Library Research

Your local library is an excellent source of additional information. The information included in this section will help you research tattoos at the library. Many libraries have web sites, and you may be able to complete much of your search online. Your local Reference Librarian will be able to help you find additional sources of information and can show you how to use any of the electronic sources you might not be familiar with.


Subject Headings

If you do not already have a particular book or author in mind, do a subject search in the library catalog using the following subjects for the best results:

  • Tattoo Artists
  • Tattooing
  • Tattooing--history
  • Tattooing--United States--history
  • Tattooing--Europe--history
  • Tattooing--[country you're interested in]
  • Tattooing--psychological aspects
  • Tattooing--Social aspects

Browsing Areas

If you simply want to browse the shelves in the library, first find out whether your library uses the Library of Congress Classification System (like most college and university libraries) or the Dewey Decimal Classification System (like most k-12 school and public libraries). Try looking at the shelves in these call number areas to find relevant books.

Library of Congress Browsing Areas:

  • GN406-517 (Anthropology--Cultural traits, customs and institutions)
  • GT495-499 (Manners and Customs--Human body and its parts. Personal Beauty)
  • GT500-2370 (Manners and Customs--Costume, Dress, Fashion)

Dewey Browsing Areas:

  • 391 (Costumes and Personal Appearance)

Scholarly Research and Journal Articles

Many scholarly articles have been written on tattooing in a variety of journals and fields. If you are doing in depth research on the topic, do not forget to search for scholarly articles in addition to books. The following electronic indexes are available at many large libraries and will help you locate articles. Start your search in these resources by using either "tattooing" as a subject or by using "tattoo" as a keyword. Check with your local library. If they don't have these resources, the reference librarian will be able to point you to the best resources available at that particular library.

  • Academic Search Elite: A great source for finding scholarly articles across a variety of disciplines.
  • ERIC: provides indexing and abstracting for journal and report literature (1966 to the present) in education and related disciplines. Good source of information if you are researching tattoos from a psychological or sociological perspective.
  • America: History and Life: Indexes articles about the history of the U.S. and Canada from over 2,000 journals.
  • Historical Abstracts: A guide to the history of the world from 1450 to the present (it does not include North America).
  • Art Indexes: Indexes the leading publications in the art world.


Back Home


Tattooing Book. Voodoo Tattoo Studios. 15 December 2003.

Curly's Tattoos. Tattoo Club of Great Britain. 16 December 2003.


tattooing book

Tattooing Book

neck and are covered with tattoo designs

Curly's Tattoos