SUNYergy Archive: Access to All Issues

April 2006
Volume 8 Number 2
Page 1

Picturing Progress: Implementing
ARTstor at New Paltz
by Susan DeMaio, Visual Resources Librarian Art History Department, SUNY New Paltz

Cover Story

Picturing Progress

Features

ArtSTOR(ies) at FIT

Is Everybody Aleph?

SUNY Borrowing

Team E-Resource

14 2 16

James Steenbergen

How to Contact Us

Linkable Links

 

Editor's note: This issue of SUNYergy includes a focus on image databases, ARTstor and the use of such resources in the classroom. The use of images in the classroom is finding wide-ranging applications beyond art and art history to architecture, science, humanities and other areas across the curricula. Yet, it is understandable that faculty aren't always ready to change how it is they operate in those classrooms. We get real world views from New Paltz and from FIT on the challenges and opportunities working with faculty on new tools for bringing visual resources to their teaching.

The images in these articles are from Binghamton's visual resources collection found in the SUNY Digital Repository. Binghamton has made this collection available to registered SUNY users seeking educational resources. The collection is also now hosted by ARTstor and is available to their customers.

ArtStor logoAs a unique combination of digital image content and presentation tool, ARTstor provides unprecedented access for SUNY New Paltz faculty and students in all disciplines to copyright-cleared images that can be used in many creative ways to enhance both teaching and learning.

Since Fall 2003 when I began as Visual Resources Librarian in the Department of Art History, I have been acutely aware of the need to bring quality digital images and metadata to our patrons both within the department and across campus. At the same time I was frustrated by the isolation of the departmental collection and its lack of a catalogue to make the images readily accessible. Traditionally, the Visual Resources Library served the Art History faculty through the department’s collection of analog slides. While faculty from other departments (especially Art) also made use of the slide collection, the VR Library had a decidedly low profile.

New Paltz, among other SUNY campuses, subscribed to ARTstor through a generous incentive offer from SUNY System’s Office of the Provost, in conjunction with resources and support from SUNY New Paltz through Jonathan Lewit, Assistant Vice President of Technology; Chui-chun Lee, Director of Sojourner Truth Library; Elizabeth Brotherton, Chair of the Department of Art History; Kurt Daw, Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts; and Provost David Lavallee. This exciting collaboration among visual resources, library services and technology, presented the Visual Resources Library with an opportunity to assume an increased role in how images are used at SUNY New Paltz.

New Paltz stakeholders saw that ARTstor’s commitment to continually expand its image repository and the catalogue data would make the collection a valuable addition to our electronic resources. Although we recognized Ambrose Vollard portrait by Picassothat ARTstor did not completely solve New Paltz’s imaging needs, a unique component of the service — and key to my own support of ARTstor — was its concurrent development of the Offline Image Viewer (OIV). This component is an innovative presentation tool that might indeed supplant the use of static PowerPoint slides in the classroom, hence benefiting instruction across campus. Once Sojourner Truth Library added the link to ARTstor on its list of databases, the challenge was to promote the new ways to search for and present images that ARTstor afforded. In order to justify the substantial investment, we were determined to bring ARTstor to the attention of everyone in the New Paltz community who could benefit from it.

To enhance efforts to “evangelize” for ARTstor, we first needed to broaden the purview of the VR Library. Dean Daw and Professor Brotherton offered their unwavering support for disseminating information about ARTstor across campus. This approach specifically included my own activities in department instructional support. I proposed and implemented a plan to reach out to the excellent reference staff of the Sojourner Truth Library, and then to faculty across campus.

Outreach began by announcing two demonstration sessions through the New Paltz Faculty-Staff Discussion List to highlight the features of ARTstor during a pre-subscription trial period. The Bust of Nefertiti by Thutmouseability to flexibly present side-by-side comparisons and zoom in on details from high-quality images both in the online service and the Offline Image Viewer duly impressed the audience. Another highlight was the option to incorporate one’s own images among ARTstor’s with the OIV. Members of the reference staff of Sojourner Truth Library and I attended an in-depth training session at SUNY Purchase in February 2004. The reference librarians supported my request to take part in training non-Art History faculty and students in using ARTstor, and generously allowed me to conduct faculty workshops consisting of demonstration with a hands-on practice component in the library's electronic classrooms. Handouts explaining the learning goals and objectives were provided to all participants. Additionally I worked one-on-one with individual faculty who wanted to use ARTstor, but needed instruction more closely tailored to specific lectures or topics. The resulting enhanced relationships with the Library, and with such departments as History, Philosophy, Foreign Languages and Anthropology have been extremely gratifying.

