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Blog Category: Tips & tools

January 17, 2007

Tips for Converting PowerPoint to OIV

We have received many questions and great feedback about the new PowerPoint import feature in the OIV 2.6. If you have tried this feature, or are just learning about it for the first time, these tips will help your PowerPoint presentations look just as good in the OIV as they do in PowerPoint!

When you import a PowerPoint presentation, the slides may look smaller than full-screen. PowerPoint slides are actually created and saved at a smaller size than your computer screen, 720×540 pixels by default. OIV slides, on the other hand, are at least 1024×768 pixels. If you increase the size of the PowerPoint slides before importing them into the OIV, they will take up the full screen. With your presentation open in PowerPoint, simply go to File -> Page Setup. Here you can change the size of the PowerPoint slides; we recommend 24 inches by 18 inches. Save your PowerPoint presentation then import it into the OIV.

In addition, some images may seem smaller in the OIV than they do in your PowerPoint presentation. You can enlarge the image in the OIV slides by right-clicking on an image in the Slide Editor, then choosing “Fit to frame.” This will enlarge the image and your slide will have the same proportions as it did in PowerPoint.

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December 22, 2006

Improving ARTstor performance on your computer

To optimize image display and navigation through the ARTstor Digital Library, we recommend that you clear both your Java and browser caches on a regular basis. By clearing these caches, you will often improve ARTstor’s performance on your computer. In addition, if you have trouble using ARTstor or notice an increase in error messages, clearing your computer’s caches will often solve these problems.

You will find detailed information posted in ARTstor’s online help describing how to clear the caches for a variety of browsers and Java versions. Please feel free to consult the following links for instructions and screen grabs:

If after clearing your caches, you still experience ARTstor performance problems, please email userservices@artstor.org and we will work with you to troubleshoot the problem.

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December 7, 2006

User Services Offers Spring Training

Are you interested in learning more about ARTstor? User Services is now scheduling training for Spring 2007. We offer the following many training options, all free of charge. Please contact us at userservices@artstor.org to learn about which option is best for you.

Intensive onsite training
ARTstor User Services will visit your campus to provide intensive train-the-trainer sessions for library staff as well as demonstrations and training for faculty and graduate students. A minimum of thirty attendees or representatives from at least four different institutions is required. We recommend that you schedule onsite training at least six weeks in advance. Availability is limited, so please contact us as soon as possible to schedule a visit for Spring 2007.

Customized online training
For groups of librarians and/or faculty, we provide online training through WebEx, an online interactive classroom tool. [artstor.webex.com] All that is required is a computer with Internet access, a speaker phone, and a projector. We will work with you to create single or multiple sessions for your institution. Please contact us to learn more and to schedule a session.

Training at conferences
ARTstor User Services attends many relevant professional conferences. We often host a suite in the conference hotel where ARTstor users are invited to receive prescheduled training. In some cases, we may have a booth in an exhibition hall where ARTstor users are invited to stop by with general questions and receive scheduled training. We plan to attend the following upcoming conferences:

  • American Historical Association (AHA), Atlanta, GA, January 4-7, 2007
  • American Libraries Association Midwinter (ALA), Seattle, WA, January 19-24, 2007
  • College Art Association (CAA), New York, NY, February 14-17, 2007
  • Renaissance Society of America, Miami, FL, March 22-24, 2007
  • Visual Resources Association (VRA), Kansas City, MO, March 27-31, 2007
  • Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), Baltimore, MD, March 29–April 1, 2007
  • Society of Architectural Historians (SAH), Pittsburgh, PA, April 9–15, 2007
  • Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA), Atlanta, GA, April 26–May 5, 2007

As we approach the dates for each conference, we will provide more information through our announcement email list. If you plan on attending any of these conferences and would like to set up a meeting or training session, please contact us.

Daily online sessions
ARTstor offers ongoing daily training sessions on all aspects of using ARTstor. We offer these training sessions live and online through our WebEx website at artstor.webex.com. Please feel free to sign up for any number of sessions.

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November 20, 2006

Larger Downloads

We are pleased to announce the release of larger downloads for approximately 100,000 images in the ARTstor digital library. This new download capacity is part of ARTstor’s ongoing effort to facilitate broad access to digital images for teaching and scholarship. Users will be permitted to download large images (many at 1024 pixels on the long side) for use in classroom presentations and for other noncommercial, educational uses in a variety of software environments. Users can download ARTstor and local images up to 3200 pixels for offline classroom presentations by using the ARTstor Offline Image Viewer (OIV). Users wishing to download ARTstor images outside of the OIV software — for use in PowerPoint for example — are now able to download some images up to 1024 pixels on the long side.

To date, ARTstor has limited the size of all images that can be downloaded outside of the ARTstor software environment to 400 pixels on the long side. This restriction has been in place as part of our ongoing effort to balance the interests of content owners — who often expressed concerns about downloading — with the needs of ARTstor users in accessing these images for pedagogy and research. Ongoing conversations with many of our content providers have confirmed their sense of ARTstor as a trusted, shared space for the study and use of digital images and this allows us to provide greater access to larger downloads. This means that some images will be available for larger downloads while other images will continue to have the current downloading restrictions.

The availability of large downloads has unavoidably been determined on an image-by-image basis, not a collection-by-collection basis. Images that were originally made available in reliance on fair use or other educational exceptions will continue to be restricted. We will continue to have discussions with our existing and future content partners to encourage them to permit greater access to larger downloadable images for your use in teaching, research and presentation.

While we believe this development will prove helpful to those users who have expressed interest in downloading images outside of the Offline Image Viewer, we continue to recommend the use of the OIV, both because of the uniformly large downloads it permits and because of its features which allow users to easily mix local content with ARTstor images, zoom in on details and other functions that are expressly designed to support the needs of teachers and students working with digital images.

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September 29, 2006

JSTOR | ARTstor Search Prototype

JSTOR and ARTstor would like to announce the availability of a prototype which aims to facilitate searching across the archived content in JSTOR and the image content in ARTstor. The JSTOR/ARTstor Search Prototype is available in the JSTOR Sandbox, an area of the JSTOR website used to showcase possible new features and to gather feedback to help direct future development of JSTOR.
The JSTOR/ARTstor Search Prototype allows JSTOR users to conduct a basic search across three types of content: JSTOR article text, JSTOR image caption text, and ARTstor image metadata. After conducting a search, users are presented with search results separated into three tabs:

  • The Articles tab lists JSTOR search results for matches in journal article text.
  • The Images from Articles tab shows results of a JSTOR caption search, and includes thumbnails of each article page containing an image with a keyword match in the image caption.*
  • The ARTstor Images tab lists results of matches for the keyword or phrase in ARTstor image metadata. The search is performed on the creator, title, and subject terms of the metadata.

Users at sites that participate in both JSTOR and ARTstor will be able to view thumbnails of ARTstor images, and may link directly from JSTOR to content in ARTstor. Users at institutions which are not currently ARTstor participating sites may view ARTstor image metadata in the search results but will not see.

The main goal of featuring prototypes in the JSTOR Sandbox is to assess their value to JSTOR users. We encourage you to try the prototypes and send us your feedback via the “Comment on this feature” link on any Sandbox page.

*To date, JSTOR has acquired captions for approximately 65% of the titles held in the archive, and is continuing to capture them retroactively. As a result, caption searching will be less successful for archive content digitized before 2002 (including all Arts & Sciences I journals), when JSTOR first began to acquire caption text. Captions have been acquired for images in all Language & Literature, Architecture & Architectural History, and Art & Art History journals, as well as the journal Science.

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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

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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