by James Shulman
ARTstor is a non-profit organization created with several aims:
1) To aid in the transformation of education in the arts and humanities through the innovative use of digital technology;
2) To achieve economies of scale and reduce costs for the community by providing digital images for teaching and scholarship;
3) To facilitate efficient dissemination of content from a broad range of time periods, cultures and disciplines, making accessible large portions of our cultural record scattered across libraries, museums, archives, galleries and private collections around the world; and
4) To work with the community to find answers to commonly shared problems, including the development of standards and best practices for the creation of useful visual materials.
As of June 2008, more than 1,000 colleges, universities, schools and museums have access to ARTstor’s evolving library of over 750,000 images and its accompanying software tools.
ARTstor seeks to play a role in the international network connecting educational institutions with content contributors, ranging from artists (such as the Roy Lichtenstein Estate) and photographers to museums (such as the Getty) and libraries (such as the Harvard College Libraries). In doing so, we work with the community to develop policies around sharing image collections, as well as to develop and enhance harvesting software and schema that promote interoperability (such as the Open Archives Initiative and CDWA-Lite), leading to the aggregation for users of images from disparate sources. We believe the coming years will bring continued expansion of an ever more decentralized environment. ARTstor’s role in such an environment will not be that of the single source of image content, but rather that of a value-adding node in this increasingly networked environment. Toward this aim, much of our time has been spent creating or improving upon existing inter-relationships and networks, building bridges across the community and demonstrating both the potential and the challenges of facilitating the use of digital images.
About the Author
James Shulman is Executive Director of ArtSTOR.
originally published by Academic Commons in 2007