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Blog Category: JSTOR Forum

September 26, 2016

Case study: Diving underwater with JSTOR Forum

Editor’s note: this post has been updated to reflect Artstor’s platform changes.

We invited Stanton Belford, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Martin Methodist College, to tell us about his three Marine Biology collections in JSTOR Forum (formerly Shared Shelf): Red Sea, Trinidad, and Key Largo.

Bearded fireworm

Bearded fireworm (Hermodice carunculata). From the Martin Methodist College Marine Biology Collection: Trinidad

Before describing the marine biology digital collections, I would like to mention I first became interested in marine science thanks to my high school teacher, who allowed us to experience informal science education with the reefs as our classroom. Here I saw a kaleidoscope of colors bursting through the ocean’s blue: corals, fishes, invertebrates, all hidden underwater, just waiting for my eager eyes to discover them.

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July 19, 2016

Case Study: Opening the Seattle Art Museum’s hidden archives

Editor’s note: this post was updated to include accurate information about Artstor’s platform changes in June 2018.
Photo by Natali Wiseman

Photo by Natali Wiseman

Traci Timmons, Librarian at the Seattle Art Museum, shares with us the story of the completion of their first digital collection.

The Seattle Art Museum only began issuing its annual reports digitally in 2007. Prior to that, for 74 years, if you needed to find something, you had to locate the printed reports and skim through them to find what you were looking for. If you had a good idea about the approximate time period for your inquiry, you might only have to pull one or two reports. If you had no idea about an approximate date, you may have had to block out your afternoon.

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June 16, 2016

Case study: Medieval Portland

Anne McClanan, Professor of Medieval Art History at Portland State University and one of the winners of the Artstor Digital Humanities Awards, introduces us to Medieval Portland and describes the impact Shared Shelf [now JSTOR Forum] has had on the project.

Medieval Portland? We hope our project’s silly name is just perplexing enough to make people want to learn more—who wouldn’t assume there is no medieval Portland?

When I moved to Oregon after years of medieval art history graduate training at more resource-intensive places, Harvard and Johns Hopkins, I worried whether I’d be able to continue the teaching grounded in first-hand observation and investigation of works of art that I think is central to the practice of art history. I plunged into the task of trying to figure out what medieval material was here, and gradually discovered several hundred items in collections across the Portland area (the number varies depending on how generously we want to define “medieval,” and we often reach into the early modern period).

Running since 2005, our site has gone through several iterations, but by far the biggest change has been our recent transition to Shared Shelf. Our Shared Shelf collection’s defining feature is that Medieval Portland presents original research pursued by students alongside that by advanced scholars. The students doing the research are from across my university, for I teach the course as a community based learning senior capstone within Portland State University’s nationally-recognized University Studies program. The Medieval Portland capstone provides students opportunities to critically engage with the past as well as to then produce resources that allow these objects to become better known and understood to the wider community. The capstone students soon realize that history isn’t an edifice to be committed to memory, but instead is an act of inquiry into the meaning of the past.

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May 16, 2016

Case study: Documenting bastides, France’s medieval market towns

Editor’s note: this post was updated to reflect Artstor’s platform changes.
John Reps, Monpazier

John Reps, Monpazier, 1951 (founded 1284)

In the 13th century, southwestern France gave birth to several hundred new planned towns, partly to replace villages destroyed in the Albigensian Crusades and partly to revivify a stagnating economy and tame areas of wilderness¹. Some were designed as fortress communities, while others were laid out as simple agricultural villages. The great majority, however, had a different function. Known as bastides, they were created as market towns with the aim of concentrating the population in secure places for ease of administration while returning a profit to their sponsors. Their founders were the great feudal lords of the region: kings, dukes, counts, and viscounts.

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May 3, 2016

Case study: JSTOR Forum in the K-12 environment

Editor’s note: this post has been updated to reflect the name change from Shared Shelf to JSTOR Forum.

