College Of Humanities and Fine Arts

Ira Latour Visual Resources Collection

The Ira Latour Visual Resources Center (VRC) houses a collection of over 4000 books and related visual materials for the Art and Art History Department. The VRC also holds a reference collection of non-circulating art history books, illustrated books, catalogues raisonee, livres d'artiste, current periodicals, photographs, prints, and non-print media such as CD-ROMs, videos, and DVDs. This collection is made possible because of a generous endowment provided by Walter Kohn.

 - The Ira Latour is a Reserve Library, items are not available for checkout. 

Search the Ira Latour's Catalog

The VRC is named for Ira Latour who was instrumental in the rapid expansion of the Art History program at CSU, Chico beginning in the mid 1960s when he accepted a position in the Department of Art.  Latour worked in the department for 23 years, until he became professor emeritus of art and art history in 1991. The university honored Latour when he retired in 1991 by dedicating the Ira Latour Visual Resources Center.  

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FAQ - Writing in the Art & Art History Dept.

  • How to Start Writing a Paper

    Reading the Syllabus

    Sometimes writing assignments are listed in the syllabus; other times they are posted later in the semester.
    -If it is not on the Syllabus, ask your professor when/if it will be posted soon.
    Read the assignment as soon as you receive it. This will allow you to:
    -Process questions that you may have about the assignment.
    -Discover any possible problems that may arise.
    -Set up a timeline to successfully manage the project.

    Reading the assignment

    Read the assignment a few times.
    Highlight the “ask.”
    -What is your professor looking for?
    -What is the professor expecting from this writing assignment?
    If you have questions, talk to your professor early.
    -You can get clarification on the research paper.
    -It’s better to ask early before you get too far into your paper.
    Your professors want you to succeed, so let them help you.
    Take note of the writing requirements.
    -Check for the technical details of the paper:
    --- Fonts styles, font size, spacing, margins, citation requirements and formatting, etc.
  • Research Topics

    Topic Development

    First you must match the topic to the expectations of the writing assignment.
    -What is the length of the paper?
    -- The shorter the paper, the narrower the topic needs to be.
    --The topic should not be too broad, but needs to have enough information on the topic to be able to write a research paper.
    Narrower is almost always better!
    Develop a question, or thesis, to focus your research.
    - A thesis generally appears at the end of an introductory paragraph.
    --The thesis should be supported by the research that you have done.
    -- The thesis should also outline, for you and the reader, the concepts that will be discussed within your paper.
    * As you conduct your research, your initial ideas may change because you have found evidence that differs from the thesis. This means that your thesis may change.

    Identifying & Testing a Topic

    How to narrow down a topic:
    - You may have an overarching idea for a research paper. Limit the topics by:
    --Examining a specific time period, geographical location, gender groups, cultures, styles, etc.
    To zero in on your topic read a few articles before deciding to begin an in-depth research project.
    - When in doubt – talk to your professor about your ideas and your initial findings.
    - You can also e-mail me, Michelle to get additional help.
    See Here for a list of possible essay types to get yourself thinking.
  • Sources & Their Relevance

    How to Evaluate Resources

    Who is the author or creator of the document?
    -What are their credentials?
    -Is the author’s name present in any other research on the topic?
    -Has the author/creator been cited by others?
    Publication Information
    -Is the source current?
    -- Writings about some topics changes over time, it is important to get the most up-to-date resources.
    -Who is the publisher?
    -- If it is a University Press or large reputable publisher then they are normally of better standing.
  • How to Analyze the Content of a Resource

    Book or Article Overview

    By reading the preface or abstract, a researcher can determine the author’s intentions.
    - These are at the beginning of an article or book.
    Scan the table of contents and index to ensure that what you are reading aligns with your topic.
    - This will save you time, be protective of the time that you take to research a topic.
    Check the bibliography to find additional resources.
    - A bibiliography holds many treasures that you should use to your advantage, they will likely help your research endeavors.
    - By doing these initial scans of the book or article you are able to eliminate unnecessary resources and save valuable time.
    The content should be suitable for the type of paper you are writing.
    - Not too elementary, too technical, or too advanced. The author’s intent and intended audience needs to be right for your topic.

    Primary or Secondary Source?

