2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Artstor as a live service. Throughout the year we will introduce you to the people behind our organization and the roles they play in supporting Artstor’s mission to use digital technology to enhance scholarship, teaching, and learning.

The core responsibilities of Artstor’s Metadata Department are to analyze, edit, enhance, and map the data we receive from our collection contributors, with the goal of aiding image discovery in the Digital Library. Working with the Collections, Legal, Production, and Technology teams, we strive to find efficient and innovative ways of adding new content to Artstor.


Below are just some of our team’s tasks:
Mapping at its simplest requires matching source field names to the Artstor schema display names, such as Creator, Title, and Date. The “meatier” the supplied data we receive from a contributor, the more informative an Artstor record will be. Occasionally, additional cataloging is required.

To support the Digital Library’s Advanced Search and Browse functions, Metadata enhances the source data by adding Artstor classification terms and the Getty Research Institute’s Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN) terms for nations. Metadata also supplies earliest and latest dates—the range of dates within which an object is estimated or known to have been created.

Artists are sometimes known by different names, so we use the Artstor Name Authority (ANA), a tool used in collaboration with the Getty’s Union List of Artist Names (ULAN), to make creator name variants available for searching in the Digital Library. For example, when you search for Jean Bologne, your search results will lead to Giambologna, the preferred instance of the Renaissance sculptor’s name.


In an attempt to consolidate and reduce the amount of repetitive records returned on a search, Metadata also gathers, or clusters, images of the same work. You can read about why clusters can be an important part of your research here.

In order to properly acknowledge copyright and to accommodate differing national copyright laws, our team also performs Legal Review, a significant task that requires examining images for US or worldwide release and for assigning copyright statements when appropriate.

And, finally, Metadata doesn’t only work on metadata! We also created and regularly update a set of art history topics and a set of interdisciplinary topics, which you can find by clicking on Featured Groups in the Artstor Digital Library Search page.

Kristine Heid-Santiago, Metadata Manager


You may also be interested in: