Skip to main content

Instructor's Guide to Artstor

Getting started with Artstor Digital Library

The Artstor Digital Library (library.artstor.org) is a resource containing over 2 million images from the world's museums, archives, libraries, scholars, and artists. Use Artstor to find images for papers, presentations, and study in the humanities. There's also a set of tools for sharing images, curating groups of images, downloading them directly into powerpoint presentations, and comparing and contrasting images.

This guide provides broad knowledge about the Artstor Digital Library's content and features in order to help you get the most out of the resource, including:
    •    Finding images in Artstor
    •    Using Artstor images in papers
    •    Presenting with Artstor images
    •    Curating and sharing images in Artstor

Register for an Account

You must register for an account in order to use many of Artstor’s features, such as downloading images, curating groups of images, and downloading groups of images to PowerPoint. Images in Artstor come from a wide range of sources, and many of them are under copyright. Registered accounts ensure that we meet our agreements with image contributors and protect their content.

There are two ways to register for an Artstor account:

  1. From any computer on campus, go to library.artstor.org. The database will recognize your IP address as belonging to a subscribing institution, and grant you access automatically. From the home page, click “register” in the upper right corner and enter your information. You can then use this account to log into Artstor from anywhere.
  2. Go to your library’s website and log in through your institution’s proxy. On your library’s list of databases, select Artstor. Since you are logged in through the proxy, the database will recognize your IP address as belonging to your institution and you will automatically be granted access. In the upper right corner of the homepage, click “register” and enter your information. You can now use these credentials to log in directly at library.artstor.org from anywhere.

After you have registered for an account, you will have 120 days of remote access. After 120 days you will need to log in to Artstor from a computer on campus--or through your library’s proxy--in order to reset your remote access for another 120 days.

Help

There are many ways to get help using Artstor:

Support site

A fully searchable site outlining all of the Artstor Digital Library's features, known issues, and technical alerts is available at support.artstor.org.

Training videos

A full list of training videos is available at www.youtube.com/artstor.

Phone support

User Services is available between 9am and 6pm EST. 
Email: support@artstor.org
Phone: 877.771.4908 (USA only), +1 212.500.2414
Twitter: @artstorhelp

Artstor Webinars

Learn everything you can do with the Artstor Digital Library (and ask questions!) in one of our free webinars, which are open to students as well as librarians and faculty. All sessions are scheduled in Eastern Time (ET).

www.artstor.org/webinars

FAQ's

Is Artstor related to JSTOR?
The name Artstor is derived from JSTOR, a digital library initiative previously sponsored by the Mellon Foundation. While Artstor differs from JSTOR in its content and features, both organizations fall under the umbrella of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that works with the global higher education community to advance and preserve knowledge and to improve teaching and learning through the use of digital technologies.

What is the quality and resolution of images in Artstor?
The images in the Digital Library are derived from a range of sources. Collections may be built from color transparencies of varying resolution, scanned photographic prints, or direct digital photography of objects in museums and in the field. Professional vendors are utilized to digitize the analog materials at as a high resolution as permitted by the original source materials. One of Artstor's goals is to learn more about what approaches to building collections are appropriate for different uses in different institutional settings.

Images are presented within the Digital Library at 72 DPI, which is the average monitor resolution. The sizes of Artstor images range from 1,500 pixels to 10,000 pixels on a side. To put this into perspective, the most common display resolution for computer monitors is 1024 x 768 pixels, making typical Artstor image files two or more times larger than the monitor display.

Will Artstor continue to improve the quality of images in its collections as better images become available?
Artstor is committed to quality. Many of the Artstor collections offer high-quality images and the most authoritative cataloging data available. Some collections are built around large curated image collections, such as those offered by photo archives and slide libraries, and are useful for many purposes. We believe that some of the images in these collections should be thought of as placeholders that will eventually be supplanted by (or supplemented with) better quality images as they become available. For more information, see the next question regarding duplicate images.

Why are there duplicates of some images in Artstor?
You will find occasional duplication of images within some collections, as well as overlap between collections. Because of different opinions about which is the better image, and because Artstor is not the authority for the original works, we provide all versions we have so that you can make the choice yourself about which to use. We have clustered duplicated images together so that you are initially presented with one preferred image that we feel is the truest representation of an object. Alternate versions are accessible by clicking on the "cluster" icon, located beneath the preferred image.

Because these images are being removed from the Artstor environment, we must restrict the size in order to ensure that this resource will only be used for noncommercial, scholarly purposes consistent with the interests of content providers. As of January 2008, approximately 95% of Artstor's collections are available for download at 1024 pixels on the long side, while the remaining 5% may be downloaded at 400 pixels on the long side. Download size is determined on a collection basis by the provider of each collection.

Can I reproduce Artstor images in publications?
Images downloaded by clicking the "Save" icon in the image viewer within the Digital Library may not be used in publications, except for student papers, theses, and dissertations (provided the dissertations are not distributed widely). Artstor images may not be used for any commercial purpose, such as being incorporated into a publication distributed by a press, regardless of whether that press is commercial or non-profit.

However, Artstor does provide a way to download very high-resolution images free-of-charge for use in noncommercial scholarly publications. Artstor's Images for Academic Publishing (IAP) initiative seeks to facilitate scholarship in the arts by reducing the costs associated with publishing images in academic journals and similar publications. Artstor users can download IAP images by providing some basic information and agreeing to the IAP Terms & Conditions of Use. To find an image that is available through IAP, simply add "IAP" to your search criteria. IAP images will have an icon reading "IAP" located directly beneath their thumbnail image. In some instances, third-party copyright permissions may be needed (such as where the underlying work in an image is still under copyright).