We invited Lisa Laughy, Web Services/Archives Assistant at St. Paul’s School’s Ohrstrom Library in Concord, New Hampshire to tell us about her experience as the first K-12 subscriber to JSTOR Forum (formerly called Shared Shelf), Artstor’s digital media management system.

When I first started looking at software for cataloging our archives photo collection back in 2010, I remember wishing I could find a solution that was just like Artstor – something that combines both a visually rich user experience with the sophistication of professional metadata standards. It took a few years, but it was as if the folks at Artstor read my mind and made my wish come true, when in the fall of 2015 our school was given the opportunity to be one of the first high schools to implement Shared Shelf.

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March 23, 2016

Case study: Preserving and sharing a school’s rich history

Editor’s note: this post was updated to include current information about Artstor’s platform for public collections.
Nursing Program Students, 1949. Courtesy of Santa Rosa Junior College Archives.

Nursing Program Students, 1949. Courtesy of Santa Rosa Junior College Archives.

At the end of 1917, the Federated Home & School Association of Santa Rosa sent a recommendation to the local Board of Education to form a junior college. The following fall, Santa Rosa Junior College offered its first classes at the Santa Rosa High School. Its student body numbered only 19, with eight educators. It would take another 13 years before the College could boast a faculty of its own.

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February 3, 2016

Studying theatre with Artstor’s public collections

Editor’s note: this post was originally published in February 2013 and has been updated to reflect platform changes.

Did you know that Artstor contains publicly available collections that cover everything from flowers and turtles to medicine labels and political memorabilia–and are are also a great resource for theatre studies? Below, we discuss five collections which offer a fascinating view of the history and art of theatre, including books, costume and set design, and even photographs of productions.

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September 22, 2015

Writing a Book in a Digital Age

Jacksonville Female Academy

The students of the Jacksonville Female Academy seated in front of Academy Hall, ca. 1890. The team at Illinois College plans to incorporate this photo into the Jacksonville Female Academy collection on Shared Shelf Commons.

Jenny Barker Devine, Associate Professor of History at Illinois College and the author of On Behalf of the Family Farm, shares her thoughts on how the Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Research will impact her upcoming book. This essay first appeared on her blog American Athena.

With American Athena, I want to write a new kind of book – one that exists in a dynamic and living space, responsive to readers and as instructive in design as it is in content. This new kind of book acknowledges the reader as an active participant in producing new knowledge. A kind of crowdsourcing.

In addition to the blog and the book manuscript, I am creating online collections that will allow you, the reader, to interact with the same documents, photographs, and artifacts that I see (and hopefully offer your own interpretations of them). With any luck and lots of hard work, the first images will be available in spring 2016.

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but Illinois College’s digital infrastructure just didn’t support my end goal. Then, Danielle Trierweiler, IC’s Digital Services Librarian, approached me last spring with the idea to apply for the Council of Independent Colleges’ Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Research, which, in cooperation with Artstor, provides Consortium members with access to Shared Shelf, “a cloud-based asset management service.” This allows us to make key records of the Khalaf Al Habtoor Archives available to a global audience and forces me, at an early stage, to curate important documents central to my research. As an author, I find this incredibly exciting.

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September 15, 2015

Enthusiasm for the Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Research

ArtstorEarlier this summer we announced that with $2.2 million in support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Artstor and the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) will support the digital documentation of collections held by 42 liberal arts colleges and universities. The Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Research, as the project is known, subsidizes the use of Shared Shelf, Artstor’s digital asset management service, to catalog the institutions’ collections and make them publicly accessible via the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

Though the project has barely started, the schools’ local newspapers are already expressing enthusiasm:

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July 21, 2015

Shared Shelf Tips: The best way to report problems

SSTuesdayTipErrors, problems, bugs, glitches! We hate them too, which is why we’ve put together a handy guide to help you efficiently report any issues you encounter with Shared Shelf for a faster resolution.

In brief:

1) Before you report an issue to, check for a possible solution. If something isn’t documented and you think it should be, let us know!

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