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Blog Category: Organization

October 30, 2012

NOTICE: Issues after tropical storm Sandy

Fernand Léger | Après le déluge, pg. 61, in the book Les Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud | 1949 | Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Digital Library (with primary servers in Colorado) is working normally, but like many others based in the Northeast, ARTstor’s operations are being affected by tropical storm Sandy. Our Shared Shelf service, hosted at an Internet service provider in Manhattan, is down until power returns, but all images and data are backed-up remotely. Our office email and phones are also down, but in the meanwhile you may contact us via Twitter and Facebook. Thanks for your patience.

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October 19, 2012

Behind the scenes at Artstor: Light value and color adjustments, part 3

Lily Galib, Production Associate, Image Quality Control, has written a three-part post on the ins-and-outs of light value adjustments. Part 1 covered histograms, part 2 working with Photoshop’s Levels Adjustment Tool and the Curves Adjustment Tool, and part 3 concludes with color.


Levels and Curves adjustment layers showing the color channel selector. This is where you can select individual color channels to work with if you’re making color adjustments, or RGB if you’re adjusting light values.

When making color adjustments with the Levels Adjustment Tool and the Curves Adjustment Tool, the basic functions are the same (3 set adjustment points for Levels; anchor points for Curves) but you break the histogram down into the individual color channels. There are a few different color working spaces, but the ones you will most commonly encounter are RGB and CMYK. Generally speaking, RGB is used for images that will be viewed on a screen and CMYK is used for print. Digital cameras capture images in RGB, which stands for red, green, and blue. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, which are the ink colors used in printing. I’m only going to deal with RGB here since it is the color space you’re most likely to use. At ARTstor we always work in RGB.

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October 17, 2012

Behind the scenes at Artstor: Light value and color adjustments, part 2

Lily Galib, Production Associate, Image Quality Control, has written a three-part post on the ins-and-outs of light value adjustments. Part 1 covered histograms, part 2 covers working with Photoshop’s Levels Adjustment Tool and the Curves Adjustment Tool, and part 3 concludes with color.

Adjusting with the Levels Adjustment Tool:

Levels adjustment layer, showing the histogram with the three adjustment points

Levels is a fairly basic tool for making light value adjustments. When adjusting with Levels, you have three set adjustment points laid out on top of a histogram: black, white, and a midpoint adjuster. You make changes to the histogram by sliding these three adjusters along a horizontal line at the bottom of the histogram. Moving the black and white adjusters sets the black and white points and moving the midpoint adjuster redefines the midpoint. Sliding the midpoint adjuster to the left stretches the values between the midpoint and the black point (0) and compresses the values between the midpoint and the white point (255). This lightens the midtones and increases the contrast in the darker half of the histogram, while decreasing it in the lighter half. As a result you will see more detail in the darker midtones and less in the lighter midtones. Sliding the midpoint adjuster to the right does the opposite.  Once you set these points, Photoshop will interpolate the light values accordingly and even out the histogram. The black and white points that you set become the ends with the midpoint once again centered between the two.

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October 16, 2012

Behind the scenes at Artstor: Light value and color adjustments, part 1

Every month the Artstor Blog announces new available collections from an international community of museums, artists, artists’ estates, photographers, scholars, special collections, and photo archives. Many teams in Artstor work behind the scenes to make this possible: User Services, Library Relations, Production, Communications, Metadata & Cataloging, Collection Development, Finance, Human Resources/Administration, Legal, Software Development, Database Administration/Systems, User Experience, Quality Assurance, and Implementation. This month we begin a new series in which staff members explain the many steps required to share these images with you.

Lily Galib, Production Associate, Image Quality Control, has written a three-part post on the ins-and-outs of light value and color adjustments. Read part 2 and part 3.

The Production Department’s Imaging team (L to R): Lee Caron, Senior Production Associate; Lily Galib, Production Associate; Todd Forde, Production Associate; Quaid Kocur, Imaging Production Supervisor.

At Artstor, we have a philosophy of maintaining the integrity of the original artworks we feature in the Digital Library and representing them as accurately as possible. Consequently, our focus in the Production department is on image correction rather than image manipulation. This means that preserving detail is a priority when making light value and color corrections, and we never do retouching on top of artwork.  For example, if a slide of a painting has been stored in poor conditions and is dirty and color shifted, we will correct for the color shift in order to match the actual painting as closely as possible, but we won’t push our adjustments into the realm where Photoshop is creating false color or detail. We won’t remove dirt from the top of a painting because that would alter the artwork and create an inaccurate representation.

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October 2, 2012

Celebrating the digital collection builders of New York City

ARTstor works with more than 250 international museums, photographers, libraries, scholars, photo archives, and artists and artists’ estates to share 1.4 million images in the Digital Library. To celebrate our local partners – and to provide an opportunity for like-minded professionals to discuss their objectives and challenges – we held a reception for New York City’s digital collection builders at the beautiful Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s garden in midtown.

