An Overview of ARTstor: Design Research Guide

Librarian: Karen DeWitt

Adapted by Barbara Brenny from "Getting Started With ARTstor," by Jenni Rodda, New York University and from "ARTstor Training Part III: Instructor Features"

Connecting to ARTstor
Register with ARTstor
Browsing and Searching in ARTstor
Search Results
Building Image Groups
Obtaining URL for a Folder or Image Group
Using the Off-line Image Viewer (OIV 3.1)

1) Connecting to ARTstor

Connect to ARTstor from any computer within the NCSU network or registered through the NCSU Libraries proxy, at The ARTstor home page has a "Go" button in the upper right corner. Make sure you allow pop-ups from the ARTstor site. You should also be aware that ARTstor's image files can be rather large; how quickly they load for you depends on the speed of your connection and the traffic on ARTstor's servers during your visit.

2) Register with ARTstor

Register with ARTstor using your email address. You DO have to initially register from an NCSU-networked computer. If you don't register, you'll only be allowed to browse the images. In the upper right corner of the main access page, there is a register/log-on box. Click "Not registered?" then follow the directions in the dialog box. ARTStor will ask you to create a password. The next time you visit ARTstor (after registering), click the 'log in' button, and follow the directions in the resulting dialog box. A note on remote (e.g., off-campus) access: once you have registered as a user, ARTstor allows you remote access for 120 days, after which you will need to re-authenticate yourself to their servers, from an NCSU-networked computer. Registering will give you the ability to do the following:

a. Create image groups
b. Annotate images
c. Register for access to shared folders
d. Collaborate with instructors and colleagues online
e. Create presentations
f. Create links to ARTstor images and image groups for access through course reserves and other websites

3) Browsing and Searching in ARTstor

Information about each of ARTstor's component collections can be found by clicking on "collection," from the main access page and then on the name of the collection on the following page. You can start searching immediately using the keyword search box at the top of the page. Note that there is a drop-down menu just below the keyword search box'you need to tell the database which collection you want to search (or that you want to search all collections simultaneously), before clicking the "search" button. Be careful what you ask for: searching with a general term (like "painting") may bring up more information than you can browse easily. If your search returns more than 300 hits, a dialog box will appear asking if you wish to refine your search, or whether you want to see everything that matches the criteria you entered. Another option is to perform an advanced search.

4) Search Results

Once you have initiated a search, a virtual lightbox of images will appear. Clicking on the caption below each image brings up whatever textual information ARTstor has on file; double-clicking on the image itself enlarges the image, and makes it possible to zoom, pan, and rotate the image.

In any screen in which images appear, you can enlarge (zoom, pan, rotate) and pull up any information ARTstor has about that image. Click on an image, and it will enlarge (half the screen will grey out, and you may see a large "loading image please wait" message; how long this takes depends on the size of the image file and the speed of your network connection). Once the enlarged image is on your screen, there will be two rows of icons at the bottom of the new window. Click the "plus" sign to zoom in, the "minus" sign to zoom out, and the icon of the small square to return the image to its original size and position.

The cursor directional arrow keys allow you to pan through an enlarged image (which you can also do by clicking, holding the button down, and moving the cursor icon around the image). When an image has been enlarged, a slide-sized reference image appears in the bottom right corner of the new window. Zooming in creates a red outline on the reference image; dragging that red outline within the reference image allows you to shift the area of the image being enlarged. The right-most icon in the upper row of the image tool bar is a circular arrow; clicking here allows you to rotate the selected image in any direction (although the orientation of the thumbnail reference image does not change). The zoom and pan features continue to function, even if the image has been rotated. (N.B.: At this time, image rotation is a function that is only available within the ARTstor database. A downloaded image reverts to its original orientation. This is true when downloading to the OIV as well.)

In the lower row of icons, clicking the printer icon will allow you to print out a low-resolution version of the image, and all its related descriptive text. Click the "full screen" icon to make the image as large as possible (or, conversely, to return it to its original size). Click the "list" icon to see the titles of every image in your image group'click on a title in the list, and that image enlarges on the screen. Click the "save" icon, and ARTstor will allow you to download a low-resolution version of the image (about 400 pixels on the long side, big enough for a paper but not suitable for much else) to your hard drive, stick drive, CD, or other portable media. At the lower right edge of the image toolbar are two text buttons; one allows you to hide the tombstone caption in the lower left. The other takes you to ARTstor's error report form. If you find an error, click there, and follow the directions on the resulting screen. Your comments on what needs to be fixed will go right to ARTstor.

