“An outstanding research tool" – Library Journal, Best in Reference 2022
“Bloomsbury Architecture Library provides a comprehensive examination of architectural history divided by place, period, style, material, and architect,” ranging “from before 3000 BCE to 2019 (at the time of this review),” wrote Cason Snow for ccAdvisor. A majority of the collection comes from Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture, supplemented with additional ebooks and an image collection. All of this content is primarily accessible through the Explore tab, the keyword search bar, or the browse by content type function, which enables users to peruse ebooks, key buildings, timelines, maps, images, and glossaries.
Overall, the platform does a good job of presenting a comprehensive overview of architecture with fairly representative coverage from around the world and high quality, current materials introducing various aspects of architecture and design. Regular updates should also expand the scope of this tightly focused resource, which is “authoritatively researched and presented, providing quality information that can be buried in other more generalized art and architecture resources,” Snow elaborated, making it ideal for undergraduates and secondary-school students in particular. Additional advantages that Snow pinpointed include Bloomsbury's use of a controlled vocabulary and short description for search results, as well as the regional and chronological presentation of information, which can be useful in other disciplines. Helpfully, multiresource navigation is also fairly seamless if working across Bloomsbury products.
Three other products that are prominent in the academic field that also cover architecture include Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals and Art, Design & Architecture Collection from ProQuest, and Art & Architecture Source from EBSCO. However, “none of the competing resources have the specific focus of Bloomsbury Architecture Library and can lead to a high signal-to-noise ratio in search results,” Snow concluded.
for Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture 21st edition
The Colvin Prize is awarded annually to the author or authors of an outstanding work of reference of use and value to architectural historians and the discipline of architectural history, across a range of formats.
The very first edition of the Banister Fletcher book was published in 1896, and this 21st Edition has been totally rewritten by 88 leading scholars from around the world. It offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date survey of the architecture of all regions over the past 5,500 years. It creates what is the most globally balanced and culturally inclusive account of architectural history to date.
The chair of the SAHGB's judging panel, President-Elect Professor Elizabeth McKellar, stated: "This is a monumental achievement...The editors and publishers have ensured its status as the primary reference work for the subject for many years to come, and provided a showcase for architectural history as a vibrant, engaged and forward-looking discipline across the world."
You can find full details about the prize and the judges on the SAHGB website here. Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture 21st Edition is exclusively available in digital format on Bloomsbury Architecture Library.
"Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture (21st ed.), presents an entirely rewritten version of the classic guide to architecture of the world filled with useful essays and valuable images."
“Bloomsbury Architecture Library’s exceptional navigation tools, options for access, and enhanced features make the database an outstanding research tool for anyone interested in historical and modern architecture... New collections are scheduled to be added to this database; stay tuned for more information, as these collections will make an already first-rate resource even more appealing.”
“None of the competing resources have the specific focus of Bloomsbury Architecture Library.”
“Authoritatively researched and presented, providing quality information that can be buried in other more generalized art and architecture resources.”
“The sharp focus of this site provides an excellent starting point for research on architecture.”
"The Architectural Association Library conducted a small survey of its users whilst trialling...feedback highlighted that no other database currently offers the global and historical coverage the Bloomsbury Architecture Library is offering."
By Barnabas Calder
"Every university library should subscribe to the online edition."
Praise for Sir Banister Fletcher’s Global History of Architecture: "These two hefty, scholarly volumes will help immeasurably in allowing English-speaking students and scholars to step outside their traditional comfort zone and see architecture in its truly global complexity and richness."
"This is a book that deserves to be on the shelf not only of every architect and architecture student, but of anyone who wants to know more about the history of the world."
"Both print and online versions are intelligently and thoughtfully detailed: coloured page ends ease physical navigation, while online page numbers and page divisions are indicated unobtrusively, allowing proper referencing in a way that some digital versions of academic books unforgivably neglect."
By Gricel Dominguez
‘Bloomsbury is known for attractive, user-friendly interfaces that showcase their resources in an eye-catching layout, and Applied Visual Arts does not disappoint.’
‘With subscription and perpetual access models available for purchase, BAVA’s collection of modern and practical ebook content is a solid investment for educational and organizational institutions that support the visual arts. (…) overall, content is easy to search and explore. A good resource for institutions that support fine arts studies, media, film, marketing, and other visual arts, as well as practical aspects of the field and professional development.’
These awards celebrate novel ideas and solutions to existing challenges, where innovation has been translated into worthwhile benefits – financial or social.
By Rachel Turner
‘The site has a clear layout that is consistent across most pages and the content seems to be abundant.’
‘(It) provides a solid foundation of scholarly resources on art, architecture, and design.’
‘The user interface is simple, consistent, and easy to navigate.’
‘BDL provides an abundance of vetted scholarly material that is easy to navigate. The broad range of art and design topics makes this site a good starting point for college-level researchers.’
‘Rich in complete book content, the site offers users a broad overview of art and design throughout history. (Overall) BDL offers a fairly comprehensive, easy-to-navigate overview of art, architecture and design from 1500 to the present.’
