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ART_HIST_379-0: Special Topics in Architecture: East Asian Architecture (Hu): Art History Writing Resources

Zushi Pagoda
Foguang Temple
Mount Wutai, Shanxi Province
From the exhibit "Architecture China" at Tsinghua University Art Museum, Beijing

Art History Writing Resources

Writing about art is a specialized subset of academic writing, one with a specific vocabulary and approach. These resources will help you understand and develop your own sense of how to write about art.


Art history uses the Chicago Style for citations and bibliographies. While proper citing can often seem daunting, full of obscure rules and exceptions, there are several resources that can make the job easier.

  • The library maintains an online subscription to the Chicago Manual of Style, as well as a printed copy at the Art Library Service Desk. It can be accessed by searching for "Chicago Manual of Style" in NUSearch, and following the link for "Online Access"
  • The Purdue Owl (Purdue Online Writing Lab) is a comprehensive resource for information on academic citations in general, with basic guidelines and detailed examples for several citation styles, including Chicago.

Citation Managers

The task of managing citations is almost as difficult as formatting them correctly. The problem becomes even more acute as your writing develops and your research requirements increase in number and complexity. Citation Managers are software applications that organize your citations, keeping track of necessary data and formatting it correctly according to a chosen citation style. They work as either standalone programs or browser plug-ins, and some can integrate with popular word processing software to mange, insert, and format citations and bibliographies as you write. Popular examples include:

Because they all offer the same basic functionality, the choice is often a matter of personal preference based on ease of use, extensabilty, or specific features. The library offers workshops for each one, which can provide a basic introduction and help you choose which is right for your individual needs.

In addition, there are dedicated LibGuides for Endnote and Zotero.


Your writing will naturally build on the work of others, while simultaneously adding your own voice to the academic conversation. That conversation requires, however, that you acknowledge the contributions of the authors and artists whose words and ideas you use. Failing to do so is plagiarism, a serious academic offense that consists of submitting work that is not the author's own, without acknowledging the sources on which it relies.

Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the University statements on academic integrity and plagiarism, including information relevant to your individual school: