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February 14, 2006

Collaborative Agreement Reached Between Sarah Quill and ARTstor

Sarah Quill and ARTstor announced today that they had reached an agreement to collaborate on the digitization and distribution through ARTstor of several thousand images from Sarah Quill’s unique photographic archive devoted to the architectural history of the city of Venice, Italy. For more than 30 years, Sarah Quill has been photographing the buildings and civic life of Venice. Her marvelous photographs have been reproduced in innumerable books and articles devoted to subjects ranging from the architecture of the Italian Renaissance to architectural conservation and cultural heritage policy, as well as in her own publications, including Ruskin’s Venice: The Stones Revisited. Through this agreement, ARTstor will digitize up to 10,000 slides from Sarah Quill’s unique archive.

In reaching this agreement, Sarah Quill and Max Marmor, ARTstor’s Director of Collection Development, expressed their enthusiasm in collaborating to preserve this unique archive and to make its contents available for educational and scholarly use through ARTstor. “I am delighted that the archive will be associated with this important resource” comments Sarah Quill. “Our exciting partnership with Sarah Quill represents a major milestone in ARTstor’s effort to provide a rich body of architectural history images for use by teachers, students and scholars,” adds Marmor. “No major European city has been more richly documented than the city of Venice, thanks to Sarah Quill’s epic documentation effort.”

Sarah Quill is the preeminent modern photographer and chronicler of the built environment and public spaces of Venice. She works in London and Venice, and is well-known as photographer, teacher, and scholar.

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February 9, 2006

ARTstor at College Art Association Annual Conference

We wanted to let you know that ARTstor will be attending the upcoming College Art Association (CAA) Annual Conference in Boston this month. We will have a booth in Exhibit Hall A at the Hynes Convention Center to provide updates on ARTstor activities and answer questions about using the ARTstor Digital Library. Our booth number is 341.

We will also have a suite for those users interested in scheduling training. Please be in touch to schedule a convenient time for training in the suite, or feel free to forward this message to others at your institution as you see appropriate.

Suite Location: Boston Marriott Copley Place, 110 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA.

Contact the User Services team at userservices@artstor.org to schedule training during the following dates and times:

  • February 23, Thursday, 2006: 9:00am-6:00pm
  • February 24, Friday, 2006: 9:00am-6:00pm
  • February 25, Saturday, 2006: 9:00am-2:30pm

There will be signs and flyers available in the lobby at the concierge desk with the suite number.

We would also like to invite you to a special ARTstor breakfast meeting for participants and non-participants.

  • Friday, February 24 from 7:30–9:00am
  • Hynes Convention Center
  • Room 210

Andrew Hershberger, Ph.D, Assistant Professor at Bowling Green University will discuss his experiences with using digital technology in the classroom. Mr. Hershberger’s talk will be followed by a presentation of new enhancements to ARTstor and a short presentation on forthcoming collections. There will be time for questions. We hope you will have an opportunity to join us.

In addition, the CAA group, Art Historians Interested in Pedagogy and Technology (AHPT), has invited ARTstor to participate in its business meeting. ARTstor User Services will demonstrate the Offline Image Viewer.

The business meeting is being held on Friday, February 24th, and begins at 5:30pm with the OIV demonstration starting at approximately 6:40pm. The meeting will be held at the Hynes Convention Center, Room 203. AHPT has opened the meeting to anyone interested in learning about pedagogy and technology. We hope that you will be able to participate.

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January 18, 2006

ARTstor Releases XML Gateway for Metasearching

As part of our continued effort to increase the convenience of accessing the ARTstor Digital Library, we have developed an XML gateway to facilitate the metasearching of ARTstor content. Many of our participating institutions have implemented metasearch engines that allow users to search multiple electronic resources using a single interface and have requested that ARTstor facilitate similar functionality. In response, ARTstor created an XML gateway that provides both a stable, standardized method for querying the ARTstor Digital Library, as well as a technique for retrieving search results that can be easily utilized by a metasearch program. Please see <metaserching> in our public website for more information.

The ARTstor XML Gateway is currently is production with Exlibris. Additional partners not yet in production include WebFeat, Serials Solutions’ Central Search, and CSA. For a complete list of all our current partners, please see the Metasearch Partner Contact Information Page located in the Technology section of our website. If you know of an organization or vendor that we should contact to facilitate metasearching, please contact us.

If you have any questions about these new developments, please do not hesitate to contact User Services. We can be reached Monday through Friday by email at userservices@artstor.org or by phone at 888.278.0079.

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January 13, 2006

ARTstor Clusters Images and Improves Image Quality

Clustering Images
Like the traditional slide library, the ARTstor Digital Library has more than its share of redundant images. Some are literally duplicates – digital images made from the same photographic source. Others are merely functionally redundant – multiple views of the same object that seem to contribute nothing extra to teaching or research. Why does ARTstor have so many duplicative images? There are two primary reasons for this duplication. First, some of ARTstor’s source collections themselves contain these redundancies. Secondly, as we are constantly adding collections, many of the new images represent works of art that are already in the ARTstor Digital Library. Often, this multiplicity increases the richness with which ARTstor documents these works; sometimes, however. it simply leads to more redundancy. Understandably, while some users welcome – or at least willingly tolerate – this variety, others find it distracting.

In order to enhance our users’ experience while working with the ARTstor Digital Library, ARTstor staff have been working behind the scenes to begin to cluster like images and to reduce this kind of duplication. We have begun to identify redundant images – both literal duplicates and “functionally redundant” images. Initially, we are focusing our efforts on a core component of the Charter Collection: those key works of art that are most frequently sought out and consulted by ARTstor users. By concentrating on de-duplicating those images that are most often searched, viewed, and saved into image groups, we hope to greatly improve the experience of a majority of our users in the very near term. And because much ARTstor use to date has revolved around teaching, our early efforts at de-duplication will likely have the greatest impact on “canonic” works of world art. But we expect to expand our effort over time in order to embrace less frequently consulted images as well, with the understanding that such duplication is much less common outside core areas of art history.

In listening to our users, we have concluded that we should not completely remove such duplicative images from ARTstor. Rather, we are clustering these images so that when users perform searches in ARTstor, they will not be confronted with myriad versions of same image. Increasingly, they will see a single image of a given work of art, with additional images clustered behind that main image. These clustered images are ones that we believe are duplicative in some meaningful sense. This icon will signal the availability of such supplementary, “clustered” images.

This approach should, over time, begin to address the dissonance some users feel when they encounter multiple versions of the same image. This strategy also preserves the user’s ability to select the image that best meets his or her immediate need as teacher or scholar – whether to illustrate a particular point, or to give a sense of how one image more faithfully represents the original object than another.

Improved Image Quality
In our continuing effort to develop the collections in the ARTstor Digital Library, we are often – and increasingly – able to provide users with truly superior digital images. Sometimes these images represent new high resolution digital photography from the original object, whether in a museum or in the Gobi Desert. In other cases, they are images scanned from large-format photographs of such objects. In order to highlight and make the most of such superlative images, our effort to cluster duplicative images has taken on an additional dimension. In addition to associating affiliated images, we are also actively drawing the user’s attention to the best image that ARTstor has to offer for a given work of art. As indicated above, we are often hesitant to make such judgement calls ourselves. But, when we have access to an image that seems, based on objective criteria, very likely to be superior and of greatest interest to our users, we are assigning this image priority in our clustering efforts.

As a result, you will typically find that a cluster of duplicative images has been appended to an image that was either made via direct digital capture from the original object (increasingly, but not always, an image contributed by the museum that owns that object) or scanned from a large- format photograph of that object (often contributed to ARTstor via collections such as the Carnegie Arts of the United States or collaborations with organizations such as Scala Archives, which create and assemble high quality photographic archives documenting museum collections, as well as architectural monuments and sites).

In some cases, such an objectively superior image will not yet be available to us for a key work of art that has been identified as a priority for de-duplication due to frequency of use. Despite the temporary absence of a superior image, we feel that it is essential to address the redundancy of these key momuments. For this reason, ARTstor users should also anticipate encountering image “clusters” in which the preferred image may not be a high resolution image. In such instances, we will continue our ongoing effort to provide superior images, guided as always by the needs of ARTstor users. So please continue to let us know how we can work to address your needs!

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January 9, 2006

Enhancements to the Digital Library

In response to user feedback, we have made enhancements to the interface of the Digital Library. These improvements should make ARTstor even easier to use, while preserving all of the existing functionality that you have come to depend on for teaching, sharing, study or research. The enhancements are concentrated in three areas: the Image Viewer, the Thumbnail and Collection Browsing pages, and the Toolbar menu. In addition, we increased the Remote Access Grace period from 14 and 90 days to 120 days for all users.

Image Viewer

  • Images can now be rotated 360 degrees within the viewer.
  • For presentation or testing purposes, users can now hide the entire caption, removing the title and creator from the Image Viewer and any descriptive information from the banner.
  • Users can now see exactly what percentage of the actual image file size they are viewing and will not be able to zoom-in past the actual size of the image.

