Banishing Dissention

The ARTstor digital library is a subscription based database of over 1.6 million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences. It also includes an accessible suite of software tools for teaching and research, such as the ability to save images into groups, export them to powerpoint, save image citations, and add personal or instructor notes.

Banishing Dissention, a supplement given away with the Weekly Freeman and National Press

Banishing Dissention, a supplement given away with the Weekly Freeman and National Press

Content in ARTstor is comprised of contributions from international museums, photographers, libraries, scholars, photo archives, and artists and artists’ estates. Including…the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign! The University Library has contributed over 3,700 images from its digital collections, including collections such as the Portraits of Actors and the Motley Collection of Theatre and Costume Design. Images in the library’s digital collections are sources from its own collections, including material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The most popular image from the University Library’s collection in ARTstor is “Banishing Dissention,” from the Collins Collection of Irish Political Cartoons. Over thirty institutions have accessed this image for use in scholarship. Or, just to enjoy its subtle nuances.

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ARTstor’s collections are continuously growing, with more and more content contributed by cultural heritage institutions. Institutional collections based on local curriculum have also increased. Through a product called Shared Shelf, the University is able to manage and make accessible its own material. This material is searchable alongside content from the ARTstor digital library, or can be browsed from the homepage under “shared shelf collections.”

If you or your department is interested in learning more about ARTstor or Shared Shelf, please contact Sarah Christensen, Visual Resources Curator.

Image group download in ARTstor

If you use images from the ARTstor digital library to teach, you might already be familiar with the export to Powerpoint tool. Recently, ARTstor has added another tool to help users utilize images from its database.

The image group download tool allows users to batch download images organized into image groups, rather than downloading images one at a time.

For reference, ARTstor has created an instructional video with step-by-step instructions.

New Year, New Site!

The Visual Resources Center is pleased to announce the launch of their new website!


Find images!

Discover tools for editing, presenting and preserving visual materials!

Get help and further resources!

The new website contains much of the same content as the old, but we’ve moved things around in the hopes of making it more streamlined and easier to find what you’re looking for. Please send us any comments or suggestions you may have!

Instructional images will continue to be available via ARTstor.

Expanded Google Art Project: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Finding High Resolution Images

When Google introduced its Art Project last year, it made a big splash amongst art aficionados, educators, artists, curators, and researchers. There were 1,000 images available from 17 different institutions worldwide, enabling views to zoom in to view incredibly close details. However, almost all of these images were those from Western masters, which invited a flurry of critique to the project. Many of these same art aficionados, educators, artists, curators, and researchers offered ideas on how to enhance the project, and Google listened.

Today, the Art Project includes over 30,000 images from 155 institutions worldwide (street view for 46) , with more on the way. All sizes and types of institutions are embraced, including the White House in Washington D.C. to the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, India.

In addition to adding 29,000 new images to the Art Project, Google has been busy enhancing the tools used to discover and share art. Amit Sood from the Art Project writes:

“Here are a few other new things in the expanded Art Project that you might enjoy:

  • Using completely new tools, called Explore and Discover, you can find artworks by period, artist or type of artwork, displaying works from different museums around the world.
  • Google+ and Hangouts are integrated on the site, enabling you to create even more engaging personal galleries.
  • Street View images are now displayed in finer quality. A specially designed Street View “trolley” took 360-degree images of the interior of selected galleries which were then stitched together, enabling smooth navigation of more than 385 rooms within the museums. You can also explore the gallery interiors directly from within Street View in Google Maps.
  • We now have 46 artworks available with our “gigapixel” photo capturing technology, photographed in extraordinary detail using super high resolution so you can study details of the brushwork and patina that would be impossible to see with the naked eye.
  • An enhanced My Gallery feature lets you select any of the 30,000 artworks—along with your favorite details—to build your own personalized gallery. You can add comments to each painting and share the whole collection with friends and family. (It’s an ideal tool for students.)”

The Art Project works under the auspices of the Google Cultural Institute, which is “building tools that make it simple to tell the stories of our diverse cultural heritage and make them accessible worldwide.” For those of you not so interested in art, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, Yad Vashem Commemoration of the Holocost, Digitized Dead Sea Scrolls, La France en relief, and Le Pavillion de l’Arsenal projects may interest you.

While the Art Project is without a doubt exciting, some of you may be wondering how this competes with your other favorite high resolution database: ARTstor. The main difference is that while Google’s Art Project may be fancier to look at and the images an even higher resolution, viewers are still not able to download images for in class presentations. If you want to show your students what Van Gogh’s brushstrokes looked like, you’ll have to take a screenshot and add it to a PowerPoint (or whatever presentation software you use). ARTstor, however, is much more educator friendly. With tools to share your image collections that don’t involve social media and presentation tools such as the Offline Image Viewer, you’re still bound to ‘wow’ your students. Additionally, ARTstor boasts over one million images in its database verses the 30,000 in the Art Project. That’s about 34x the amount of images (or something, I didn’t go into math for a reason)!