Adoption of ARTstor by Art History faculty and students has also grown. I regularly answer questions about searching the database, creating image groups, and creating OIV presentations. Our Asianist, Elizabeth Brotherton, is in her third semester using ARTstor exclusively in the classroom. Instructors of upper-division Art History courses in other areas are beginning to use ARTstor as well. The innovation of online Personal Collections allows faculty to upload their own images to complement ARTstor’s content. "American Gothic" by Grant WoodStudents might study ARTstor image groups linked from our course management system Blackboard, or logon to ARTstor to access stored image groups for exam review. We strive to generate student interest in exploring and using ARTstor that will carry over into their studies in other disciplines. I assist in facilitating student use of ARTstor through short class presentations detailing the process of registering for shared folder access, or to give a demonstration when students express an interest in using the Offline Image Viewer.

Across campus, user satisfaction and acceptance of ARTstor content at New Paltz is good, but hampered by the absence of much copyrighted material including works by many of the major artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. ARTstor is working with the Artists' Rights Society (ARS) to get clearance for many images. We shall see how successful this effort proves to be. On a more positive note, ARTstor includes some of the former participants in the Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO) database. The images in this database are of extremely high quality with very rich metadata. Late-breaking developments include lengthening grace periods for remote access to ARTstor, and the exciting addition of selections from SUNY Binghamton’s Visual Resources Collection accessible via ARTstor (as well as via the SUNY Digital Repository) to other SUNY campuses.

Beyond efforts to promote use of ARTstor content, another challenge to implementing ARTstor at New Paltz was to make the Offline Image Viewer presentation tool widely available and accepted on campus. Academic "Georgia O'Keefe" by Alfred StieglitzComputing at New Paltz is adding the OIV software to instructor stations in electronic classrooms as well as in open computer labs as their configurations are upgraded. Recently announced plans to make the OIV software free may help solve the lack of enthusiasm for a tool I believe to be clearly superior to PowerPoint. The already widespread use of PowerPoint across campus has dulled acceptance of the OIV despite our efforts to promote it. While most of Art History’s full-time faculty had not previously used digital images for teaching, new faculty and adjuncts have often invested many hours in creating PowerPoint presentations. Low-resolution images that may be downloaded from ARTstor are generally too small for use on a PowerPoint slide. Undoubtedly use of ARTstor content would increase should better downloadable images become available. While some faculty express an interest in developing ARTstor content for their courses, adjuncts who may work at two or three institutions per semester are understandably less inclined to abandon their PowerPoints for a resource available at New Paltz, but perhaps not elsewhere.

ARTstor itself has been proactive in enhancing the service based on actual user needs. We were pleased to be among a number of institutions to host a visit of an ARTstor User Services team. They listened carefully to all the comments and criticisms and implemented changes to the service and OIV with amazing speed. In fact, it has evolved almost too rapidly for our campus to keep up! New versions of the OIV software have arrived every semester.

Overall, the Visual Resources Library is broadening its role on campus because of New Paltz’s decision toRay Man's "Gift" subscribe to ARTstor. Visual Resources will continue to adapt and evolve to support innovative uses of ARTstor by the entire campus community through user support, workshops and personal instruction. We foresee a future in which ARTstor will foster interdisciplinary connections and change the way in which image research, teaching and learning are conducted at SUNY New Paltz.

Go forward to page 2


Cover Story

Picturing Progress

Feature

ArtSTOR(ies) at FIT

[Image: Bobby Approved Logo]

Feature

Is Everybody Aleph?

SUNY Borrowing

Team E-Resource

 

 

14 2 16

James Steenbergen

 

How to Contact Us

Linkable Links