Welcome to the first of a four-part blog about ARTstor, an image database licensed by the university library for the St. John’s University campus community.  In each post, I’ll present tips and tools for using ARTstor, highlighting features that should help you integrate ARTstor’s images into your current practices as well as to consider new ones.

The ARTstor Digital Library currently has over 1 million images in the arts, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences, including historic events and people.  With all of these images to look through and lectures and papers to prepare, how can you find the ones you need – and fast?

A simple keyword search, from the main search box will get you started.  You might search for keywords like  ‘odysseus’ or ‘kimono’ or ‘advertisement’.  ARTstor will then search across the entire data record to return any images that match your search term.  To narrow your results, you can refine your search using the keyword box at the top of the page and choosing “Within current results” from the dropdown menu.  Another way to narrow results is to use quotation marks around a two or more word phrase, such as “civil rights” or “olympic games”.

When searching for specific images, you may find the Advanced Search to be more useful.  This search allows you to specify where your keywords are found:  the Title or Creator fields only.  You can also choose a date or date range and geographic locations by broad region or country name.  Lastly, ARTstor has identified unique keywords or phrases that will restrict your search to specific collections of images if the image you need is from a certain collection.  To see these search terms, find the collection on our list of collections and click to view the information page.  The search terms are at the bottom of each page.

If you have already found an image and need others like it, ARTstor has linked together images that have been saved in image groups by other instructor users of ARTstor.  You may find that some of these associated images are useful for your work.   Images with such associations are identified by an icon below the thumbnail image ().  To display the related images, click the icon.  Another icon you may encounter on the thumbnail page identifies images with related duplicates and details, ().  Clicking this icon displays any other copies of the work among ARTstor’s holdings, along with any details.  The image with the icon is the one we’ve identified as the best representative of the work, often a very large image allowing you to zoom in very far.  If this image detail is better than one of the related details, download the zoomed-in detail instead.  Once you have the detail displayed in the image viewer, click the Download Image button at the lower-right corner to get the area you are currently viewing.