Archive for the ‘Usability’ Category

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). 207th Street and Perry Avenue; Street Brendan's Parochial School, view classroom. ca. 1924. Museum of the City of New York

Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.). 207th Street and Perry Avenue; Street Brendan’s Parochial School, view classroom. ca. 1924. Museum of the City of New York

Many of us are starting the fall semester this week—and a lucky few have already started—so we thought it would be helpful to review the many changes that took place over the summer.

In May, those of you with registered Artstor accounts received emails alerting you that instructor notes were permanently retired and citations and saved details were temporarily retired.

We released the new site in July. By now you may have noticed its cleaner, more modern design, and the many new features we added or streamlined. The initial release in July included the following changes:


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We’re thrilled to announce that we will be releasing an updated Digital Library this summer. This is a first step in improving our support of digital image-based teaching and scholarship, and toward the longer-term goal of creating an integrated platform experience for users of both the Artstor Digital Library and JSTOR – now both allied services under the ITHAKA umbrella.

Enhancements will include:

  • A new full screen IIIF image viewer with side-by-side comparison mode (no pop-ups or Flash required)
  • Simplified image group sharing: all registered users (previously limited to faculty) will be able to share image groups with other users at your institution
  • Increased web accessibility for users with disabilities
  • Shorter URLs for easier linking in LibGuides, course websites, emails, and more
  • Mobile friendly


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It’s great to know that the ARTstor Digital Library offers more than 1.6 million images when you’re searching for something in particular, but a bit overwhelming when you just want to explore. With 235 collections from museums, photographers, libraries, scholars, photo archives, and artists and artists’ estates, where to start browsing? We have some tips.

random3Let’s begin with an open secret: the slide show on the Digital Library’s search page. You’ve probably noticed the image at the top of the page, and that it changes each time you visit. But did you know you can open the image by double-clicking it? You can also learn about the collection it comes from by clicking on “INFO” on the upper right, or dive straight into the full collection by clicking on the name below the image. And you can scroll through the slide show by clicking on the arrows on either side of the slide to discover a wide selection of hand-picked images from other collections. (more…)

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René Magritte | The Eye, c. 1932/35 | The Art Institute of Chicago Collection | © 2009 C. Herscovici, London / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

There are many ways to find the images you’re looking for in the Artstor Digital Library; a simple keyword search will often lead you to what you’re looking for, and an advanced search will help narrow the results. Wildcards can help when you don’t remember a precise name or title, or, conversely, when you are looking for something very specific. There are only four to remember: (more…)

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ARTstor is collaborating with three discovery services to allow subscribers to search the Digital Library at libraries using EBSCO Discovery Service™, Paratext’s 19th Century Masterfile database, and Serials Solutions®’ Summon™ service. Users will now be able to find content from the Digital Library alongside their institution’s other collections through a single search. Agreements with more discovery services are on the way.

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You will now find two new icons in ARTstor’s online environment that are intended to enhance discovery and use of images in our collections. Icons used on the search results screen help you identify and act on special features related to an image. The two new icons are:

  • i-cluster Duplicates & Details: Explore ARTstor “clusters” – groups comprised of duplicates and details centered around lead images that are chosen for their high quality.
  • i-collab-filter Associated Images: Discover the collective preferences of ARTstor users by exploring which images are most frequently used and associated with others in ARTstor image groups.

While we have been signaling ARTstor clusters for some time, the icon itself for Duplicates & Details has been updated. The second icon – for finding Associated Images – is an entirely new feature. Just as Amazon “recommends” other books that are often purchased by the same people who purchased the book you are buying, ARTstor will now be able to inform you (in ranked order) of the other images people are using in image groups with the image you have found (while maintaining users’ privacy by not indicating who is using those images). In this way ARTstor users will be collaboratively sharing their knowledge, making it easier for the newcomer to an image to follow paths that are built off of our collective arguments. Implementing this feature is one effort in our ongoing focus on getting you not simply a large number of results, but rather getting you to the results you actually need and find useful.

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In response to user feedback, we have made enhancements to the interface of the Digital Library. These improvements should make ARTstor even easier to use, while preserving all of the existing functionality that you have come to depend on for teaching, sharing, study or research. The enhancements are concentrated in three areas: the Image Viewer, the Thumbnail and Collection Browsing pages, and the Toolbar menu. In addition, we increased the Remote Access Grace period from 14 and 90 days to 120 days for all users.

Image Viewer

  • Images can now be rotated 360 degrees within the viewer.
  • For presentation or testing purposes, users can now hide the entire caption, removing the title and creator from the Image Viewer and any descriptive information from the banner.
  • Users can now see exactly what percentage of the actual image file size they are viewing and will not be able to zoom-in past the actual size of the image.

Thumbnail and Collection Browsing Pages

  • In the Thumbnail page, images of key works of art will increasingly be “clustered” so that users have a choice whether to see multiple versions of the same image.
  • In the Thumbnail page, users can now toggle between the familiar Thumbnail mode and a new List Mode, which displays a scrollable list of all the images in an Image Group or result set with their accompanying data.
  • Registered users can now save their preferred display mode to their User Preferences.
  • While in the Collection Browsing pages, users can now expand a category to view all sub-categories by clicking on the plus sign to the left of each category.
  • The number of images within each category and sub-category is now listed in parentheses to the right of each category title.


  • We created separate Back and History menu buttons so that you can navigate through ARTstor in the same way that you navigate the Internet. The Back button permits users to step backwards through their recently visited pages, while the History button shows a list of the places visited during the current session.
  • We altered the wording of existing menu options in the Image Groups, View and Tools menus to make it easier for users to locate desired menu items. Please be assured that we did not remove or change the function of any menu items, just renamed them in more intuitive ways.
  • We collapsed the Collections and Browse Collection buttons into one button to provide consistency when navigating across collections.
  • We’d like to thank you all for an exciting and productive year. We appreciate hearing your suggestions, questions and concerns about ARTstor. Many of these enhancements are a direct result of user feedback; please continue to contact us so we can improve ARTstor in 2006 and beyond.

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