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K-12 Librarian's Guide to Artstor

Getting started with the Artstor Digital Library

Looking for images cleared for use in education? You're in the right place.

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 Artstor Digital Library, including:

  • How to use the Artstor Digital Library
  • Accessing the Admin and Statistics sites; site requirements
  • Promoting Artstor
  • Content and Metadata information

Happy searching!

K-12 Mailing List

Stay on top of new developments

Sign up for the Artstor-K12 listserv and stay up to date on platform developments, technical issues, and how community members are using the Artstor Digital Library. To subscribe, follow the link here.

Artstor Webinars

Become an Artstor Expert 

Learn everything you can do with the Artstor Digital Library in one of our free webinars, which are open to librarians, faculty, and students. 

Check the schedule on the link and sign up for our webinars. "Artstor training for K-12 Teaching and Learning" webinar is a great way to learn the basic practices that will help you with your teaching. Other highlights are "Teaching Resources: The Artstor Digital Library for Instructors" and "Making the Most of Your Presentations: Artstor Digital Library Resources for Teaching and Presenting."

If the current calendar of offerings is not convenient, email to schedule a time that works with your schedule (including international times).

Help Resources

Support Site: a fully searchable support site outlining all of the Artstor Digital Library's features, known issues, and technical alerts. Visit the site at

Training Videos: view helpful training videos about registering for an account, using folders, and more.

Need assistance? User Services is available between 9am and 6pm EST. 


Phone: 877.771.4908 (USA only), +1 212.500.2414

Twitter: @artstorhelp


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. JSTOR has their own helpful Libguides - you can check them out here.

What are approved ways to use Artstor Images?

You may access, use, display, make performances with, reproduce and distribute the content in the Digital Library, provided they are for the following permitted uses only: (a) classroom instruction and related classroom activities; (b) student assignments and research; (c) research activities of faculty, scholars, and curators; (d) public display or public performances as part of a noncommercial scholarly or educations presentation, such as in an educational, cultural, or scholarly seminar, class, lecture, conference, exhibit, or workshop, or a similar noncommercial professional activity, if such use conforms to the customary and usual practice in the field;  (f) use in student, faculty, or curatorial portfolio, including non-public display thereof; (e) use in research or a dissertation, including reproductions of the dissertation, provided such reproductions are only for personal use, library deposit, and.or use solely within the institution(s) with with you and/or your faculty or curatorial readers are affiliated. For more on the terms and conditions of use please click here.

Can I print Artstor Images?

Yes, you can print Artstor images as long as you comply with our terms and conditions. For instructions on how to print an Artstor image visit our support page

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.

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.

Because these downloaded images are outside of 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.

Will Artstor continue to improve the quality of images in its collections as better images become available?

Yes. Artstor is committed to quality. Many of our collections offer high-quality images and the most authoritative cataloging data available, while others are  photo archives and slide libraries, and are useful for many purposes. Some of the images in the latter 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.

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 Images for Academic Publishing (IAP), very high-resolution images free-of-charge for use in noncommercial scholarly publications. Artstor users can download IAP images by providing some basic information and agreeing to its 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).