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Each year we hold user group meetings at VRA and ARLIS (conferences focusing on art librarianship and the use of visual resources in education, respectively) to give our core community of librarians the latest Artstor news and answer their questions. This year, we met with groups from around the country in New York and Philadelphia to share updates about Artstor’s platform and collections, and engaged in lively discussions about the new site and what’s to come. For those unable to attend, we’re providing a roundup of our sessions.

Last year we released a new Artstor site featuring a number of improvements, some visible (new features), and others invisible (new services that provide faster searches). We’ve been refining and improving the site through small weekly releases ever since, and will continuously improve its features and functionality.

Some of the major improvements we’ve implemented in the past year include our fullscreen image viewer, Quiz Mode, the ability to conduct an advanced search without entering terms, the ability to search and filter within a specific collection, 360-degree virtual reality panoramas, and an improved citation tool with the option to generate citations in multiple styles. We’re happy to note that a number of these changes were based on suggestions from our users.

So, what’s next for Artstor? We’ve been busy interviewing faculty about their teaching processes so that we can improve our existing tools in ways that are most valuable to teachers. Currently in the works are improved image group functionality, including snapshot views of group ownership and content, as well as improved tag filtering. Additionally, we’re committed to maintaining the Offline Image Viewer (OIV)–an important tool for art history faculty–and are in the early planning stages to support its functionality with more modern technology, while providing a transition method for those who have created years worth of OIV presentations.

We will also be releasing our new Personal Collections this spring. This feature was temporarily removed when we released the new site this summer. Personal collections allow you to upload a limited number of your own images to Artstor, add them to your image groups, and share them with others.

And finally, we will be making Shared Shelf Commons images available openly on Artstor, making Artstor a place where open content from JSTOR Forum-subscribing institutions is commingled with restricted content from Artstor’s collections. Individuals with Artstor subscriptions will continue to be able to access both Artstor and Shared Shelf Commons images, while those who do not have a subscription will have the ability to access open content directly in the Artstor interface.

As we move forward, we’re committed to continuously refining Artstor’s features and functionality according to the needs of faculty, librarians, and students. Sign up for our “Mastering Artstor” newsletter to get monthly updates on our progress.