    A primary source is first hand materials
    - Created during the time period being studied.
    Secondary sources are based on primary sources.
    - A work that interprets or analyzes a primary source.
  • How to Evaluate Web Resources

    What is the Purpose of the Website?

    Is the site educational, commercial, entertainment based, or promotional?
    Based on your knowledge of the topic, is the information factual, opinion-based, or one-sided?
    Is the website’s content intended for your type of project?

    Authenticity of the Site

    Who is the author or is anyone identified as such?
    - Are they a reputable source?
    - What is the author’s background?
    - Have they been cited by others on the subject?
    Is the site used as a source by others?
    Do the links on the sources cited lead to reputable sites?
    - Are they working links?
    How current is the site? When was it updated last??
  • Distinguishing a Scholarly or Non-Scholarly Periodical (Articles & Papers):


    - A writing that has cited its sources in a footnote, endnote, or bibliography. They also can include abstracts, literature reviews, methodologies, and conclusions.
    - Scholarly journals are generally original research.
    - These are research-heavy and go in-depth into a subject.
    - The audience of scholarly writings are specialized.
    - Those reading the writings are professors, students who research the subject, and the author’s peers.
    - Writings are usually peer reviewed.
    -- Examples: Books from university presses, education journals, and research journals.

    Substantive news or general interest:

    - A periodical piece in publications such as newspapers, magazines, or websites.
    -- They are generally not written by experts in their topics but by journalists, amateurs, and the general public.
    - Generally published by commercial enterprises or individuals.
    - The writings usually cover common information in broad overviews and are easy to read for the general public.
    - They are generally less accurate and less current than recent academic publications.
    -- Examples: Wikipedia, news websites, magazines, and the like.-- These articles may have a lot of images.
    Do not use Wikipedia as a source.
  • Citing Sources

    Research papers of any kind need to have cited sources. This enables anyone reading your paper to find those resources that were used in your writings. The most common formats for citing sources are:

    APA– American Psychological Association

    MLA – Modern Language Association

    Chicago Manual of Style

    Annotated Bibliography

    What does an annotated bibliography look like?
    - A citation followed by a brief description and evaluation of the cited source.
    - The annotation informs the reader of the quality, relevance, and accuracy of the cited source.
    - Be critical of the source.
    How should you process a source?
    - Write an annotation that summarizes the main theme and overarching scope of the source.
    - Include one or more sentences about the author. Who are they, what is their background, and expertise in the field.
    - Discuss the intended audience.


    Using another author’s work and calling it your own is plagiarism. This can include:
    - Copy and pasting directly from another source.
    - Buying a paper online and putting your name on it.
    - Using the ideas, research, or information, even if you’re using your own words, without properly giving the author credit.
    - When in doubt - cite the source, better safe than sorry.
  • Writing Your Paper

    First steps - Take notes

    While you have researched you should take notes and also find quotes to be cited.
    When a resource is found that will work foryour research, first type out the citation for the source.
    - Underneath the citation, write out all of your notes associating with the source.
    - By doing this you will have an organized system of keeping your notes and citations in one place.
    - By using a GoogleDoc or Word will help you keep all of your documents together. Make a folder called "Research" and have a doc for each resource. This way you can reference them quickly as you are writing.
    Having notes will help in your outline process.
    - These notes will not be in order, but the goal of creating an outline is to rearrange your ideas, notes, and quotes.
    -- These will be the raw materials used to write your essay.
    - Group your notes into categories.

    Begin with an outline

    Create general category terms that associate with your notes.
    - Look for themes in your notes.
    -- Have general and more specific categories.
    - Align these categories in a logical order.
    -- These should flow together the way that you want your readers to discover new information throughout your essay.
    --- Start at the beginning and move through all of your evidence that supports your thesis using the categories as guides.
    --- This is a roadmap for your paper and a way to process all information gathered during your research.

