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Blog Category: Organization

February 25, 2013

Remembering Caleb Smith

Caleb Smith and Cassy Juhl, Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto, May 19, 2010

Caleb Smith and Cassy Juhl, Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto, May 19, 2010

ARTstor celebrates the life and work of Caleb Smith, Director of the Media Center of Art History at Columbia University, who passed away suddenly on February 11, 2013 at the young age of 42. He was a generous and kind friend, colleague, and scholar.

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February 5, 2013

Issues with the ARTstor Digital Library and Java

email-4-tipsA number of ARTstor subscribers have contacted us recently to report that their campuses have disabled Java software on their Web browsers due to security concerns, which interferes with downloading individual images from the ARTstor Digital Library. Oracle, the company that created Java, has released a new version of the program that may resolve these issues, and it can be downloaded from their website:

Meanwhile, we are currently working on a new solution that will not use Java. Until then, we urge users who do not want to continue using Java to use our PowerPoint download instead. You can learn how here.

We will announce the details of our new solution in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we apologize for any inconvenience.

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January 25, 2013

Behind the scenes at ARTstor: Technology

John Marin | Hurricane | 1944 | Image © Indianapolis Museum of Art; | © 2008 Estate of John Marin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Marin | Hurricane | 1944 | Image © Indianapolis Museum of Art; | © 2008 Estate of John Marin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

How the ARTstor Digital Library Weathered the Storm
By Mary Finer, Project Coordinator

ARTstor is in the goal-setting time of the year, and expanding our disaster recovery efforts is high on the Technology department’s list—especially after last year. We’re in pretty good shape though. While sites such as Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post were down during “Superstorm” Sandy, the ARTstor Digital Library remained accessible.

ARTstor has servers in Manhattan and Denver, and each location has backups of each other in case disaster strikes. In New York our servers are at 60 Hudson Street, a.k.a. “the Hub,” a 1.8 million square foot facility where the Internet’s transatlantic cable lands. It used to be the center of Western Union’s telegraph network when it was built in the late 1920s, and is now the Grand Central Station of the Internet.

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January 17, 2013

Artstor Collections Summary 2012

James Rosenquist | The Swimmer in the Econo-mist, 1997-98

James Rosenquist | The Swimmer in the Econo-mist, 1997-98 | Image and original data provided by ©The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York; | Art © James Rosenquist / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. This work of art is protected by copyright and/or related rights and may not be reproduced in any manner, except as permitted under the ARTstor Digital Library Terms and Conditions of Use, without the prior express written authorization of VAGA, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2820, New York, NY 10118. Tel.: 212-736-6666, fax: 212-736-6767, email:

We are happy to announce that 2012 was a banner year for the ARTstor Digital Library. We now make available more than 1.5 million images in the United States and 1.3 million images internationally. In 2012, we launched approximately 179,500 new images from 20 new collections and expanded the content in 22 existing collections. Highlights include: Panos Pictures, which documents contemporary critical social issues around the world; selections from the renowned collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; the Zimmerli Art Museum’s nonconformist art from the Soviet Union; contemporary art and installation views from the Renaissance Society; new media art from Rhizome; canonical works from the Courtauld Gallery; and masterpieces from the Corcoran Gallery of Art. We are delighted that more than 12,000 of these images were released to our Images for Academic Publishing (IAP) program to foster scholarly publishing.

ARTstor also reached agreements for 42 new or expanded collections last year, including the Romare Bearden Foundation, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), the Mattress Factory, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Princeton University Art Museum.

As always, we are grateful to our many partners who have worked with us to make their collections discoverable through the ARTstor Digital Library. Your collections are making an impact at now nearly 1,500 institutions in 45 countries. In 2012, our users performed nearly 11,300,000 searches, viewed more than 12,000,000 individual images, and downloaded more than 2,300,000 images.

We also extend our thanks to all of our subscribers and users for your continued support. We look forward to continue serving your educational and research needs in 2013!

