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Artstor - Using Images and Managing Collections at DU

Guide to using Artstor as a image collection management tool for faculty and students at DU

Artstor is for Everyone at DU!

Artstor is not just for the visual arts! It provides content to a wide variety of still images across the disciplines, including anthropology, history, history of medicine and natural sciences, maps and geography, music history, theatre and dance, and more. 

How are non-visual arts faculty using Artstor in their teaching? 

  • Science classes have infographic assignments as part of library instruction research workshops 

  • Theatre uses Artstor images in set design and costume design classes 


Common Ways to Use Artstor images in Your Course

 Artstor can be used to store and to gather together still images for research and course content.  The software allows all members of the DU community to display images in presentations, as part of study guides, in quizzes and exams, and more. 


Artstor offers tips on how to teach with Artstor, including curriculum and remote teaching guides.  The database even offers examples of curated collections on specific types of topics, such as Colonial Latin America or Gothic Literature


Check out the DU Office of Teaching and Learning's introduction on using Artstor in your courses.

How to Integrate into Canvas

There are two ways to share images and Groups from Artstor in Canvas.

The first is to copy the Artstor link for the image or Group and add the link as a new Item in a Canvas Module. When viewing an image record in Artstor, click Copy in the top right to copy the image’s unique URL to your clipboard. To share a Group link, visit your Groups under Browse and select the Group you want to share. Under Share, select Generate a Group Link, then Copy to Clipboard. Paste the unique image or Group URL into a new Canvas Item. Be sure to select External URL for the Canvas Item and choose if you want the link to open in a new window or open in Canvas.  

Screenshot of share link to group function in Artstor

The second option is to download the image or Group from Artstor and add them as a file to your Module Item. A single image will download as a jpeg, but a Group can be downloaded as zip file with all the image files and metadata, or pre-packaged as a PowerPoint Presentation with the associated metadata. You may then edit the PowerPoint to your specific needs. To Download an image, click Download in the top right. To download a Group, click Export on the top right (when viewing the Group) and select your preference.  

Screenshot of export to powerpoint button in Artstor

 Alternatively, you may also Export Group to Powerpoint under Share in the top menu.
Screenshot of share drop down menu in Artstor

Artstor and Visual Literacy

What is visual literacy?  

Visual literacy is defined by the Association of College and Research Libraries as ”a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and visual media,” skills vital for students in the visually-rich world we live in today.  

Students have access to more images than at any other time in history, and the assumption is that they are media savvy because of the prevalence on the web.   

  • Students may be able to find images easily, but do they know how to locate high quality images that are ethical to use?   

  • Do they know how to cite images, in the way they know how to cite text? Do they know how to think critically about the images they encounter and integrate them into their academic arguments?  

Although images are everywhere today, they are challenging for students to engage with, evaluate, and use.   

  • Artstor offers high quality still images that come with reliable metadata (title, date, dimensions, location, etc.), students can feel confident that they are using images that have been vetted for copyright and can be used for educational purposes in course assignments and presentations.  
  • Artstor offers a citation generator for images, although, as with all automated citation generators, the result must be checked for accuracy. 

Searching Artstor vs Google Images 

  • Although Google Images does allow limiting of images by size and rights, it is inconsistent about the metadata that accompanies the images, and doesn’t filter images that have been uploaded without permissions.  

  • Artstor provides information about rights holders, and allows for much more targeted searching, so that results can be narrowed by geographic area, date, medium, and discipline.