UCB Libraries

ARTH 1400: World Art II (Rubin-Dienstfrey)

  • Starting Your Research
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Images
  • Evaluate & Cite Your Sources


Choosing Your Paper Topic

Once you have chosen a work from the Denver Art Museum, take some time to think about what you find interesting or compelling about the work.


For example, if I had chosen to write about Gilbert and George (1992) by Gilbert Prousch and George Passmore, I might be interested in how the work resembles a stained glass window, or perhaps the artists' use of color.


If you would like to learn more about an artist or particular work, you may want to do a bit of preliminary reading before you begin writing your paper.


Finding Basic Information in Reference Sources

Reference sources such as dictionaries and encyclopedias are a valuable tool for learning more about the work or the artist(s) you have chosen. These sources can provide basic information to place your topic in a larger historical, theoretical, or formal context.


Oxford Art Online

Provides access to the Grove Dictionary of Art, the most important reference work for art history. Individual entries are written by scholars in the field and typically include a bibliography of relevant resources.


The Art & Architecture Reference Collection contains a number of specialized dictionaries and encylopedias. Please feel free to browse the collection to see what is available. Examples of the kinds of works you will find include:


The concise Focal encyclopedia of photography

Art & Arch REF TR9 .C65 2008


The Oxford dictionary of American art and artists

Art & Arch REF N6505 .M59 2007


The queer encyclopedia of the visual arts

Art & Arch REF N72.H64 Q44 2004


Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean art

Art & Arch REF N6502 .E53 1999


An encyclopedia of women artists of the American West

Art & Arch REF N8214.5.U6 K68 1998


Developing Keywords

In order to find books and articles for your paper, you will need to develop keywords that describe your topic. Keywords are nouns or phrases you can use while searching.


For my paper about Gilbert and George (1992) by Gilbert Prousch and George Passmore, my keywords could include:


  • Gilbert and George
  • Gilbert Prousch
  • George Passmore
  • homosexuality or sexuality
  • illness
  • postmodernism
  • religion

When you are searching, you will want to try different combinations of keywords. Don't just perform one search! Research is an iterative process that takes time. You might even change the focus of your paper after finding more information.




Chinook is the catalog for materials owned by the CU Libraries. You can do a title search for a specific book, or a keyword search if you are looking for books on a particular topic. You can also use MyChinook to manage your library account (including renewals, holds, recalls, saved searches, etc.)

Chinook Catalog

When searching Chinook, you can connect your keywords using terms like AND, OR, NOT. You can also used parentheses, quotation marks, and asterisks.




AND: Gilbert AND George (must find both terms)

Phrases: “conceptual art” (must find phrase in that order)

OR: homsexuality OR gay (must find one of the terms)

Synonyms: (gay OR lesbian) AND photography

NOT: architecture NOT computing (must find first term and not second term)

Wildcards: sexual* will find sexual, sexuality, sexualities, etc.


If you search Chinook and find that the CU Libraries do not have the item you are looking for (or if the item you are looking for is checked out), you can search Prospector, which is a combined library catalog of 23 libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. CU students, staff and faculty can request materials through Prospector, and the items will generally be delivered to Norlin within a few business days.


Interlibrary Loan
If the item you are looking for is not in Chinook or Prospector, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Generally, an ILL request will take longer to be delivered than material requested through Prospector.



Accessing Resources from Off Campus
In order to use the databases listed below (and any other licensed resources provided by the library), you MUST download, install, and run VPN software. For more information about VPN, please see the library's page on Off Campus Access.


Choosing a Database

You will not find articles in Chinook. In order to find individual articles on your topic, you will need to use a database. The library provides access to hundreds of databases, and many of them focus on a particular discipline such art or art history.


The Find Articles & More page provides access to all of these resources and arranges them by topic. To see databases for art and art history, click on the plus sign next to "Art & Art History."


Relevant Databases for Your Paper

Art Bibliographies Modern
ABM covers journal articles, books, essays, exhibition catalogs, PhD dissertations, and exhibition reviews on all forms of modern and contemporary art.


Art Full Text
An excellent general resource for art, art history, architecture, and related topics.  Covers a range of media in all periods, with publications going back to 1929.


Bibliography of the History of Art

Indexes and abstracts articles, art-related books, conference proceedings, dissertations, and art exhibition and dealer's catalogs. Coverage dates back to 1973.


Oxford Art Online

Provides access to the foremost reference resource for art and art history, the Grove Dictionary of Art. It is particularly useful for finding a definition of a particular style or movement or for finding biographical information on an artist. Entries are created by scholars and include a bibliography.



Nearly one million images of visual and material culture, covering all geographic areas and historical periods. ARTstor is the best resource for finding high-quality images of art.


Maintained by the Department of Art & Art History Visual Resources Collection.  Provides access to a growing collection of high-quality digital images.


Particularly useful for images of contemporary art.  Be sure to use advanced search options to find larger images.



Scholarly vs. Popular Sources





Original research presented with evidence, critical arguments, and other material.

Discussion includes personal opinions, and typically focuses on material for entertainment or leisure.


Author's credentials are given, usually a scholar with subject expertise.

Author may or may not be named; often a professional writer; may or may not have subject expertise.


Editorial board is listed on cover or near the Table of Contents. Some publications may also note that articles are refereed by peer reviewers.

No editors listed and no referee process described.


Scholars, researchers, students.

General public; the interested non-specialist.


May use specialized terminology.

Vocabulary in general usage; understandable to most readers.

References (Endnotes, Footnotes, etc)

Required. All quotes and facts can be verified. A bibliography is also usually included.

Rare. Little, if any, information about sources.


Contribute to your understanding of the text; could include diagrams, charts, or other technical material.

Often merely provide pleasing visual content rather than support for assertions in the text.

Example Publication

Art in America

American Artist



Citation Styles & Management

For information about citing print and electronic sources in a range of styles, see “How to Cite a Source.”


Using Chicago Style?  Check out the Chicago Style Quick Guide.


Need More Help?

Wondering if you're citing something correctly? Or maybe you need help with structuring your paper? Take advantage of the CU Writing Center. Making an appointment with a consultant at the Writing Center allows you to receive one-on-one help with your writing.


Want to speak with a librarian right now? You can contact us in person, via the phone, or even over IM. Use the Ask Us page to chat with a librarian even if you're away from campus.