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What's in the Library: Books: Monographs


"Every publisher uses the term in a slightly different way, but in general 'monograph' has become a catch-all term for a book that is not of a reference type, that is of primary material..." (Campbell et al. 115).

A monograph is a specialist work of writing (in contrast to reference works) on a single subject or an aspect of a subject, often by a single author, and usually on a scholarly subject. In library cataloging, monograph has a broader meaning, that of a nonserial publication complete in one volume (book) or a finite number of volumes. Thus it differs from a serial publication such as a magazine, journal, or newspaper. In this context only, books such as novels are monographs.

"Monographs." Academic and Professional Publishing, edited by  Robert Campbell, Ed Pentz, Ian Borthwick, Chandos Publishing, 2012, p. 114 - 117.


Using Monographs

Can I cite from a MONOGRAPH in a research paper?

YES! These are the best book publications to use in researching, structuring, and writing your research papers.

Be aware of the type of monograph you are using:

What is a Reference Book?


A MONOGRAPH provides:

  • in-depth coverage, analysis, insight, or critique of topics
  • more focused coverage of subjects than one finds in REFERENCE books, yet more broad than would be found in JOURNAL articles or essays
  • citations (footnotes, in-text references) and bibliographies or "works cited" lists for further reading or other academic sources in the field of inquiry
  • scholarly insight into all academic topics such as visual or material culture, history, sociology, popular culture, art, design, etc.
  • insight and academic understandings of non-monographic publications, such as blog postings, social media, newspapers, magazines, or trade publications like sci-fi, self-help guides, or romance novels. 

What is the benefit of MONOGRAPHS?

  • to inform or educate the general public independently
  • to provide perspective, interpretations, and analysis of historical time periods, movements, or people
  • to provide rigorously vetted fact-checking to avoid propagation of false information or facts
  • to offer the authorized, canonical viewpoint of historical time periods or movements
  • to help researchers become cognizant of key themes, concept, or ideas shaping historical time periods or movements and the people involved in these epochs
  • to source an authoritative bibliography of works by people profiled in the reference resource, or to find the names of central writers, theorists, or critics who specialize in researching historical time periods, movements, or people
  • to assist students and researchers in proving a hypothesis about a topic based on prior, recognized research


  • scholars, researchers, historians, critics who are recognized as experts in their field of inquiry


  • university presses OR
  • private, commercial companies that publish with the highest academic standards (similar to university presses) OR
  • non-profit organizations OR
  • arts foundations, galleries or museums (sometimes in cooperation with an commercial company)


Selective List of Scholarly Publishers

A selective list of academic publishers you may find in the OCAD U Library's book collection that are not directly associated with universities, but maintain similar editorial standards:


Ashgate Publishing

Berg Publishers

Brill Publishers

John Benjamins Publishing

M.E. Sharpe

Palgrave Macmillan

Peter Lang



SAGE Publications

Springer Publishing

Taylor & Francis

Walter de Gruyter


A selective list of Canadian academic publishers of book that you may find in the OCAD U Library collection; note that all are associated with universities:

University of Alberta Press

Athabasca University Press

University of British Columbia Press

University of Calgary Press

ISER Books (Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University)

Les Presses de l’Université Laval

University of Manitoba Press

McGill-Queen’s University Press

Les Presses de l’Université de Montreal

Nunavut Arctic College Media

University of Ottawa Press

Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies

Presses de l’Université du Québec

University of Regina Press

University of Toronto Press

Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Selected List of Art Publishers

Many art or cultural studies publishers provide rigorously researched, scholarly books; however, these publications can fall in a grey area when evaluating whether they are "academic" books or not. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask your instructor or talk to a librarian. But in general:

  • if you have found a book published by one of the firms listed below in the OCAD U Library collection, it already has built-in credibility given that it has been vetted by librarians or teaching faculty and deemed to be supportive of creative research!


Abbeville Press

Abrams Books

ACC Publishing Group

Allworth Press

Backalong Books (Canadian)

Banff Centre Press (Canadian)

Breakwater Books (Canadian)

Coach House Books (Canadian)

Chronicle Books

Dundurn Press (Canadian)

ECW (Canadian)

Gingko Press

Hatje Cantz Verlag

Laurence King Publishers

Oro Editions


Porcupine’s Quill

Prestel Verlag

Reaktion Books

teNeues Publishing

Thames & Hudson

Whitechapel Gallery

 For more see: