UCB Libraries

WRTG 3007/3020: Writing in the Visual Arts

Need additional assistance? Ask a Librarian right now, or Schedule a Research Consulation with the Art & Architecture Librarian.


  • Gathering Background
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Images
  • Cite your sources

Your Assignments

Several times during this class you will be asked to select a topic and begin researching it, whether its a photographer, a film, or an artist.

Getting Background

In addition to google and wikiepdia, reference sources such as dictionaries and encyclopedias are a great tool to get acquainted with many topics quickly.
They will give you a basic understanding of the topic and they include a bibliography, which will point you to the best sources for continuig your research.
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Gale Virtual Reference

Searches across many reference sources at once, providing full text entires. A perfect tool to look at one topics through many different lenses.


Reference Universe

Searches through the library's print & virtual encyclopedias, so you can find out which encyclopedias have entries for your subject.


Oxford Art Online

An extensive online encyclopedia of Art & Architecture. Individual entries are written by scholars in the field and typically include an extensive bibliography of relevant resources.


Go on to finding Books >>


Finding Books

Books will be some of the most important sources you will find on your topic. They are often on broad topics but covers them in-depth.
Library Catalogs


Chinook is the catalog for books and other materials owned by the CU Libraries. Articles are not in Chinook.

Find Multi-Media: Chinook also contains audio-visual material including DVD's. Use the facets on the left-side of the screen to limit your search results to Music or Videorecordings


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. Once requested, the items will generally be delivered to Norlin within a few business days.



Worldcat will search most American libraries and some foreign libraries. If there is a book published on your artist or group you would find it here. You can request books via Interlibrary Loan (ILL), there will be a link in the Worldcat to "Request from ILLiad"


Tools to Search within Books

Contemporary Artists Index

When you search by artist it will list all the exhibition catalogs that include them. A great source for hard-to-find artists. Search for the books you find in Chinook or Worldcat.


Google Books

Allows you to search within a book for content. This is important for contemporary artists as they might be mentioned in Biennals or Exhibition Catalogs, but not be a main focus of the book. Once you find a book, check our library to see if we own it.


Go on to Finding Articles >>


Finding Articles & Magazines

Scholarly articles often make a argument, and are the most specfic resource. Finding articles in journals requires using an Index, which brings together the individual titles from multiple magazines and makes them searchable.


Indexes are often focused on a specific subject. Use the index that matches the subject you are researching to find the best articles.


Finding Articles: When you find a citation use "Find it at CU" to locate the full-text or use "Document Deliver/ILL" to have a PDF e-mailed to you

Article Indexes

Proquest Central

Source for articles from all disciplines, as well as newspaper and popular magazine articles.


ArtBibliographies Modern

The best sources for articles on modern art and photography.


Film and television literature index

Film and Television scholarly and popular articles, reviews.



A full-text archive of important scholarly publications in the humanities and social sciences. It covers far fewer journals and so is best used when you need to be able to search the full-text of articles.



Does your paper intersect with topics beyond Art, Photography or Film?

Check out all our databases organized by subject here.




Go on to Finding Images >>


Finding Images

Images are important to both illustrate your points and as primary sources to be analysed. Using high-quality images and finding details can be vital to performing a visual analysis.


Use our How do I Find Images Guide for many more image resources.

Image Databases


Over 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.


CU Digital Library

Images digitized by the University Library and Visual Resources centers.


AP Images

Provides access to Associated Press photos spanning 160 years. Includes both images and sound.


We also have scanners in the library, often the best source of good images are books!


Finding Multi-Media

The library owns many sound recordings and DVD's, which you can find via ChinookUse the facets to limit your search to either Sound Recordings or Video Recording


UbuWeb has thousands of art films and sound files.

Use the Libraries' How Do I Find Videos and DVD guide to find both CU owned content and Web content.


Need Help Furthering your Research?

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.


Schedule a Research Consultation with a librarian to get in-depth help and guidance. I can help you overcome a roadblock in your research or with developing excellent keywords and search strategies.



Go on to Citing Sources>>


Your Assignments

You'll need to create a bibliography and carefully cite your sources, both for quotes and ideas that you gather from your sources.

Formatting Citations

You can use the OWL online guide to find clear guides to how to cite your source.


The library has access to the official Online Chicago Manual


Check out our MLA Style Quick Guide [PDF] or the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

Automate your Bibliography

There are several programs available that allow you to save citations you find on the web and automaticaly generate bibliographies. Using them at the outset of your research means you won't have to go back. These are huge time savers! They can generate the in-text citations you need to avoid plagiarism.
Citation Managers


A Firefox plugin that easily captures citations from library catalogs and article databases. Integrates with Microsoft Word and OpenOffice to generate bibliographies, footnotes, and in-text citations.



Stand alone software that allows you to organize your citations, add pdf's, and annotate. Integrates with word processing software.