A Visit To ARTstor

I was lucky enough to be invited to ARTstor for the day recently. They invited a handful of faculty to talk to them about how they use ARTstor, to try out the new version of ARTstor, and to talk about ARTstor’s future. As always, it’s great to talk to the hard-working and dedicated folks there, fighting to make images accessible and easy for us to use in the classroom. How can we thank them enough for fighting our battles for us?

I am always surprised at how few people use ARTstor live, instead preferring the Offline Image Viewer, which seems somewhat dead to me. It’s a great tool, don’t get me wrong, but having ARTstor live feels so much better to me. The images seem so much less static. Maybe its getting rid of that dead black background, and instead having the background of the web browser. Also, I think there is a tendency not to use the zooming feature while in the OIV.

It would be so great if ARTstor could devote more resources to building social tools into the image library. What if we could see what other instructors are using for comparison images? Or links to other related content, or discussions about teaching strategies around different images? After all, if the goal is to make us better teachers, perhaps ARTstor can help us open up our classrooms so we can learn from each other. Right now, using using digital image libraries remain a very isolated experience, much more isolating in fact, than the slide library was. Steven Zucker and I have written about this in a forthcoming publication.

Anyway, thanks ARTstor… we’re all very grateful.

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  1. We purchased ARTstor with a grant a couple of years ago. Ever since, because of the yearly expense, administration has tried to cut it one way or another. One way has been to try suggesting alternative image databases at half the cost. None that I have seen have the breadth and ease of use of ARTstor.

    I use in in art history and art appreciation (as do my students), and my colleagues’ student use it in projects for studio courses.

    I agree that online usage is much more vibrant. Fortunately we have excellent wifi access on campus. I look forward to your publication!


  2. It was wonderful to meet you at the ARTstor workshop — I love what you are doing with digital resources in art history!


  3. For those of us with unreliable access to technology (including the internet), the OIV has been a godsend. We’ve had a hard enough time at Kean just going digital – up until last fall I was still using slides! We were without internet access the first three weeks of this semester, so I was glad I had my images stored ahead of time.
    I use the zoom feature in the OIV all the time – I just never put the images in powerpoint, but use them as is. I find it to be very versatile.


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