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December 20, 2012

The Top Ten Posts of 2012

Wishing you a Happy New Year | 1908 | Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division | Image and data from the Library of Congress Collection

Wishing you a Happy New Year | 1908 | Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division | Image and data from the Library of Congress Collection

As we recover from yesterday’s office holiday party, we took a look back at the past twelve months in the ARTstor Blog. We are very excited to see that as of this morning, we’ve logged over 148,000 visits this year – 61,000 more than 2011! These were the Top Ten Posts of 2012:

  1. ARTstor visits Downton Abbey
  2. A peek behind Ghiberti’s Florentine Baptistery Doors
  3. Teaching with ARTstor: Grammar in art
  4. ARTstor visits The Hunger Games
  5. ARTstor Is… Black History
  6. Four Easy Tricks to Help You Search the ARTstor Digital Library
  7. Unfettered personal expression in the 1950s: the Beat Generation and the Abstract Expressionists
  8. Rem Koolhaas and the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture
  9. Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Dragon!
  10. Teaching with ARTstor: A history of hat-making

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December 18, 2012

In the news: ARTstor’s board members

Here is a roundup of recent news items about members of ARTstor’s Board of Trustees:

ARTstor’s Board of Trustees is made up of distinguished leaders who share a commitment to the use of digital technology to enhance scholarship, teaching, and learning. You can see the full list of Trustees here.


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November 27, 2012

Behind the scenes at ARTstor: Metadata

By Dustin Wees, Director of Metadata and Cataloging

At cocktail parties and in the checkout line at Whole Foods, I’m often asked to explain the difference between data and metadata. I first try “You know the difference between physics and metaphysics, don’t you? Metadata is a lot more philosophical than data.” When that flops—and it usually does—I then try a more prosaic answer: “Metadata is data about data.” In terms of the ARTstor Digital Library, I think of the image as data, and the metadata is the information about the image.

ARTstor’s metadata is an additive aggregation of heterogeneous bits—the equivalent of yellow stickies and typed lists. But we refer to differing schemas and databases, and it comes from various places and in a variety of forms. Typically, our contributors have already created the metadata for their own uses, frequently tailoring the requirements to their point of view. Describing old master paintings, say, uses categories of information that differ from those describing arrowheads or autograph letters.

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November 26, 2012

Did you know? Sharing images and image groups

Eadweard Muybridge | Plate Number 188. Dancing (fancy) | 1887 | Corcoran Gallery of Art;

Did you know that you can share images and image groups in the Digital Library with other Artstor users? The URLs can be emailed, embedded in documents or presentations, or added to online syllabi or course websites. Here’s how:

Link to images (for sharing with any other Artstor subscribers)

After you select an image by clicking on it, there are three ways to get a URL:

  1. In the Artstor navigation bar, click Share > Generate image URL
  2. Right click or CTRL+click the thumbnail, then select Generate image URL
  3. Click the thumbnail caption, then select the “File properties” tab.

Then simply copy the link to share the image with other Artstor users.

Link to image groups (for sharing with people at your institution)

Open your image group; in the top navigation, click Share > Generate image group URL; then copy the URL that appears in the dialog box.

The people in your institution with whom you share the URLs will be able to open the links when they are on campus, otherwise they will be prompted to log in.

Eadweard Muybridge | Plate Number 188. Dancing (fancy) | 1887 | Corcoran Gallery of Art;

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November 12, 2012

Introducing the ARTstor Discussion List

Byron Company | Detail: Communications, Mail, Street Scene | 1903 | Museum of the City of New York,

We are happy to introduce the ARTstor Discussion List, a forum for discussions of ARTstor services such as the Digital Library and Shared Shelf, as well as related topics of interest to the members. This email list will also include notices of any issues that might impact your ARTstor experience, such as upgrades to software, system outages, etc.

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November 1, 2012

UPDATE: Post-Sandy

Umbrella, 1910-1920

Umbrella | Dupuy, (Maker) | 1910-1920 | Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mercedes de Acosta; Photographed by Lolly Koon | Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

We are happy to announce that Shared Shelf is up and running, and publishing is now working. We may experience additional stops and starts as infrastructure continues to normalize in Manhattan. If you encounter any issues, please feel free to contact us at

ARTstor’s email servers are back up, but we may have lost emails sent while they were down; if you emailed us on Monday or Tuesday you may want to resend. ARTstor phones are still unavailable; contact us by email, Facebook or Twitter.

We thank everyone in the community for your patience.

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