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Tips for Oxford Art Online Users

Use the following tips to navigate Oxford Art Online and make the most of its content. Learn more about available features by taking a Guided Tour or by visiting the context-sensitive Help page for answers to specific questions.

Table of Contents

Searching a Specific Source
Search within Articles
Search Results
Article Structure and Display
Additional Information


A full listing of all articles and images to which you have access can be viewed by choosing All Content from the browse bar at the top of the site; entries are further categorized into Biographies, Subject Entries, and Images. You may start browsing at any time by selecting the type of content from the top of the page:

Browse bar found at the top of each page

Articles are listed in alphabetical order, and images are currently ordered by the first letter of the caption, which most often begins with the first name of the artist, or if the artist is unknown, the title of the work (e.g., to find images for Pablo Picasso, type "pablo" in the Go to box).

Subscriptions to either Grove Art Online or Benezit Dictionary of Artists also include the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, and The Oxford Companion to Western Art. Articles from all of these will be displayed in your browse results. The source is clearly indicated for each article:

Browse results showing different sources

You can browse articles only from select title(s). Browse Grove and Benezit content in specific categories by expanding the [+] menus and selecting check box(es):

Filter by source or category


Oxford Art Online’s search supports the use of boolean operators, wildcards, and other common search methods. It also flattens diacritics and automatically resolves British/American English spelling differences. Note that searches in all lower case letters will net the broadest results. See also the General Search Tips section (5.2.1) of Help for more detailed information.

The fastest way to search is to type terms into the quick search box, located in the top-right corner of every page:

Quick Search Box found in the top right corner of each page

Quick search will conduct a full-text search of all the sources available to you unless you make a Search Only selection.

The Advanced Search features allow for more specific searches, including the ability to specify which sources you wish to search. Click on the Advanced Search link below the quick search box and choose from among the following options:

  • Main Search: In addition to searching the full text, you can search for terms appearing in article titles, contributors' names, or bibliographies, in any source. Benezit subscribers may also search within Museum and Gallery Holdings and Auction Records.
  • Image Search: Search Grove and Benezit image captions and keywords associated with images. You can also search the Grove links to images on museum and gallery websites.
  • Biography Search: Search any source for articles on people by name, occupation, nationality, and year or place of birth and/or death. For more details, visit the Biography Search section (5.3.4 of Help).
  • Bibliography Search: Search any source for citations by author/editor name, book/journal title, chapter/article title, or by year of publication.

Please visit the Advanced Search section (5.3 of Help) for more specific tips and examples.

Searching a Specific Source

One of the many advantages of the Oxford Art Online platform is the ability to easily cross-search a number of different art reference works. However, there may be times when you want to focus only on content from one or two particular sources. This can be done in one of four ways:

Use the tick boxes beneath the main search box in the upper right of the page to search Grove Art, Benezit, or images only. (The options you see will depend on which titles are included in your subscription.)

Center search box on the home page

Upper–right search box on the home page

To restrict your search to other or multiple sources in Oxford Art Online (e.g., to search both Grove Art Online and the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics), you can use any of the following three options. (Again, the options you see will depend on which titles are included in your subscription.)

1. Use any of the different advanced searches: Main, Biographies, or Bibliographies, and check the sources you wish to search.

Refining sources in Advanced Search

2. Search directly from the All Content, Biographies, Subject Entries, and Images browse pages. Type your search item into the Search content box and choose your source(s) from the list below, before clicking SEARCH.

Browse Search Box

3. Search by source directly from the Search Results page using the refinement options in the left–hand column.

Refinement Options

Search within Articles

You may also search within the full text of a single article, which is particularly helpful when viewing long articles spread over multiple pages (e.g., large country articles or articles on families).

Search within an article located on the left hand sidebar

The Search within this article box is located at the top left of every entry page. Click on the plus sign [+] to open the search box, enter your term(s) and click SEARCH. Search results are highlighted in the full text of the article (a feature which may be turned on or off), and the search box expands to display a list of search hits. Clicking on a hit will scroll the page to that piece of text.

