Department of Art & Art History

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Visual Arts Complex
Visual Arts Complex

Find Images: Artstor

The University Libraries subscribe to Artstor, a digital library of over 1.5 million “images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences with a set of tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes.” Artstor is an authoritative resource for images and their accompanying descriptive information. The VRC provides training and support in this valuable resource.

Artstor has useful help documentation available on their website. The most important things to know first about Artstor:

  • Accessing Artstor: Access to Artstor is limited to faculty, staff, and students on the Boulder campus.  Artstor authorizes visitors in four ways: 1) when you visit the site from a campus IP address; 2) when you access Artstor through the Libraries’ proxy server site, and log on with your CU Identikey username and password; 3) when you visit from off campus through a VPN connection (free software that makes you appear to be entering Artstor from campus — available at the CU-Boulder OIT Web site); 4) when you access the site through its Remote Access Grace Period, in which you first register for an account in Artstor from an on-campus computer. Each subsequent time you log on to your account from a computer on-campus, you initiate a 120-day remote access grace period that allows you to log on from any computer off campus.
  • Registering for an account: You do not need to register for an individual account in Artstor to search and browse its collections, but you do need to create one and log on in order to take advantage of important features like saving images to groups, and download images and image groups.
  • Searches: Artstor is a heterogeneous collection of collections, with digital images and associated descriptive information from a variety of sources (e.g., museums, archives, photographers, collectors, and vendors).  Because cataloging standards can vary by collection, search results can sometimes be inconsistent. Some images are cataloged with more detailed and granular records than others, and spelling may not always conform to the same standards (such as “thangka” and “tanka”). It’s often best to begin a search broadly and narrow it as needed, and keep in mind the possible alternate spellings of names and terms.
  • Exporting images: Over 90% of Artstor’s images may be exported at projection size for use in classroom presentations (1024 pixels on the longest side).  A few contributors to Artstor’s collections do not permit downloads at a size of larger than 400 pixels on the longest side. You can download images individually, or export saved image groups directly into PowerPoint. To download images you must first first register for a (free) Artstor account and log in.