So, to sum up: Google Art Project is now more amazing. ARTstor is still amazing. Happy viewing!

New features in ARTstor

For those of you who are frequent fliers at, you may have noticed a few new features recently. If not, don’t fret: you can read about it here.

One of my personal wishes that has just now come true is the ability to choose the number of results displayed per page. 

This makes browsing the images related to your favorite artist or topic much easier. This feature is available in the center of the beige column on your results page (where you can also narrow your results, sort, and navigate between pages)

Also helping to make browsing and finding images easier is the image preview
feature, where one hover over an image and a slightly larger version of that image will appear. This will help you save time, as it eliminates the need to open the image in the image viewer in order to preview it.

In terms of image organization, users can now create descriptions of image groups, nest folders, and create folders while creating image groups (instructor level users only). The links will take you to ARTstor’s help section, where these features are explained in detail. ARTstor’s help section is a great place to learn about the different tools and features within the database, so feel free to peruse while you’re there!

Archivision now available campus-wide through ARTstor

Notre-Dame-du-Haut, Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp

Formerly available only to the faculty and students of the UI Architecture Department, the University Library has purchased a campus wide subscription for Archivision.  The Archivision Digital Research Library is currently comprised of 47,000 images of architecture, archaeological sites, gardens, parks and works of art with broad appeal in humanities teaching. Digital images in Archivision offers a mix of historic and contemporary material.

This great resource is now available to anyone affiliated with the University of Illinois’ Urbana and Chicago campuses.  Go to and click the “Go” button to enter the ARTstor institutional collectionsARTstor Digital Library.  ARTstor will recognize your UI affiliation and you will see a drop down menu in the center column of the page called Institutional Collections.  You can access the base module of Archivision or any of the additional five Archivision modules from this menu.

ARTstor Mobile

ARTstor MobileAll 1,000,000+ images from the ARTstor Digital Library are now accessible through iPad, iPhone, and the iPod Touch to registered ARTstor users. ARTstor Mobile provides read-only features such as searching, browsing, zooming, and viewing saved image groups. Also try the new Flashcard View, which allows you to test your knowledge by viewing the image without textual information, and then flipping the image to reveal the image record.  There’s no need to download special software, just go to from your mobile device. ARTstor Mobile is only available through the Safari browser.  Click here for more information.

New ARTstor filtered search

If you’ve been searching for images in ARTstor this morning, you may have noticed that there are now a few extra options to filter your search results page. Click on the tab that says “narrow your results,” and a column will appear on the left side of your screen with classification and geography filters. In addition, a time line will appear at the top of your screen where you can slide the markers to specify an earliest date and a latest date. While these filtering options are available already in the “advanced search” feature, this new interface will help to streamline the simple, quick searches that users utilize most often.

ARTstor and the University of Illinois Library Announce Collaboration

ARTstor is collaborating with the University Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to share approximately 9,100 images from a variety of special collections in the ARTstor Digital Library. The collection in ARTstor will consist of images digitized from visual materials held in the University Library, which are relevant to a variety of fields, including Irish political history, theater and costume history, and campus architecture and design. The University Library’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library is the principal repository for early manuscripts and rare books, including three special collections that will be shared in the ARTstor Digital Library. The Collins Collection of Irish Political Cartoons consists of approximately 70 images relating to the political history of Ireland from the late 19th century to the early 20th century; Portraits of Actors, 1720-1920 features nearly 3,500 images of actors and actresses, including studio portraits, images of actors in costume, and illustrations of actors in performance; and the Motley Collection of Theater and Costume Design consists of approximately 5,300 individual items relating to more than 150 stage productions designed by the Motley Group between 1932 and 1976, including costume and set designs, sketches, notes, photographs, prop lists, storyboards, and swatches of fabric.  The University Library will also share its Built Environment Collection, approximately 250 images of primary source materials related to the development of the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

For more detailed information about this collection, visit the University Library (Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) collection page in ARTstor.

ARTstor’s Images for Academic Publishing (IAP)

Ever notice the little icons below the image thumbnails while you’re browsing ARTstor? One of the icons simply says “IAP,” which means images for academic publishing. This ARTstor program “seeks to facilitate scholarship in the arts by reducing the costs associated with publishing images in academic journals and similar publications.” Images with an IAP icon associated with them are available to use free of charge in scholarly publications. There are currently 6,700 images provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and 3,900 images from the Mellink Archive at Bryn Mawr College. For more information regarding this program, click here or contact ARTstor.