Search Results

Oxford Art Online orders search results in the following manner:

  • Articles or images whose titles (or alternate spellings) directly match your original search term(s) will be listed first.
  • Articles containing a section heading whose title directly matches your original search term(s) will be listed second.
  • Articles or images will then be listed in order of the “density” of your original search term(s) in the article. This is calculated by examining the number of times your original search term(s) appear in relation to the length of the article.
  • Assuming two articles or images equally meet one of the criteria above (e.g., there are two articles entitled “Degas, Edgar”), biographies will be listed before images, which will be listed before subject entries, and Grove Art or Benezit content will be listed before other Oxford reference content.

Each result indicates the name of the article, the type of content, and the article's source:

Search result

For large articles that have been split into sections, the results list will include the main entry title as well as the headings for each of the sections. For example, in a search for “Mesopotamia,” search results appear for multiple sections of the article. You can easily access any part of the article by opening one of the subsections, and navigating through the article’s table of contents on the left.

The source and category filters are also available when viewing your search results, as with the browse and advanced search pages. If you find that your search has returned too many results, refining by source and/or category within Grove or Benezit (such as by art form, geography, or time period) are efficient ways to find what you are looking for.

Article Structure and Display

Article pages in Oxford Art Online are designed to convey relevant information about each entry clearly and consistently. Here is an example of the heading at the top of an article page:

Heading at top of article page

The article's source (here, Grove Art Online) is prominently displayed over the article title. The Article tab allows you to return to the main article text at any time. The Images tab displays clickable thumbnails of all images embedded in that article, as well as links to additional images on the web and subscription image databases ARTstor, Art Resource, and Bridgeman Art Library. The Related Content tab provides links to related articles throughout Oxford Art Online..

Important article information, including authors’ names and the dates articles were updated, appears in a box at the top left of each article:

Article info displayed in box top left of each article

For Grove and Benezit articles, and Article contents box displays article sections in a collapsible () and expandable () list, providing easy navigation within the article. Click on the title of any section to jump to that section of the article.

Within articles, all standard Grove abbreviations will appear as underlined, meaning that you may mouse over them to get more information; clicking on any abbreviation will take you to a list of abbreviations that appear within the article you are viewing.


Grove Art Online offers over 6,000 images, with a focus on supporting fundamental art teaching and education. Benezit Dictionary of Artists contains over 11,000 images of artists’ signatures, monograms, and stamps of sale. Below are a few ways to explore these images.


Image information is accompanied by a thumbnail. Please note that, with images, browse is currently alphabetized by the first letter of the caption, which most often begins with the first name of the artist or, if the artist is unknown, the title of the work (e.g., to find images for Pablo Picasso, type "pablo" in the Go to box).

Image Tab

Each illustrated Grove article has an image tab displaying clickable thumbnails of images referenced in that article, as well as links to help you find images on the web and subscription image databases ARTstor, Art Resource, and Bridgeman Art Library. Illustrated Benezit articles display up to three images in the article and all images related to the article in the images tab.

Image Searching

You can perform a search for images directly from the home page:

Search images from the home page

Upper–right search box

An image search finds images by searching keywords and caption text. In addition to searching for the artist or title of an art work (e.g., "Cezanne" or "still life"), you can also search for broader terms such as "roman arch," "watercolor," "delft," "metropolitan museum of art," and so on.

You can also find images using the Advanced Image Search; it is possible to include Grove Art's external image links in your search results by clicking the box for “Links to images on other websites.”


The full listings of abbreviations used in Grove Art and Benezit can be reached from the Tools and Resources page. In addition, all standard Grove abbreviations will appear as underlined or highlighted, meaning that you may hover over them to view the full term or title:

Abbreviations mouse-over

Clicking on any abbreviation will also take you directly to a list of abbreviations found in that article.

Additional Information

Oxford Art Online Guided Tours
About Oxford Art Online
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Frequently Asked Questions
Oxford Art Online Help

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