‘The site’s clean layout and its rich scholarly information makes it a useful starting point for those beginning research into the art, architecture, or design of a specific time, place, or person.’
‘BDL’s focus on products is unique, the reviewer knows of no other publisher that has created a site that offers all of its seminal works on a topic.’
By Saraleah Fordyce
‘The Bloomsbury Design Library is more curated than most databases and more expansive than a journal.’
‘It could be seen as Bloomsbury’s answer to Phaidon Design Classics, a three-volume encyclopedia set that is available in print or as an app. However, because The Bloomsbury Design Library integrates information from many different sources, it offers a wider variety of perspectives than any single publication could, no matter the number of volumes.’
‘The Bloomsbury Design Library is not without precedent; it follows the publisher’s successful launch of the Berg Fashion Library, a similar database that combines Bloomsbury’s e-books and fashion encyclopedia with third-party resources and an image archive. Both digital libraries make available encyclopedia-style summaries, as well as the more nuanced and rigorous research of scholarly articles.'
‘If an article casually mentions a designer, a style, or an object without explanation, users can easily look up the unfamiliar topic without leaving the site and quickly receive a cursory overview.’
‘Each entry is only one or two paragraphs in length, but includes suggestions for further reading. It is rare to find such brevity in the prairie-like expanse of digital space, and – rather than being a drawback – it makes the site a usefully digestible source for students looking to quickly grasp a basic concept or match a reference to an image.’
'(..)unlike a massive print encyclopedia that students must go to a physical library to consult, the curious can thumb through these digital entries on tiny screens while waiting in line for a coffee. Also unlike print resources, the database can and will change over time.’
'(...) the interface is excellent; users can download PDFs that cite the source on the first page, and on-screen reading shows continuous text documents with subtle markers for page breaks so that the layout is maintained regardless of the format that the user chooses (print or online).’
'The Bloomsbury Design Library provides substantial, focused, reliable information about design history. It offers its users – students especially – a convenient entree to the world of design ideas, guiding them towards deeper resources in a relevant and efficient manner.’
Saraleah Fordyce is a lecturer at California College of the Arts.
By Zara Arshad
‘The Bloomsbury Design Library’s current offerings make it an excellent place to start a research project for students, academics, and curators alike, providing access to a wide range of resources that cover design, crafts, and visual arts from 1500 BCE to the present day.’
‘(…) has the potential to become a central resource for researchers, teachers, and students of design all over the world.’
‘Additional benefits of these digitized publications entail fully linked tables of contents that redirect users to a selected book chapter, full colour illustrations, and live links embedded within entries, particularly in bibliographies, which lead users to online sources and repositories located elsewhere.'
‘These (related content and bibliographic) links increase the breadth of the Bloomsbury Design Library, providing immediate access to external sources that scholars may wish to consult quickly.’
'The lesson plan is especially comprehensive, with its suggestions of core texts, questions for discussion, homework exercises, and links to external content (including to museum databases).’
‘The digital library demonstrates a solid foundational framework which Bloomsbury can now build upon.’
Zara Arshad is an independent curator based in London, UK.
By David Raizman
‘The online Bloomsbury Design Library (BDL) is a robust and welcome resource for the study of design, encompassing the interrelated fields of design history, theory, and criticism.’
‘The BDL attempts to maintain a relationship among the branches of design studies with an extensive collection of reference works, scholarly books, and other resources that complement each other well.’
‘With Bloomsbury’s considerable design resources now online, students in universities, colleges, and art/design schools that subscribe to the BDL would have no excuse but to log on and gain access to peer-reviewed resources pertinent to the study of design.’
‘On the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Design as part of BDL: ‘I consider it an inclusive, well-informed, and illustrated reference work with contributions by leading international experts, edited for accessibility and with helpful bibliography and cross-references for each entry’
‘It is hard not to be impressed by this robust tool of the Information Age, in which so much material is made available in one place and the site itself facilitates straightforward and intuitive navigation.’
‘…for students and scholars alike, it is a remarkable and most useful learning and research tool.’
David Raizman was Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Drexel University, Pennsylvania.
By Gricel Dominguez
‘This is a one-of-a-kind collection users can get lost in, whether they are experts, practitioners, or curious browsers. Aimed at students and scholars of visual arts and design, it could also support a study of material culture and user experience. Offering tons of unique content, it’s highly recommended for institutions with design studies, architecture, and visual arts and culture programs.’
Gricel Dominguez is a librarian at the Hubert Library, University of Florida
By Maria Fesz
‘This resource presents many avenues for scholarship and exploration. The home page’s simple and sleek design is easily navigable and highlights the main components of the Design Library.’
‘(The Featured Content) allows for quick discovery while also showcasing the depth of information provided in the rest of the Design Library.’
‘Overall the Bloomsbury Design Library is user-friendly for both users new to researching design and those starting more robust research. The interface is clean and easy to navigate.’
Maria Fesz is Adult Services Librarian at Westlake Porter Public Library, Ohio
By Lindsay Harmon
‘It is recommended for visual-arts and design schools and fans of Bloomsbury’s Berg Fashion Library database.’
Lindsay Harmon is Instruction & Outreach Librarian at Lewis University, Chicago