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Blog Category: Organization

April 12, 2018

Artstor user group meetings: a roundup for librarians


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.

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January 29, 2018

Building a new Artstor: 2017 in review

Matthias Buchinger, Calligraphic Trompe-l’oeil Calendar, 1709, image and original data provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

2017 was a big year for Artstor. Not only did we add over 350,000 new images, but we also completely overhauled the Artstor platform, creating a new interface and tools while improving the back-end systems that power the site to increase search speed and reliability. Here’s what changed:

  • Artstor got a facelift with a new, streamlined interface design.
  • Images open on a new page rather than as pop-ups. Pop-ups are difficult to navigate when you aren’t able to adjust your browser settings, as is often the case on computers managed by an IT department. This change also allows you to link directly to an image and its data without opening a pop-up, which is confusing to recipients (especially those who have pop-ups blocked and find a link leads to nowhere).
  • Images are now on a IIIF viewer with fullscreen capabilities and side-by-side comparison mode. Read more about IIIF’s incredible work on their site.
  • We simplified image-group sharing: all registered users can share image groups with other users at your institution, not just faculty. Now, students can collaborate on image groups and faculty can more easily work with students and TA’s to curate groups.
  • Artstor now includes a flashcard mode in the fullscreen image view to study for exams. Read more about this feature on our support site.
  • We increased Artstor’s web accessibility for users with disabilities.
  • Our URLs are now shorter for easier linking in LibGuides, course websites, emails, and more.
  • The entire site is mobile friendly. Direct your smartphone’s browser to, sign in, and enjoy Artstor’s full set of features. Remember to turn your phone sideways for full-screen views!
  • Image citations are now available in many formats, including APA, Chicago, and MLA style.

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April 1, 2017

New service: Artstor Analog

Artstor Analog

Amidst the boom in our increasingly digital lives, people are returning to analog objects. For the first time ever, sales of vinyl records have outstripped digital sales, with more than 3 million LP sales reported in 2016, and in what Publishers Weekly calls “digital fatigue,” ebook sales have plateaued. Although fatigue might not be the correct term here; according to a recent study, children–who presumably haven’t been using digital products for very long–prefer paper books to screens.

With this in mind, Artstor is proud to introduce a new service: Artstor Analog. Now your library or institution can get the same 2 million high-quality images in the Digital Library that you trust and depend on as photo slides. As a bonus, the Artstor Digital Library’s 2,000 QTVR files will be made available as fully rotatable dioramas. Among its many benefits, Artstor Analog offers the perfect solution for locations that have spotty or unreliable access to wifi.

Artstor Analog is delivered in approximately 15,000 carousel trays of 140 slides each. Because of shipping restrictions, this offer is only available in the continental United States and Canada. Please note that Artstor Analog is currently not compatible with the Offline Image Viewer.

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October 21, 2016

ITHAKA Founder and Trustee William G. Bowen Dies

William G. Bowen, October 6, 1933 – October 20, 2016

The world has lost a uniquely gifted leader and friend. Bill Bowen passed away peacefully at 83 on October 20, 2016. He dedicated his entire professional life to the world of education, and was founding chairman of JSTOR and ITHAKA and founding trustee of Artstor. We extend our heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Learn more about Bill Bowen’s extraordinary life here.

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June 30, 2016

Announcing Artstor’s LibGuides

Love LibGuides? We do too. We’re thrilled to announce our new LibGuides aimed at helping students, faculty, and even librarians get started–or become experts–using the Artstor Digital Library. View them on our home page at, and please feel free to reuse them as you see fit; you have our permission!

Our faculty guide covers everything faculty need to know about presenting and teaching with Artstor Digital Library–from giving presentations using the tools within the database to sources for information about using primary source materials in the classroom. Also included are tips for faculty looking to support their students’ research habits, including links to the Library of Congress’ page on citing images, and in-resource tools like the citation generator and image download features.

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June 22, 2016

Parsing the wisdom of crowds: Artstor’s Arcades results

Artstor Arcades

Artstor Arcades

A zealous group of Artstor users have pitched in to collaboratively catalogue images from the D. James Dee Archive of contemporary art on our crowdsourcing site, Thanks to a combination of their expertise and a lot of internet sleuthing, 555 works are now a welcome addition to the D. James Dee Archive of Contemporary Art collection in the Artstor Digital Library. You can read more about Arcades on this blog, and about the Dee Archive in the New York Times.

At Arcades, participants are presented with images in a game environment where they are able to enter basic data, such as creator, title, date, medium, and exhibition history in order to accumulate points. In doing so, they “level-up” and progressively acquire titles ranging from “flâneur” and “connoisseur” to “apprentice” and “master” (all references to Walter Benjamin’s unfinished Arcades Project—more about that to come). At the time of our October 2015 launch we wondered what kind of results we would get. General crowdsourcing theory assumes that the more entries, the smarter the results. Would we secure enough participants? Would they feel compelled to return again and again?

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June 9, 2016

Exploring Rembrandt with JSTOR

Exploring Rembrandt

We recently told you about our alliance with ITHAKA. The Exploring Rembrandt project with JSTOR should give you a hint of why we are so excited to be working together! It’s just a proof of concept, but it points to a world of possibilities.

In a nutshell:

  1. Pick a Rembrandt painting.
  2. View the high-quality Artstor image.
  3. Find JSTOR articles about it!

You can learn how the project came about in the JSTOR Labs blog.

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