Thumbnail and Collection Browsing Pages

  • In the Thumbnail page, images of key works of art will increasingly be “clustered” so that users have a choice whether to see multiple versions of the same image.
  • In the Thumbnail page, users can now toggle between the familiar Thumbnail mode and a new List Mode, which displays a scrollable list of all the images in an Image Group or result set with their accompanying data.
  • Registered users can now save their preferred display mode to their User Preferences.
  • While in the Collection Browsing pages, users can now expand a category to view all sub-categories by clicking on the plus sign to the left of each category.
  • The number of images within each category and sub-category is now listed in parentheses to the right of each category title.

Toolbar

  • We created separate Back and History menu buttons so that you can navigate through ARTstor in the same way that you navigate the Internet. The Back button permits users to step backwards through their recently visited pages, while the History button shows a list of the places visited during the current session.
  • We altered the wording of existing menu options in the Image Groups, View and Tools menus to make it easier for users to locate desired menu items. Please be assured that we did not remove or change the function of any menu items, just renamed them in more intuitive ways.
  • We collapsed the Collections and Browse Collection buttons into one button to provide consistency when navigating across collections.
  • We’d like to thank you all for an exciting and productive year. We appreciate hearing your suggestions, questions and concerns about ARTstor. Many of these enhancements are a direct result of user feedback; please continue to contact us so we can improve ARTstor in 2006 and beyond.

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January 9, 2006

New Version of the Offline Image Viewer Available

he latest release of the ARTstor Offline Image Viewer (version 2.5) contains additional features and enhanced functionality that were not available in previous versions of the software. Many of the new features are a direct result of user feedback and recommendations. In addition to all of the functionality of previous versions, the new release of the Offline Image Viewer will include the following new features:

  • Users can now print slides from the Slide Editor panel;
  • Images displayed in the Image Palette can be adjusted to display a caption of title and creator with each image, no caption or all descriptive information;
  • Shapes such as circles, squares and arrows can be added to a slide;
  • Colors, borders, and shading can be added to those shapes;
  • The User Preferences now permits users to select defaults for new slides such as background color and font size, type and color;
  • For those users connecting to the Internet from a valid IP address, the OIV will re-authenticate automatically; they will not have to manually renew the ARTstor certificate every thirty days;
  • Finally, Mac users will see greatly improved performance in speed when opening and progressing through presentations.

To download your new copy, click on the “Search and Browse for Images” link on the ARTstor home page and enter the Digital Library. In order to access the software, you will need to log on to your ARTstor user account first. Once logged on, click on the “Tools” toolbar button and select the option for “Download Offline Viewer “. You will be prompted to accept the Terms and Conditions of Use before downloading the software. Click on the “Accept” button to proceed.

You’ll see a window in which all currently available versions of the OIV will be listed. The recommended version for your workstation will be pre-selected for you. To download a previous version of the OIV or the version for a different operating system, click on the appropriate radio button. Click on the “Submit” button to begin your download. A pop-up window will appear prompting you to choose between opening and saving the new file. Click on the “Save” button and select a location on your computer to which you would like to save the file. The default location is your desktop. Please note, the download can take some time on slower internet connections. For detailed instructions on how to install the OIV, please visit the page Installing the OIV 2.5 on our online help website.

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December 19, 2005

ARTstor at ALA MidWinter Meeting

We wanted to let you know that we will be attending the upcoming American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter meeting in San Antonio next month. Representatives from both our User Services and Library Relations teams will be at the meeting to provide updates on ARTstor activities, answer questions about using the ARTstor Digital Library, and to offer training to participants. Please be in touch to schedule a convenient time for training in the suite.

The suite will be located in the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Hotel on 123 Losoya Street. There will be signs in the lobby or flyers available at the concierge desk with the suite number.

Contact the User Services team at userservices@artstor.org to schedule training during the following dates and times:

  • Saturday, January 21, 2006: 10:00am-3:00pm
  • Sunday, January 22, 2006: 10:00am-5:00pm
  • Monday, January 23, 2006: 10:00am-1:00am

We would also like to invite you to a special ARTstor reception for participants and non-participants:
Saturday, January 21, 2006

  • 4:00-5:00pm
  • Emily Morgan Hotel
  • 705 East Houston Street
  • Meeting Room II

Bill Walker, University Librarian at the University of Miami, will be speaking about his institution’s use of ARTstor, including their experience with hosting a previously digitized, institutional collection within ARTstor. Mr. Walker’s talk will be followed by an update on the new developments at ARTstor. There will be time for questions, followed by a light reception. We hope you will have an opportunity to join us.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio.