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August 29, 2012

Did you know? Accessing the Digital Library anywhere

Did you know that you can access ARTstor away from your library or institution? Once you’ve registered for an individual user account at your institution, you can go to from any location and click ENTER HERE to access the site with your ARTstor login and password. You can continue logging into the database remotely for the next 120 days.

For detailed instructions, see ARTstor’s Help Wiki.

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August 29, 2012

New agreement with international affiliates of the Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Fernando Campana, Vermelha Chair

Fernando Campana | Vermelha Chair, design date: 1993 | Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) | © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / AUTVIS, Sao Paolo

ARTstor has signed an Online Art Agreement (OLA) with Artists Rights Society (ARS) on behalf of six additional international visual arts organizations covering more than 10,000 new artists from six countries. This substantially expands the ARTstor Digital Library’s modern and contemporary artworks for subscribers.

The agreements cover the following affiliates of ARS:

  • VISCOPY – Australia
  • SODRAC – Canada
  • VBK – Austria
  • KUVASTO – Finland
  • SOMAAP – Mexico
  • AUTVIS – Brazil

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August 22, 2012

Free training webinars

ARTstor User Services offers live training sessions for all users: basic, instructor-level, and ARTstor administrators. Click on any of the introductory webinars listed below to register or check out the full schedule.

Comprehensive Webinars: Introduction to ARTstor for all users
Learn the basics of finding images as well as how to use the tools to view, print, and download.
Friday, September 7, 11 AM
Tuesday, September 25, 3 PM
Monday, October 22, 2 PM

Basic ARTstor Webinars for All Users: Find Images
Learn how to search, browse, and open image groups in folders to locate images in the ARTstor Digital Library.
Tuesday, September 4, 11 AM
Thursday, September 13, 1 p.m.
Friday, September 21, 3 p.m.
Wednesday, October 3, 11 AM
Tuesday, October 16, 2 PM
Monday, October 29, 11 AM

Basic ARTstor Webinars for All Users:ARTstor Mobile
Learn how to search and navigate the ARTstor Digital Library from your mobile device.
Wednesday, September 5, 11 AM
Tuesday, September 18, 3 PM
Thursday, September 27, 11 AM
Friday, October 5, 2 PM
Wednesday, October 17, 2 PM
Wednesday, October 30, 11 AM

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August 21, 2012

New features in the Digital Library

We have added new features to the ARTstor Digital Library:

  1. All password-protected folders that you’ve unlocked will now be easily found in their own upper-level category, Unlocked Folders.
  2. You’ll notice another new upper-level category:Global Folders, which currently contains Featured Groups, including Art History Topics, Interdisciplinary Topics, and Travel Awards.
  3. The number of search results has been doubled to 2,000.
  4. The Help button has been moved to the main navigation bar.

After this update, some users may find that they cannot see their folders or image groups; clearing the browser cache should resolve the issue. You can find detailed instructions on how to do this on our help wiki. And as always, you can contact User Services for more help at

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July 6, 2012

Jock Reynolds joins ARTstor’s Board of Trustees

ARTstor is delighted to announce that Jock Reynolds, the Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, has joined its Board of Trustees.

Neil L. Rudenstine, Chair of the Board of Trustees for ARTstor, said, “I am extremely pleased that Jock Reynolds is joining the ARTstor board. He is an absolutely outstanding museum director. He is dedicated to education at all levels, and has been an innovator in collection-sharing to help strengthen the programs of many museums, lending riches from Yale’s own collections. Finally, his deep engagement with modern and contemporary art will be an enormous benefit as ARTstor continues to grow in these areas.”

Prior to his position at the Yale University Art Gallery, Reynolds spent nine years as Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy. Before that, he was the Executive Director of the Washington Project for the Arts, a multi-disciplinary visual artists association in Washington, D.C. During the ten years prior to that position, he was an Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Program at the Center for Experimental and Interdisciplinary Art at California State University at San Francisco. He was also co-founder of 80 Langton Street, one of San Francisco’s premier contemporary artists’ organizations.

Reynolds is a visual artist who received his B.A. degree in 1969 from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his M.F.A. degree in 1972 from the University of California at Davis. He has won numerous grants and awards, including two National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowships, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Washington State Arts Commission grant for public art.

The Yale University Art Gallery has been collaborating with ARTstor since 2007, sharing nearly 2,000 images of highlights from its permanent collection in the ARTstor Digital Library, one of many contributions from Yale University that also include the Dura-Europos and Gerasa Archives and the Peabody Museum of Natural History. Yale University has also been one of nine lead partners in the development of Shared Shelf, ARTstor’s Web-based cataloging and image management software service.

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