Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Database: ARTstor

We are happy to announce that we have recently added an impressive online archive of art reproductions to our array of databases. The resource, called ARTstor is "a digital library of approximately 700,000 images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences with a set of tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes."

When you first click on ARTstor on our database lists, you will then enter the main database by clicking on the GO button in the upper right of the screen. Sometimes, people have issues with the database immediately, when the main database (aka ARTstor Client) does not open properly.

ARTstor does have certain application and hardware requirements. These include:

* A high-speed internet connection (not a dial-up connection);
* Java version 1.3 or later installed on your browser (Mac users accessing ARTstor through Innovative Proxy--which is what Suffolk has--must have Java version 1.5 or later);
* Flash Player version 6.0 or later installed;
* Pop-up blockers are either disabled or configured to allow pop-up windows from;
* Cookies are enabled in your browser;
* Monitor resolution is set at 1024 x 768 pixels or higher;
* Screen colors are set to True Color (32 bit) or better.

For more on troubleshooting, look at this Systems Requirements page. And explore the rest of the pages in the Getting Started area of their website. Since ARTstor does have a bit of a learning curve, as well as technical challenges, you might want to take a look at their Online Training modules, or even take a look at their YouTube videos that explain downloading images into PowerPoint as well as registering for your own account.

The latter is an important part of the ARTstor process. If you register for your own account as a Suffolk user, you will be able to store, organize, utilize, and share the images you collect more effectively. Also, with your own account, you can by-pass our standard proxy server access when necessary.

As most Suffolk users know, we run all of our databases through a proxy server that allows current students and faculty to enter their name and ID number, be authenticated, and then access our electronic resources off-campus, as well as on campus. Unfortunately, ARTstor is such a complex platform that it does not work well, in many cases, when used in conjunction with a proxy. Therefore, you are advised to set up your account at a Suffolk IP address--that is, ON campus. And if, after you create your account, you find that the database is painfully slow, freezes up, or otherwise does not work as efficiently as you would want, one option is to go directly to the database through the general URL of Once you enter the database and login using your own account, you will be able to use the database, without proxy (or on-campus) access for up to 120 days. And each time you login through our regular database list proxy link, or from a Suffolk IP, that 120 day "grace period" renews itself. For more on this, see this ARTstor page on Remote Access.

To explore the images here, you may browse by classification category, collection, or geographic region, or simply use the search box to look for a particular artist, school, subject matter or other keyword concept.

Remember, that as a registered user, you also have more options in terms of using ARTstor images. And if you make regular use of the images, you will probably want to click Tools in the upper border and download the special OIV, or Offline Image Viewer, that allows you to use ARTstor's highest-quality images, which are 3200 pixels on the long side. (When you simply download images directly from the ARTstor Digital Library for use in documents and non-OIV presentations, the images are still large at 1024 pixels on the long side, but not quite as large as images in the OIV.)

We hope to do more with ARTstor education and support, but will wait for the soon-to-launch new platform, which will introduce additional changes to the database, and will (hopefully) also resolve some of the proxy access issues that currently exist.

As this database develops, we hope Suffolk users will take advantage of this impressive (and not inexpensive!) resource.

And for further assistance with ARTstor, although Reference is happy to try to help, you are better off contacting Jessica Roscio of the Humanities Department, who is the Suffolk ARTstor Administrator for the Art History/Humanities Department ( / x8257) .

[FIND ARTstor on our "Databases by Subject" List in the "Literature, Arts and Humanities" category.]

No comments: