Bloomsbury Design Library - Reviews
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Reviews

Design and Culture, March 2019

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.’

'Users can search the entire database for terms or names, browse through a chapter from Margolin’s World History, and find images and background information in the timeline.’

‘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.


Journal of Design History, March 2019

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.


Design Issues, December 2018

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 is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Drexel University, Pennsylvania


Library Journal, December 2018

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


Reference Reviews, April 2018

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


Booklist, April 2018

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