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Fine Art and Curatorial Practice

A library guide to support studio practice and research in fine art and curatorial studies

What are Artists' Books?

"While there is no agreed definition of what an artist book is, it is generally defined as a book made by an artist and intended as a work of art" (from the State Library of Victoria)

They are:

  • Vehicles for ideas, not monuments to crafts
  • Not necessarily about appearance, but about the aesthetic issues they raise
  • Usually self-published
  • Sometimes only use text
  • Not necessarily "one-offs" but usually small editions

Browsing and searching for Artists' Books

Monash University Library holds a collection of Artists' Books both at the Caulfield Library and the Matheson Library (Clayton).

Some of these Artists' Books are delicate or rare, and are part of the Monash Library Special Collections. Contact the Liaison Librarian for Art, Design and Architecture for access.

You can search for the subject heading 'Artist's Books' on the Library website to see all available Artists' Books. You can also add an artist name, or filter by location and/or resource type.

You will find other books in the general collection on level 4 of the Caulfield Library.

The Monash libraries use the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme to organise books and journals. A call number is printed on a sticker, attached to the book's spine. It classifies an item by subject. They are used so resources on the same topic are grouped together on the shelf, which makes it easier to browse materials in the same subject area. A call number shows you the exact position of the item within the Library - each shelf has a range of numbers listed on it.

Browse the shelves at these call numbers:

  • 686 Book design
  • 686.224 Typography
  • 686.3 Book making
  • 686.3 Bookbinding
  • 702.81 Artists' books (books about artists' books)
  • 745.54 Paper work


Featured Artists' Books

Recommended sources for Artists' Book research

Australian websites

International websites

Journals and magazines

What is a journal?

  • Journals are ongoing publications also known as serials or periodicals.
  • Journals allow researchers and scholars to report their findings and ideas. Theories and ideas circulating in contemporary visual culture will be discussed in journal articles.
  • Some journals are peer-reviewed or 'refereed'. Articles in these journals have been evaluated by specialists or experts within academia and / or industry.
  • Journal articles often start with an 'abstract' - a brief summary of the article. 
  • The Monash Journals collection also includes some high-quality popular magazines, providing current information and opinions on popular topics for a non-academic audience.
  • Journal articles are often considered 'academic' or 'scholarly' sources, however magazines and 'trade journals' are usually not. You can read more about evaluating a journal article's quality on the Art, Design and Architecture Theory guide.
  • Many journals are available through Monash in electronic format, and some of these also have print copies in the Library. There are other journals which are only available in print - browse the shelves on Level 4 of the Caulfield Library's journal section.

A selection of key journals on this topic, both Australian and international, are provided below. These journals are available electronically unless otherwise stated. Some electronic journals may also be available in print.

Books about Artists' Books and Book Making