In the lightbox screen, clicking on the caption to any image pulls up its related description. Descriptive information in ARTstor varies widely; you will find that the "Image Gallery" (drawn originally from the slide library at the University of California/San Diego) has the most cursory textual information, and images of the most varied quality. The images in the "Illustrated Bartsch," in contrast, are frequently well-cataloged, with lengthy descriptions and interpretations in addition to basic source data. Across the top of the data screen (reached by clicking on the caption to a thumbnail) are several tabs. The second tab, "image properties," gives you the technical specifications of the image'including its perpetual URL, which can be cut-and-pasted into another document if you need it. The third tab, "personal notes," allows you to annotate for yourself any image you have selected. Those personal notes are available and visible only to you. If you have arranged for instructor-level privileges, a fourth tab, labeled "instructors notes," will appear. Notes you write under the "instructors notes" tab are available for general viewing by your students ("personal notes" are not). To arrange for instructor level privileges within NCSU's ARTstor license, contact Tim Mori, Karen DeWitt or Barbara Brenny and one of them can provide you with the authorization code and password.

5) Building Image Groups

Image groups allow you to work with a selection of images you set aside for yourself, name in a way that is meaningful to you, place in any order you like, and annotate in any way you wish. Image groups can also be downloaded in full through ARTstor's proprietary software, the "Offline Image Viewer" (OIV 2.5 after this), for presentation purposes (more about this later).

If you wish to select an image for separate use, click on its thumbnail. The frame will turn red (to unselect, click again, and the frame returns to neutral). You may select as many images at a time as you wish, on as many pages as you wish. When you have selected the images you want to save, go to the menu at the top of the page and click on "Organize" and "Save Selected Images to." Here you are given the option of saving to a new image group, an existing image group or a recently opened image group. You will be asked if you would like to append, overwrite, or create a new group, and you can ask ARTstor to immediately open the group in a separate window. Don't forget to click "SAVE" when you're done!

Once you have created an image group, it "lives" on ARTstor's servers, in a partition accessible only by you. The group will stay intact until you change or delete it (or until NCSU changes its license with ARTstor, or you no longer have access to an NCSU-networked computer).

Don't hesitate to use the "help" tab! ARTstor has a great deal of detailed information available for reference and printout as needed. "Help" is accessible from any screen within ARTstor.

6) Obtaining URL for a Folder or Image Group

ARTstor can provide you with a persistant URL (web link) to any of your folders or image groups. These can be used in course syllabi or entered into Reserves Direct. Go to "Share" at the top of the page and click on "Generate image group URL." You can copy and paste the web address to your desired location.

7) Using the Off-line Image Viewer (OIV 3.1)

The OIV 3.1 is a proprietary software package that makes it possible to download ARTstor's large image files (and their associated functionality) locally, then to add images from other sources (such as the Design Library Image Collection) and make presentations. It is similar to PowerPoint, but less complicated and easier to use. The OIV can be downloaded to any computer. The OIV is completely portable.

PLEASE NOTE: Before downloading images from ARTstor into the OIV, make whatever annotations you think you will need in the "personal notes" screen. "Personal notes" download with the image, but you CANNOT change them once the image has been downloaded to your own computer.

To download the OIV to your personal computer: after registering as an ARTstor user, go to the "Tools" button at the top of the screen. Click "Download off-line presentation tool (OIV)," and follow the on-screen directions. Make sure you download the most recent version of the software (3.1), and that the version you download is compatible with the computer you are using. The downloading instructions are very clear and easy to follow, but there are some specific systems requirements; the OIV does not work with all operating systems of all computers.