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November 14, 2005

Name that Software!

While we are excited about the new functionality of the ARTstor Offline Image Viewer (OIV), we aren’t sure OIV is the best name.

We are interested in your point of view. Does OIV need a name? Do you have an idea for a name?

We are reserving a stack of chocolate bars and an ARTstor t-shirt for anyone who solves our naming dilemma.

Email your ideas, along with your name, institutional affiliation and role, to namingcontest@artstor.org.

We are accepting suggestions for names until Friday, December 9th, 2005.

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September 27, 2005

Collaborative Agreement Reached Between Art Resource, Scala Archives and ARTstor

Art Resource, Scala Group, and ARTstor announced today that they had reached an agreement to collaborate on the digitization and distribution through ARTstor of approximately 12,000 high quality digital images of Italian art and architecture. Scala Archives’ photographic holdings uniquely document the artistic heritage of Italy and Europe from antiquity to the 20th Century, with particular strengths in the art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance. The scholarly literature on these subjects has long been fundamentally dependent upon the Scala Archives, whose color photographs richly illustrate virtually every important monograph on Italian architects, artists, and monuments, as well as textbooks and historical surveys of the art of Italy. Among the monuments, sites, and museums that are expected to be included in this collaboration are the Uffizi Gallery, the Galleria Borghese, the Vatican Museums, the Roman Forum, the Palazzo Pitti, the Brera Museum, the Churches of Ravenna, the Catacombs, Pompeii and very many others.

In reaching this agreement, Dr. Theodore Feder, President of Art Resource, Alvise Passigli, Vice President and CEO of the Scala Group, and James Shulman, ARTstor’s Executive Director, expressed their enthusiasm in collaborating to use digital technologies to make these high quality images of the art and architecture of Italy more broadly available for noncommercial educational and scholarly purposes. “We are delighted to be able to augment ARTstor’s offerings to its many subscribers in a field so essential to the study of art history and archaeology,” comments Dr. Feder. “Our new partnership with Scala Archives and Art Resource represents an important milestone in ARTstor’s ongoing effort to provide teachers, scholars and students with high-quality digital images of key works and monuments of world art,” affirms Shulman. “We are excited at the prospect of working with Scala in an ongoing way to further develop their extraordinarily rich archives and ARTstor’s library of images.”

Scala Archives was founded in Florence, Italy, in 1953 when color photography was coming to be the medium of preference for recording works of art. The firm soon established working relationships with most of Italy’s museums as well as a number of other institutions outside of Italy. It has at one time or another served as the official archive for many of these collections, including the Vatican Museums. The archive now numbers some 80,000 large format (5 x 7″ and 8 x 10″) transparencies covering all periods of Western art from antiquity to the present. Scala transparencies are offered for use in books, magazines, prints, CD-ROM, television, film, and publicity.

Established in 1968, Art Resource is the principal source of fine art images for commercial and scholarly publications and other contexts in the United States. Art Resource functions as the official rights and permissions representative for a wide range of museums and visual arts archives around the world.

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September 20, 2005

ARTstor Announces Immediate Release of Additional Images from Museums

In July 2005, ARTstor announced the release into the ARTstor Digital Library of more than 25,000 images from the former AMICO Library. Now an additional eight institutions, formerly part of AMICO, have contributed a total of 55,000 images to ARTstor. This brings the number of images in ARTstor from institutions which were formerly AMICO members to approximately 80,000.

The new institutional contributors to ARTstor include:

  • Dallas Museum of Art
  • Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Library of Congress
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

While most of these works were originally part of the AMICO library, some museums have contributed additional content that was not originally part of AMICO and/or have provided ARTstor with improved images and associated cataloging.

To locate these new images, which have been integrated into the ARTstor Image Gallery and its browsing taxonomy, you may use “AMICO” as keyword when searching. For best results, combine “AMICO” with additional search criteria, such as repository or creator name.

All of the following former AMICO members are now contributing content to ARTstor:

  • Asia Society
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Dallas Museum of Art
  • Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College
  • Fine Arts Museums of San Franciso
  • The Frick Collection and Art Reference Library
  • George Eastman House
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Library of Congress
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • The Walters Art Museum

Watch for upcoming announcements about the release into the ARTstor Digital Library of images from The Detroit Institute of the Arts, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

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