October 3, 2012 by saj342
There are many ways in which a researcher can explore the internet for images; but, often, for academic research or to view a high resolution image online it is necessary to go beyond a basic Google search. ARTstor is one academic tool that can help you find quality digital reproductions of over a million images in the arts, architecture, humanities and social sciences. ARTstor is easy to use and users only need to create an account in order to use the site. Often, college students are able to access ARTstor’s database through an agreement with their school and the website.
So, let’s perform a basic search using ARTstor!
For this demonstration, let’s begin a broad search for photographs of New York City, Greenwich Village, in particular. To begin our search we can use the “Find” tab located at the top of the page. Using the “Advanced Search” option we can provide ourselves with the best chance of finding the images that we want. First, under the “Geography” option select “United States” and under “Classifications” select “Photographs.” You want to be sure to select “ARTstor Collections” under the “Collections” tab in order to ensure that you are viewing the entire ARTstor Collection and not just a special collection on the website. In some instances, narrowing your search to only a specific collection will better serve your research requirements; so, for example, if a user only wanted to search for photographs in the Tamiment/Wagner Poster and Broadside Collection selecting that under “Collections” would produce more refined results in the search.
In the left portion of the “Advanced Search” field there are options to search for specific words or phrases in the description of the photograph. You can also narrow your search to include specific dates. For the purposes of our search we can use the keywords “Greenwich Village” and “New York.” We can also narrow our results to photographs taken between 1920 and 2012. Users also have the option to search for images within a specific range or to only look for images in the years entered in the “Date or Date Range” section.
After we’ve filled in the necessary section of the “Advanced Search” box we can select “Search” and see what images our search yielded.
We got over 500 image results!
To make our search more manageable we can further restrict our search. Let’s narrow our search to “Greenwich Village”, “New York”, “Buildings”, with a date range of 1920-1925.
Our search has been narrowed enough that it is has now produced manageable results for our research.
We can now click individual photographs and get better views of them.
Also, by clicking the small “i” icon at the center of the window, we can view all of the data associated with the image.
The image information includes vital data that will give the researcher details about the creator of the image, its dimensions, the source of the image and also, importantly, who has the rights to the image. Knowing who hold the rights to an image as well as where the image is located is important for researchers because it provides guidance to the correct source for permission to reproduce the photograph.
Now, the user has several options: He/she can print the image, save the image or examine it online; the photograph can be rotated or zoomed in and out.
Online search engines like ARTstor can be a vital tool for researching and provides access to digital images of a wide variety of subjects. Whether you are looking for a specific painting by Edgar Degas or a photograph of a railroad station beginning your search with a reputable image search engine will provide you with the best quality and information. I hope that you find this basic tutorial helpful and happy searching!