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National Art Library Catalogue

The National Art Library Catalogue includes some 750,000 records, providing access to collections comprising more than a million items.

Using the catalogue

The catalogue is accessible online using either of the following methods:

  • World wide web
    Click on the Library Catalogue link in the left-hand menu. Some catalogue records incorporate Web links to other resources, including online bibliographic and image databases, electronic encyclopaedias and, in some cases, the full texts of journals and other publications. However, some of these electronic resources can only be made available within the Victoria and Albert Museum, for copyright or licensing reasons.
  • Z39.50 Interface
    It is also possible to search the National Art Library Catalogue using third-party computer programmes that support the Z39.50 standard for searching and retrieving information. For a technical description of the Library's experimental service, see Z39.50 Information.

Records in national and international online services

The National Art Library's catalogue records are now included in an increasing number of national and international online services:


    The Library's records also appear in the new version of COPAC, the catalogue of the UK and Ireland's major university and national libraries.

  • Worldcat

    Many of the Library's records appear in OCLC's Worldcat service. As a result, they can also be found by people using Google's 'Find this book in a library' function.


    The Library's periodicals are listed in SUNCAT, the UK's union catalogue of periodicals


    The Library's periodicals are also listed in arlis.net, the database of periodicals held by around 90 art libraries in Britain and Ireland, a project of the association of art and design libraries, ARLIS/UK & Ireland.

Coverage of the online catalogue

The online catalogue provides information about all forms of material held by the Library, both the documentary collections of literature about the arts and design, and the material, both historic and contemporary, which now forms part of the V&A Word and Image department's curatorial collections. The Library's older records have all been transferred to the online catalogue, thanks to generous support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other donors. For more information about the Library's range of collections see Book Collections. Among the types of material included are:

  • Books
  • Exhibition catalogues
  • Auction sale catalogues
  • Periodicals. In addition to the NAL's own periodical collection, the catalogue includes records for many other UK libraries' holdings of art and design periodicals. The same information is also available via arlis.net, described above.
  • Archives
  • Manuscripts

Historic catalogues of the National Art Library

Most of the Library's older card catalogues, microfiche catalogues and handlists are now superseded by the Online Catalogue. It is recognised that regular users of the Library may still be interested in the older catalogues, and that they are historic artefacts in their own right. For more information about them, see Historic Catalogues of the National Art Library.

National Art Library opening times

The National Art Library opening times are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday: 10.00 – 17.30 and Friday: 10.00 – 18.30.  It is closed on Mondays and Sundays.

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