    Paper Structure

    Introductory Paragraph
    This paragraph will generally have a thesis statement, if it is not in the first paragraph it will be shortly there after. You must have a thesis.
    - A thesis is a clear statement of what you plan to discuss and argue throughout the paper.
    The introduction will also layout your main points and how you will move through your essay.
    Central Paragraphs
    - These will hold the evidence that will support your thesis statement.
    -- By using the sources that you have compiled through research you will have supporting evidence that attempts to prove your thesis.
    -- This could be quotes, visual evidence in the work of art you are referring to, primary sources, secondary sources, etc.
    - Your argument will also be placed in these paragraphs.
    -- Use information with substance, not just descriptions.
    -- You are ultimately trying to argue that your thesis is correct, use evidence that connects back to your thesis statement.
    - This is an area for closing remarks.
    - Essentially a conclusion needs to explain the main points in a concise way.
    - One paragraph summing up everything that was just written over the last x amount of pages.
    - There should be a point to all of your research and the importance of your thesis brought to light.
    -- Do not include new information in the paragraph, this is meant to sum up information not bring out new ideas.
  • Proofreading Your Paper

    This is such an important step!

    After you “finish” your paper. Set it down and walk away for a little bit of time.
    - Come back to your paper after an hour or the next morning with fresh eyes.
    - This will give your eyes and mind a rest and you can return to your paper with new energy.
    Read your paper out loud!
    - This is so helpful, a lot of the times when we read in our heads we will correct the text that we see without even thinking about it.
    - When you read out loud, be deliberate. Make sure to read what is actually on the page.
    Spell check does not catch every mistake.
    - Now, with auto-correct features on many devices, we assume that the correct word has been placed in the spot when typing… that is not always the case.
    See Dr. Asa Mittman's example on the importance of proofreading here, you do not want to write about a loin instead of a lion for 8 pages.
    Proofreading is not only about spelling and grammar.
    - Does your paper make sense?
    - Are you making arguments that support your thesis?
    - Is the paper in an order that flows?
  • Formatting Your Paper

    Make sure to read the guidelines that have been laid out in the assignment.

    Common inclusions are:
    - Times New Roman 12pt font
    - 1 inch margins
    - Double spacing
    To reference an image use (fig.1) etc. and place the images after the bibliography.
    If you have a quote that exceeds three lines that should be indented and use single space. No quotation marks are necessary on a long quote that is at least three lines.
    To make a Footnote (if required) in Windows & on Google Docs click Insert>Footnote.
    - In a footnote if you cite the same source multiple times, you do not need to have the full footnote. The authors name and page number needs to appear after the first full footnote. Ie. Feldstein, 12.
    - If you cite the same source directly after its cited use Ibid. ie. Ibid, 13.
    The full footnote needs to appear for each source cited. See Art History Rules or refer to Perdue Owl to get guidelines for each writing style.
  • Additional Resources for Writing a Paper

    Online Resources

    Art History Rules
    Perdue Owl
    The Meriam Library has a guide on their website for Art & Art History ResourcesCheck there for additional information that may not be here.

    Books about Writing

    A Short Guide to Writing about Art by Sylvan Barnet
    A great book to own if you will be taking multiple Art History Courses. There are many editions, you can buy it used to get a great price. Available at Powell's
    - Located in the Ira Latour: (reserve) & N7476 B37 2008
    - Located in the Meriam Library: 3rd Floor Main Collection - N7476 B37 2000
    - ISBN: 9780205886999
  • Using the Meriam Library Website
    - Meriam Library Homepage

    The Resource Guide for the Art & Art History Department. Art & will have specific information for research questions in the Arts.
    - You will see links to Art related databases.
    How to use the OneSearch toolbar on the Meriam Library Homepage.
    - The pull down menu will give you multiple options
    -- OneSearch @ Chico
    -- Articles - If you know the title or journal name.
    -- Books @ Chico - This is the option that I always start with.
    -- Books @ all CSUs - If you want to find books at any CSU campus.
    What is Interlibrary Loan?
    Interlibrary loans is a service that connects all CSU libraries so that students, faculty, and staff can request books that will help their research needs.
    - Use their website to find out more details about Interlibrary Loans.
    - In order to use Interlibrary loans you will need to log into your Library Account which will allow you to request items as you search. You will just need your login information.
    On the homepage you will find a list of Quick links some useful links to help you research are
    - Interlibrary Services
    - Checkout/Renew Books
    - Databases A-Z
    - Special Collections
    - Research Subject Guides

Online Resources

The center provides images to be used for research assignments, course study pages, and lectures. Five computers are available for student access along with scanning stations.

All VRC materials must be used for educational purposes only. 

Art Opportunities & Related Links

Download these PDFs to find long lists of databases or individual opportunities within the Arts.