The Newly Available Online Core List of Architecture Resources (AASL)

The Newly Available Online Core List of Architecture Resources / by Barbara Opar

Want to check your library collection for core reference works? Not familiar with the discipline and need to quickly see what resources are considered basic to the field? The Association of Architecture School Librarians has made freely available in an online format such a list of core architecture resources. The list can be accessed at

AASL members previously compiled a core list of architecture periodicals and will be revising it soon. This new list provides an additional aid to librarians, especially those less familiar with architectural librarianship.

Several years ago, Kathy Edwards (Clemson University), Janine Henri (University of California, Los Angeles), Barbara Opar (Syracuse University), and Amy Trendler (Ball State University) took the initiative to begin developing a core reference list for architecture based on discussion which took place at the AASL annual meeting. The AASL Executive Board then made this an official AASL Task Force and charged the group to:

  1. Identify the categories of core reference resources needed in libraries supporting accredited architecture degrees in North America
  2. Develop a list of core resources needed for each category
  3. Recommend appropriate updating cycle and format
  4. Advocate with NAAB and other appropriate groups for endorsement of the core reference works list
  5. Disseminate information about the list to allied organizations

Task force members first identified the most essential categories and then began developing a list of corresponding resources for each category to assist researchers from beginner to advanced. The list includes categories on architecture schools; bibliographies and guides to research; biographical resources; dictionaries and encyclopedias; surveys and histories of architecture; special collections; guides to architectural styles; indexes and databases and finally visual resources. Because architecture is also heavily reliant on technical resources, other categories include building codes and regulations; cost estimating; professional practice; specifications and trade literature; and technical handbooks/standards. AASL hopes in the future to have this list used in the National Architectural Accrediting Board review process, so a section listing publications relevant to each of the NAAB Student Performance Criteria and related subcategories was added.

The authors collaborated using Springshare’s online LibGuides platform via the Clemson site. This platform enabled authors to enter their specific selections as well as review those of other team members. Overall editing of the online tool was completed by Barret Havens (Woodbury University, Burbank) and moved to that institution’s Campus Guides.

AASL encourages you to use this list, share it with others and send any comments to one of the committee members listed in the blog.

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