This guide is for 
students on the Foundation degree and BA Hons top up programme in Creative Arts and Design Practice at Banbury College.

How to find books

Your tutor will help you to create your own unique reading list relevant to your own practice as you progress through the course. There is an electronic list of recommended titles for your course to help you get started. You can follow this link to go straight to the list or you can type BAARTS into the Activate Learning Library Catalogue search bar. This is a live link to the library online catalogue which allows you to see where the items are and if they are available on the shelf or when they are due back if they are on loan.

You can also search the catalogue using filters, applying Boolean operators and selecting preferred media types.

For example you can apply your search term to: 
  • Title, Author, Location, Keyword, Subject, Publisher, Location or All fields using the search in filter. 
  • AND, OR , AND NOT to build your search by clicking + and selecting the appropriate operator. 
  • Media Type can be selected from the drop down box.

Results from this search will include any items that have design in the title or listed as a subject.

For more help using the catalogue you can watch this short clip from the using the libraries section on the website or ask a member of the team in the library for help.


The catalogue shows resources available at all Activate Learning libraries. If you would like to borrow an item from another library please speak to a member of the team on the issue desk or contact us by email. We will arrange for the item to be transferred to your preferred site. Alternatively if you only wish to view items available at the site where you attend college, you can do this using the advanced search options.

You can also do this yourself by selecting the Reserve button on the item details page. You will need to log into your Heritage account by entering your student ID number and your date of birth DDMMYYY. A member of the team will contact you when your items are available for collection.

Your Library Online account

Logging into your Heritage account allows you to view the items you have on loan and reserved, you can also renew items and view your loan history. Log in using your student ID number and your date of birth DDMMYYY.

For more help using your Heritage account, you can watch this short clip from the using the libraries section on the website or ask a member of the team in the library for help.

Finding books on the shelves

You may want to browse the shelves, books are organised by subject and given a shelfmark which consists of numbers and letters. Shelfmarks for books are displayed on the catalogue so you can locate the book, books nearby will be similar in subject so may also be useful. You will probably find that books on Art and Design can be found in several different sections in the Library so having a look on the catalogue first can save a lot of time!

  • Books on Branding and Advertising Design can be found at 659.
  • Books on Typography and Book Design can be found at 686.
  • Books on Art in general, artists who work across different media types (particularly contemporary artists) and art movements (Cubism, Surrealism etc.) can be found at 700 through to 710.
  • Books on Sculpture start at 730, Ceramics at 738, Drawing at 740, Design at 745, Textile Arts and Fashion at 746, Painting at 750 and Photography at 770.


eBooks are listed on the online catalogue too and can be recognised by the [eBook] symbol next to the entry. You can follow this link to go straight to a selection of recommended eBooks for your course or you can type BAARTSEBOOKS into the Activate Learning Library Catalogue search bar.
To access an eBook open the item details page and click on the Read me… button. You can access eBooks offsite, the username and password are the same as your college network login details. Don’t forget, you can filter your search in the catalogue to show only eBooks. Or click here to browse our eBook collection by category.

For more help using eBooks you can watch this 
short clip from the using the libraries section on the website or ask a member of the team in the library for help.

How to find journals and journal articles

UK Newsstand allows you to search through a large range of UK national newspapers and local news publications online, you’ll need your college network login details to access it.
There are journals relevant to your studies available in print from Banbury library:
  • Adbuster
  • Art Monthly
  • Art Newspaper
  • Art Review
  • Ceramic Review
  • Collezioni Trends
  • Crafts
  • Creative Review
  • British Journal of Photography
  • Dazed
  • Elle Decoration
  • Eye: the international review of graphic design
  • Flash Art: international edition
  • Frieze
  • Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics - you can access a full archive of this journal online at college here.
  • Journal of Illustration - you can access a full archive of this journal online at college here.

  • Print
  • Printmaking Today
  • Raw Vision: an international journal of outsider art, visionary art, contemporary folk art
  • Selvedge: the fabric of your life
  • Textile View
  • Varoom
  • Visual Studies - you can access a full archive of this journal online at college here.
  • Vogue
Further journals are also available in print and electronically through the Oxford Brookes library, you can access them by searching for e-journals by title, you will need your Oxford Brookes login details. Some journals have an embargo, this means electronic access is delayed for a period of time, details are provided for individual titles.

Google Scholar
 is a customised search engine and tool specifically designed to help both students and academics find scholarly research, including articles, books and university theses.

Unlike a standard search engine it aims to rank documents the way researchers do, weighing the full text of each document, where it was published, who it was written by, as well as how often and how recently it has been cited in other scholarly literature. You can sort your results by year to find the newest research or click Cited by or Related articles to find similar work. This means it is easier to find the most relevant and reputable articles for your subject. It will also provide you with references ready to drop straight into your own work.

Using databases

You can access online databases from the Activate Learning Library website. Some may need your college login details to view. Recommended databases for your course include:
  • Arts on Film - offers online access to a large range of British films on art
  • BFI InView - over 2000 non-fiction film and TV titles each with an introductory essay
  • British Cartoon Archive - over 150,000 British editorial and socio-political cartoons
  • JISC Media Hub - a wide range of audio, video and image files across topics
  • John Johnson Collection - access thousands of items selected from the John Johnson collection of printed ephemera
  • VADS: the online resource for visual arts - access a large number of visual art collections
  • Vogue Archive - contains the complete collection of American Vogue issues, searchable by brand, fashion item, photographer or illustrator, person pictured or writer.
Further databases are also available here through the Oxford Brookes library website. Most will need your Oxford Brookes login details for full access.

Using websites

Websites recommended by your tutors include:

            Study skills and referencing

            There are a wide range of study skills books available in our libraries, you can find a selection on this electronic reading list or browse the study skills section.
            Cite them right online provides guidance for referencing many different sources, you will need your Oxford Brookes login details to access it.


            Using other libraries

            As an Activate Learning student, you can use the libraries at City of Oxford College and Reading College if that is convenient for you.
            You have access to Oxford Brookes resources, both physical and electronic. You will need your Oxford Brookes login details to access the electronic resources. There are links on our website in the Higher Education section that take you to Oxford Brookes library information, subject help and the catalogue.
            Many cultural institutions have free libraries dedicated to art research, in London you can visit the National Art Library at the V&A Museum  and the Tate Library and Archive at Tate Britain amongst many others.
            You may also find useful information at your local public libraries, they are free to join and provide online reference material, some of which can be accessed at home. For more information visit the Oxfordshire County Libraries website.

            Where to get help

            You can contact the library team or access information about our services in a number of ways:

             Telephone  01865 551701
             Twitter  @ActivateLibrary

            Or in person during library opening hours.