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Artstor Instructors Guide

Getting started with the Artstor Digital Library

Getting Started

This guide provides broad knowledge about the Artstor Digital Library's content and features in order to help you get the most out of the Digital Library, including:

  • Presenting with Artstor
  • Teaching resources
  • Important resources for your students

You can access the Artstor Digital Library through Art database page. Also, be sure to register for an account in order to use all of Artstor's functionalities including image downloads and saving groups of images for papers. you can create a personal account by clicking on register at the top right corner of the frontpage.



Learn everything you can do with the Artstor Digital Library in one of our free webinars, which are open to librarians, faculty, and students.

Webinar highlights include "Making the Most of your Presentations: Artstor Resources for Teaching and Presenting" and "Get Organized! Making Sense of Folders and Image Groups."

If the current calendar of offerings is not convenient, email to schedule a time suitable for your schedule (including international times).

Help Resources

Help Resources

Support site: A fully searchable support site outlining all of the Artstor Digital Library's features, known issues, and technical alerts. Visit the site at

Training videos: View helpful training videos about registering for an account, using folders, and more.

Need a human? User Services is available between 9am and 6pm EST. 


Phone: 877.771.4908 (USA only), +1 212.500.2414

Twitter: @artstorhelp



Is Artstor related to JSTOR?
The name Artstor is derived from JSTOR, a digital library initiative previously sponsored by the Mellon Foundation. While Artstor differs from JSTOR in its content and features, both organizations fall under the umbrella of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that works with the global higher education community to advance and preserve knowledge and to improve teaching and learning through the use of digital technologies.

What is the quality and resolution of images in Artstor?
The images in the Digital Library are derived from a range of sources. Collections may be built from color transparencies of varying resolution, scanned photographic prints, or direct digital photography of objects in museums and in the field. Professional vendors are utilized to digitize the analog materials at as a high resolution as permitted by the original source materials. One of Artstor's goals is to learn more about what approaches to building collections are appropriate for different uses in different institutional settings.

Images are presented within the Digital Library at 72 DPI, which is the average monitor resolution. The sizes of Artstor images range from 1,500 pixels to 10,000 pixels on a side. To put this into perspective, the most common display resolution for computer monitors is 1024 x 768 pixels, making typical Artstor image files two or more times larger than the monitor display.

Will Artstor continue to improve the quality of images in its collections as better images become available?
Artstor is committed to quality. Many of the Artstor collections offer high-quality images and the most authoritative cataloging data available. Some collections are built around large curated image collections, such as those offered by photo archives and slide libraries, and are useful for many purposes. We believe that some of the images in these collections should be thought of as placeholders that will eventually be supplanted by (or supplemented with) better quality images as they become available. For more information, see the next question regarding duplicate images.

Why are there duplicates of some images in Artstor?
You will find occasional duplication of images within some collections, as well as overlap between collections. Because of different opinions about which is the better image, and because Artstor is not the authority for the original works, we provide all versions we have so that you can make the choice yourself about which to use. We have clustered duplicated images together so that you are initially presented with one preferred image that we feel is the truest representation of an object. Alternate versions are accessible by clicking on the "cluster" icon, located beneath the preferred image.

Because these images are being removed from the Artstor environment, we must restrict the size in order to ensure that this resource will only be used for noncommercial, scholarly purposes consistent with the interests of content providers. As of January 2008, approximately 95% of Artstor's collections are available for download at 1024 pixels on the long side, while the remaining 5% may be downloaded at 400 pixels on the long side. Download size is determined on a collection basis by the provider of each collection.

Can I reproduce Artstor images in publications?
Images downloaded by clicking the "Save" icon in the image viewer within the Digital Library may not be used in publications, except for student papers, theses, and dissertations (provided the dissertations are not distributed widely). Artstor images may not be used for any commercial purpose, such as being incorporated into a publication distributed by a press, regardless of whether that press is commercial or non-profit.

However, Artstor does provide a way to download very high-resolution images free-of-charge for use in noncommercial scholarly publications. Artstor's Images for Academic Publishing (IAP) initiative seeks to facilitate scholarship in the arts by reducing the costs associated with publishing images in academic journals and similar publications. Artstor users can download IAP images by providing some basic information and agreeing to the IAP Terms & Conditions of Use. To find an image that is available through IAP, simply add "IAP" to your search criteria. IAP images will have an icon reading "IAP" located directly beneath their thumbnail image. In some instances, third-party copyright permissions may be needed (such as where the underlying work in an image is still under copyright).