover to search across our print collection of 60,000 books and journals, as well as the 1000s of online resources we subscribe to on your behalf, all from a single search box. Your results will provide details of a resource’s physical or virtual location and its availability. Read our Borrowing Materials page to find out more about how to borrow from us and your entitlements.
Find Your Key Texts
Your programme leaders or tutors may provide lists of key texts that you are required to read as part of your studies. To access your list of texts, log into Canvas and browse the left-hand menu of your course.
Reference copies of most of your required readings will be held at our Service Desk and can be borrowed for up to 3 hours. Extra copies, where possible, can be found on the open shelves and borrowed for 3 weeks. These are complemented, where available, by electronic versions which are perfect for quick reading, checking facts, or for when the library is closed.
Access Your Course Materials
Canvas provides access to all your course materials, from timetables to project briefs, and from contact details to assignments.
Browse Our Shelves
There may be times when you simply want to browse the library’s shelves for books on particular topics – the useful shelfmarks below will help you.
- 001.4 Research methodologies and study skills
- 150 Psychology
- 190 Philosophy
- 200 Faith and belief
- 301 Sociological method
- 302.23 The media
- 302.35 Ideation
- 303.483 Digital cultures
- 305.3 LGBTQI
- 305.4 Feminism
- 305.8 Race
- 306 Material cultures
- 307.76 Place and meaning
- 320 Politics
- 330 Economics
- 381.1 Consumer cultures
- 534 Sound cultures
- 612 The body
- 701.4 Semiotics
- 745.201 Design theory
- 745.209 Design history
- 791.43 Film theory
To complement our print collections, we subscribe to hundreds of online resources, from e-books to e-journals, and from image databases to film. These resources are great for essays or dissertations, and can be accessed even when the library is closed. To find out how to access our electronic resources off-campus, see our Databases A-Z page.
Databases with most relevance to your subject include:
- Art and Architecture Archive
- Art and Architecture Source
- Bloomsbury Design Library
- Bloomsbury Fashion Central
- Vogue Archive Online
Browse Journals and Magazines
Journals and magazines are a great way of keeping up-to-date with contemporary practice in your field, because it can take a while for cutting-edge practice to be written up in books.
All our print journals are arranged on our shelves alphabetically by title, with the latest issues found in the reading area on Level 1 of the library. In many cases we also stock back-runs, and these can be found on rolling shelves towards the back of Level 0.
Please note that, unlike our books, journals are reference-only and cannot be borrowed, though individual articles can be photocopied subject to copyright limits.
Alongside our print journals, we also subscribe to 1000s of electronic journals. Journals and magazines with most relevance to your subject include:
- Design Issues
- Journal of Design History
- Journal of Visual Culture
- New Left Review
- Third Text
- Visual Inquiry
Read Magazines On-The-Go
Our eMagazines service allows you to discover digital magazines across art, design and architecture, and read them online. For many of our magazines, past issues are also available for you. You can even download our e-magazines to your mobile device for offline reading – perfect for when you are out and about.
Watch Film and Moving Image
Planet estream is a video streaming service offering access to nearly 2,000 off-air recordings of films, documentaries and animation across a host of subjects, with new content being added all the time. Search for content by keyword or category
MUBI is a curated showcase of independent and arthouse cinema. GSA students can sign up for a free account here.
Our DVD collection is located on Level 0 of the library and provides around 2000 artists’ films, documentaries, animations and movies. Our Borrowing Material page provides information on your borrowing entitlements. Our Databases A-Z page provides information on the online film and moving image resources available to you.
Read Past Dissertations
We hold past dissertations from most GSA programmes of study, often going back several years. Many students like to look at previous examples of successful dissertations when beginning to prepare their own. All our dissertations can be browsed here.
Other Useful Resources
Depending on your interests or the projects or electives you undertake, the following resources may also prove useful to you during your studies.
Can’t Find What You Are Looking For?
There will be times when you require resources that even the most specialist of libraries cannot supply. But don’t worry, as there as several ways in which you can access the resources you need.
Learn how to find the information you need, critically evaluate it, and reference it correctly in your dissertations and projects with InfosmART, our award-winning portfolio of easy-to-follow interactive modules in study and research skills.