Once the OIV is installed on your computer, open the program. Your screen will be divided into three windows (the "Image Palette," "Slide Sorter," and "Slide Editor"), and a 'Getting Started' dialog box, giving you several download options, will appear. If you select "Create a presentation using ARTstor images," you will be prompted to authenticate yourself to ARTstor (e.g., log in), then to tell ARTstor which of your image groups you want to download. The images will download in the order in which you left them in your on-line image group, directly to your personal computer, into the "Image Palette" window, along with all their attendant data; any "personal notes"' you have made will also download. Please remember that you must assemble images into a group prior to downloading them into the OIV; the OIV does not give you direct access to the full ARTstor database.

Once an image group has been downloaded to your own computer, you can rearrange the images, add images from other sources, and present images either as a PowerPoint-like slide show or as an "Image Palette" slide show. To add images from other sources, use the icon shaped like two small squares in the image palette area or go to "Insert" and select "Local Images." Tell the OIV where the images are located that you want to add to your image group, and they will appear on the 'Image Palette' window, appended to the end of the open group. Use the control button on your keyboard to select multiple images.

The "Image Palette" window allows you to order images any way you like; select an image (its frame will turn blue), then drag and drop it wherever you want it. If you want to delete an image, select it (its frame will turn blue), right click and select "Delete image(s)." NB: If you delete an ARTstor image, and want it back, you will need to return to ARTstor to download it again. To annotate your own images (NOT the images you download from ARTstor), select an image (its frame will turn blue), then right click (in a PC interface). Use the "Edit object data" option in the right click menu. Depending on how you want to use the images you have assembled, you can use the OIV in two completely different ways. The biggest advantage to using the 'Image Palette' slide show is that the screen can be split either vertically or horizontally, and zooming and panning features are available in both halves of the screen. ARTstor's considerable image data can also be called up, in either half of the screen, and the full slide show, arranged as you last saved it in the image palette, can be referenced in either section of the screen. In the upper left of the "Image Palette" toolbar is a small slide icon with a green triangle on it; click there to preview your slide show.

There is also the "Slide Sorter/Editor" slide show, which works very much like PowerPoint. This part of the software works in conjunction with the "Image Palette." Images are held on the "Image Palette," then dragged and dropped into the "Slide Editor," which in turn gives you access to a variety of pre-set slide templates that make constructing a presentation quick and easy.

In both the "Slide Sorter" and "Slide Editor" window toolbars, there is an icon of a slide with a plus (+) sign on it. This is the "Add Slide" button. Clicking the "Add Slide" button brings up the OIV's pre-set slide template menu. Pick the slide format you need'blank screen, text only screen, 1, 2, 3, or 4 images, with or without text, with or without the zoom and pan features (these templates have a magnifying glass superimposed on the template mosaic). Selecting a template and clicking "OK" puts that template into the "Slide Editor." You can then drag and drop any image from the "Image Palette" into any part of the template in the "Slide Editor." Dragging and dropping an image into a text box transfers the text about that image into the slide template; text can then be added or edited, or removed completely. Finished slides show in the left frame "Slide Sorter" window, just as they do in PowerPoint. Slides can be re-arranged (drag and drop), deleted, or added, at any point in the sequence of your presentation, in the "Slide Sorter" window. Deleting images from the "Slide Sorter" or "Slide Editor" windows does NOT delete them from the "Image Palette," but deleting an image from the "Image Palette" removes that image from all three windows.

Clicking on the slide with the green triangle ("view the current presentation") takes you directly to presentation mode. The first screen gives you a "cheat sheet" of keyboard commands, the most important of which are the spacebar (moves forward one full slide at a time), spacebar-shift (moves back one full slide at a time), and so on.

When you have completed editing your slide show, it can be saved to a flash or jump drive, to a CD, to your personal hard drive; then uploaded to any of the classroom computers when you wish to make your presentation. It will remain as last saved until you open it again, and you will NOT need to log on to ARTstor to open it (unless you want to add more ARTstor images, of course). The slide show is saved in .prs format. You CANNOT open the file in PowerPoint'ARTstor's high resolution images are encrypted and can only be used in the OIV. If you are going to take the OIV on the road, it is a good idea to take the software with you (unless the institution where you are giving your talk is an ARTstor subscriber, at which point they should already have the software available). Remember when uploading the OIV that the computer you're using it on must be Java enabled, and that the pop-up blocker must be turned off if you think you will need to log on to ARTstor directly.

More information about using the OIV including a glossary of keyboard shortcuts, can be found under the "help" button within the OIV.