The traditional subject category ‘visual arts’ is based on a value judgment, but aesthetic criteria no longer suffice to define this category. Art is increasingly permissive in its range. The subjects of art history, archaeology, social anthropology, and history of technology tend more and more to overlap. Almost any material artefact can now be viewed aesthetically, and any work of visual art may be considered as an artefact. Libraries should aim to bring together all the material culture of human societies, whether tools or works of art, in their bibliographic classifications instead of scattering it as at present.
(Slightly revised version of a paper given at the Art Libraries Round Table, 45th IFLA Congress, Copenhagen, 1979.)