Books typically give a broad, thorough treatment of a subject, usually from a retrospective point of view. In the Ryerson Library, most books on Art History are located in the "N" call number range, and on history of architecture in the "NA" call number range on the 8th floor.
A catalogue raisonné is a complete and annotated scholarly compendium of all the known works of art that have been attributed to a certain artist. There may be many volumes for artists that produced a lot of work, organized chronologically or by medium. The information included may incorporate images, titles, dates, dimensions, edition size (for prints) etc. These authoritative resources are often used to authenticate artists' work.
A database from the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) is available to search for published catalogues raisonnés, and those pending publication: http://www.ifar.org/cat_rais.php
International Arts, an organization that deals with art collections management has a selection of online catalogues that can be accessed for free with registration.
There is a Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association, established for researchers working on catalogues, and those interested in these publications.
Several institutions have made high quality, relevant textbooks and monographs available for download. These are well edited and reviewed resources from scholars, researchers, and professional organizations. Following are some resources you can trust to provide good information. Remember that you still need to cite open source content thoroughly, following Ryerson's Academic Integrity Policies.
The Art Canada Institute has made monographs on a variety of Canadian artists available for free online. Started in 2012, the Institute is a non-profit research organization based at Massey College, University of Toronto with a mandate "to promote the study of an inclusive multi-vocal Canadian art history to as broad an audience as possible, in both English and French, within Canada and internationally". The site contains original content created by Canadian art historians and other related experts. The online publications are fully accessible PDF's that are available in English and French.
MetPublications has a long history of scholarship in the arts, and has made 456 title from its more than 5 decades of publication freely available online. You can browse, search and download books for free or print on demand. Many topics in Art History are represented, including Furniture design, Fashion, Musical Instruments, Painting, Sculpture, Jewelry, Conservation Techniques, Prehistoric Art, and Sculpture. The publications include images.
Haute Couture, 1995, by Richard Martin and Harold Koda.
Books published before 1923 are out of copyright and in the public domain. These titles can be found online from sources such as:
Google Books can also be a good place to search if you are looking for information on an art work as it will often allow you to preview a few pages of a book even if it is copyrighted.