Making flashcards in ARTstor

Spending hours making flashcards for exams? Why not let ARTstor do the work for you. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to do this.

1. Register for an ARTstor account and login. If you don’t know how to register for an account, watch this video.

2. Once you are logged in, search for the images you’ll need to study. If your instructor posts their lecture images in ARTstor, find them by clicking on the “folders and image groups” link in the middle of  the main page and scanning the list for your class.

3. Once you’ve found the images you’ll need, select them by single clicking on each one. A red border will appear around the ones that you’ve selected. To deselect, single click on the image again so that the border goes away.

4. Once your images are selected, go to the  organize menu at the top of the page and go to “save selected images to…” Here you can either create a new image group, or add images to an existing image group.

5. When the pop-up screen appears to ask you where you want to save your image group, make sure your work group is highlighted.

6. Once you have selected a name and destination for your image group, click on “save and open.”

7. Now that you’ve opened your image group, go to the share menu at the top of the page and click on “print image group.” You’ll have your choice of how much information you want on your flashcards.

8. Once you make your selection, a new window will pop up displaying your flash cards. Here, you can print them out. Make sure that your pop-up windows are disabled when using ARTstor.

brief record with instructor notes

Beta testing of Shared Shelf software

The University of Illinois Library and the College of Fine and Applied Arts have partnered with ARTstor, the Society of Architectural Historians and seven other colleges and universities on a new initiative called “Shared Shelf” to support the use of digital images in teaching, learning, and research. The other institutional partners include Colby College, Cornell University, Harvard University, Middlebury College, New York University, University of Miami, and Yale University. The project intends to make it practical for institutions to combine images created by individuals, those held by the institution, and those in ARTstor’s database—and to do so without the need for local on-site infrastructure and storage.

Shared Shelf visualization

Components of Shared Shelf

Shared Shelf’s functionality will support the ingest, description, retrieval, and display of images, and enable libraries and scholars at participating institutions to share those images across their own campuses, with other Shared Shelf institutions, and with geographically distributed groups of scholars.  Images are accessed by users through ARTstor’s search and discovery environment, which makes it easy to find, collect, save, share, and send digital images.  Individual users will also be able to submit image content from personal collections to institutional collections in ARTstor.

UI librarians and faculty and staff from FAA and the History Department are currently testing the first beta release of the Shared Shelf software.  The final release of the software is expected in summer 2011.  Click here for more information about this initiative.

(Image from ARTstor.)

ARTstor–Not just for the art department!

ARTstor logoThe University of Illinois’s subscription to ARTstor, a nonprofit digital library of more than one million images, serves users in a wide variety of subject areas, including art, architecture, music, religion, anthropology, literature, world history, American Studies, Asian Studies, Classical Studies, Medieval Studies, Renaissance Studies, History of Medicine, and more.  You can view a complete list of subjects, and download subject guides in PDF format here.

ARTstor authenticates users by their IP (Internet Protocol) addresses when you enter from a campus computer.  If you access ARTstor for the first time from your home computer, start with a search for “ARTstor” at the Online Research Resources page on the Library’s website.  You will then be directed through the proxy server and prompted to enter your University NETID and password.  Once in ARTstor, sign up for a Registered User account.

Users with Instructor Privileges have access to even more features and tools than a Registered User. After logging in, click on the “Edit my profile” link in the upper right corner of the page. Click the “Instructor Privileges” tab. Type in the Instructor Privileges authorization code and password, which you can request from the local ARTstor contact listed in the window. When finished, click “Submit.” You will see a confirmation of your registration.  (Images from ARTstor)

Saskia Art Images from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) now in University of Illinois institutional collections in ARTstor

Saskia Art Images CollectionRecently the University Library had ARTstor load the Saskia Image Collection into our institutional collections area of ARTstor.  We have access to this wonderful resource through our membership in the CARLI Consortium.  You will find the Saskia collection listed under “Institutional Collections” when you first enter ARTstor.

The collection contains 30,000 digital imagesof paintings, sculpture and architecture, including images from many important collections:  ThePrado, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Uffizi, and the Louve as well as archaeological sites in Greece, Italy, Turkey and Egype.  The images can be displayed and downloaded in high-resolution format.  Additionally, the descriptive data about the images includes references to the occurrences of these images in 19 major art history texts, including Garner’s Art Through the Ages, 12th edition; Understanding Art, 7th edition; Art and Ideas, 10th edition; and Discovering Art History, 4th edition.

(Images from ARTstor and CARLI)