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ENGL 3159: English Colloquium Fall 2020 (Akbari)

About this guide

Welcome! In this guide, you'll find resources and strategies you can use as you research and curate your own virtual gallery of Renaissance art, for the English Colloquium (Professor Akbari).


  • Resources to research background and contextual information on your topic and the approaches you might be bringing to your research (see links below)
  • Strategies and tools to find images of visual art from the Renaissance
  • Strategies and tools for researching the history and criticism of these works of visual art (and other critical, secondary sources)
  • Resources for citing your sources
  • Updated information on remote library services available via Barnard, Columbia, and other libraries
  • Guidelines for getting required course texts for free via the Library

Please feel free to book an appointment with me on my calendar page, for further support with your research!


Image: Durer, Albrecht (1515). The Rhinoceros. Via Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

Finding Search Terms


Here are some tips for finding search terms. It's a great idea to start thinking about these before you search in catalogs, databases, and other search tools.

  • Write down keywords and key phrases that relate to your topic(s) and can lead you to the texts you are seeking. Think of alternative terms. If you want to visualize them spatially, start a concept map, or mind map. Some types of terms you might want to list for yourself:
    • Regions/parts of the world that interest you (these could be places where art was being made, or places depicted/imagined)
    • Subjects/ depictions that interest you (i.e. rebellion, food, cats)
    • Themes that interest you, related to historical context (i.e. Spain and colonialism)
    • Artistic and/or literary forms or genres that interest you
    • When known, names of artists and/or specific works
  • Research backgrounds and contexts, if you would like (see Reference Sources for some reference sources that can help with this). Reference sources can give you additional ideas for key words and phrases to try in your searches.
  • Make room for alternate spellings of terms, or names. especially ones translated/transliterated from languages other than English.
  • Use the words and phrases on your concept map in your searches across catalogs and databases. Try out different combinations!


Reference Sources