restricted access ARTstor (review)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviewed by
ARTstor. ARTstor Inc. (Accessed July-August 2008) [Requires high-speed Internet connection, Web browser, Java 1.3 or later. Pricing for a site license permitting unlimited simultaneous users: for colleges and universities in the United States, a one-time Archive Capital Fee (ACF) ranges from $1,000 to $40,000 and an Annual Access Fee (AAF) from $1,200 to $20,000; for public libraries, the ACF ranges from $750 to $5,000 and the AAF from $500 to $3,000; price ranges vary for colleges and universities outside the United States, independent art schools, K-12 schools, and museums.]

Initiated by the Mellon Foundation in 2001 and launched as an independent non-profit organization in 2004, ARTstor supports the use of digitized images for teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences. The ARTstor image database, having more than doubled in size over its short lifetime thanks to ARTstor's vigorous ongoing collection development program, comprises nearly one million digital images and their accompanying descriptive data. Along with the database, ARTstor provides a suite of online tools that enable faculty and students to access, organize, analyze, and present digital images for educational use.

The image database, also called the Digital Library, is an aggregate of nearly ninety separate collections (as of August 2008) contributed by college and university libraries and visual resource centers, photo archives, and museums, as well as by individual photographers and scholars. For some of these collections, ARTstor has collaborated with the contributing institution or individual to digitize the original images. ARTstor is continually seeking to add new collections to its database through partnerships that can provide images judged by ARTstor to have educational and research value. On the ARTstor home page, under the tab labeled "What is ARTstor," the "Collections" area describes ARTstor's collection development program, and the "Descriptions and Status" section lists completed, in-progress, and future collections, describing each collection's origin and content and indicating the proportion of each that is currently available in the Digital Library. Although the "art" in ARTstor refers to images of objects in the visual arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, design, photography, decorative arts), ARTstor also collects images of cultural objects more broadly defined, such as musical instruments and music manuscripts. Thus the images and tools provided by ARTstor are relevant for teaching and iconographic research in many fields, including music and most other disciplines in the humanities. Materials in the database relevant to music and other areas are described in a series of [End Page 546]PDF pages in the section "Interdisciplinary Uses" under the "Using ARTstor" tab on the home page. In addition to the Digital Library, ARTstor also provides a hosting service that enables subscribing institutions to store their local digitized visual resource collections on ARTstor servers and limit access to their own students, faculty, and staff. Instructors at subscribing institutions may also upload their personal image collections, as well as MP3 files, and choose to make them accessible to others at their institutions.

This review surveys the range of music-iconographic content in ARTstor, evaluates the means of accessing that content through searching and browsing, describes the tools ARTstor provides for using images in teaching and research, and briefly considers image quality. The comments that follow are based on ARTstor Beta, a new platform released in June 2008. Faster and easier to use than the old thin-client platform, now known as ARTstor Legacy, the attractive new interface functions entirely within the user's Web browser. ARTstor Legacy will remain available until the end of the 2008–9 academic year.

ARTstor music-iconographic content ranges from antiquity through the twenty-first century, from depictions of the lyre and aulos in ancient Greek vase painting to a series of photographs of Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project in ARTstor's Hartill Archive of Architecture and Allied Arts. The American Council for Southern Asian Art Collection from the University of Michigan includes over two hundred rāgmālāpaintings (visual interpretations of ragas) from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, which can be accessed with a keyword search on "music" within the collection. (To search by keyword...