ARTstor Digital Library

last modified 2018-03-08T14:03:03-05:00

ARTstor is a digital library of over 1.5 million images and media files covering the arts, architecture, humanities, social sciences, sciences, and medicine with tools for teaching, research, and study. It can be used for classroom presentations, lectures, conferences, workshops, or research.  Due to copyright laws, you  may not use images in materials you will make available for purchase or are disseminated for commercial purposes (such as by a scholarly or commercial press.)  For more information, please review the terms and conditions page or contact a librarian for additional information.

Finding Images

Locate images in ARTstor either by browsing or searching, depending on your needs.

Browse by:

  • Geography - a list of country names and then subdivided by classification, such as maps, drawings, etc.  To subdivide by classification, click on the folder next to the country and then double click on the category that you need. 
  • Classification - browse by categories such as painting, drawing, or science & technology. You may also subdivide a category by geography - click on the folder next to the classification and then double click on the country.  
  • Collection - these are the museum and archives collections that are included in ARTstor and then subdivided by images within that collection.

Search for a particular artist, subject matter, title of a work, country, or other descriptor through the basic search or advanced search screen.

Basic Search allows you to easily look for a particular title of a work or images on a particular subject. This search is available from the first page you see in ARTstor, as shown in the image to the right.

Advanced Search offers up to five boxes, plus the option to narrow by date, geography, or classification. This search is best if you're looking for work by a particular creator, such as Leonardo da Vinci, as the drop down menu can be changed to bring back results only in the creator field. This search is also useful if you need subject work from a particular area or in a particular style.


When searching, you can also narrow the search via the timeline, classification, geography, and searching within the results. Click the title of an image to bring up additional information, including a URL to link back to the image, and all of the information needed to create a citation. Once you find an image that you want to take a closer look at, double click on the thumbnail to retrieve an enlarged view of the image in the Image Viewer. 

The Image Viewer provides you with tools with which you can zoom in on details, pan to different sections, and rotate the image 360 degrees. It also has tools for printing and downloading images. Note that you must create an account with ARTstor in order to download images, although you can print without doing so.

ARTstor Accounts

In order to use some of the ARTstor features, or even to download images, you must create an account with them. This is an additional log in step - logging into the library website will not take the place of this step!

Create an account using the "register" link in the upper right hand corner of ARTstor. Fill out the necessary information, using your Mercer email address. You will then be able to:ARTstor_mine.png

  • Download high-quality images (up to 2,000 in any 120 day period)
    • Downloading full-resolution images is only available for items marked "IAP" (Images for Academic Publishing), under separate terms and conditions.
  • Create your own personal Image Groups (organize and save images for later)
  • Create presentations
  • Attach personal notes and comments to images
  • Create links to ARTstor images and Image Groups for access through course reserves and other websites

After registering or logging into ARTstor, your homepage will display links to your content in the upper right.

Folders/Image Groups

A note on terminology - "folders" and "image groups" are not the same thing! Images are saved into image groups, which are organized into folders. Thus any time you wish to organize a collection of images, you must start by creating an image group. If you find you have too many image groups, consider creating additional folders to put them in.

If you desire, you may save images into Image Groups for later use from either the results screen or the image viewer, once you have created an account. Save images from the results screen to save multiple full-size images. Save images from the Image Viewer to save close-up views of an individual image.

Results Screen

On the results screen, select any images you wish to save by clicking once on each. Then open the "Organize" menu and save the image to either a new or existing image group.


A window will appear allowing you either to name your new group or select the existing group you wish to save to (as seen below). Note that ARTstor will allow you to save directly to recently used Image Groups straight from the "Organize" menu. Simply hover over "recently opened image group" and select the appropriate group from there.


Image Viewer

Pull an image up in the Image Viewer and zoom into the specific portion of the image you want to savein your folder. Then click on the icon in the lower right corner to "save view to image group."

The same window shown above will open on the main ARTstor page - either click back to the main window or close the image viewer, if you are done working with the image. 

Image Group Features

After saving items to a group, you may download all the images at once either as a ZIP file for use in any program, or have the images automatically exported into a PowerPoint presentation. Access the group you wish to download, and select your preferred option on the right-hand side of the screen.

A window will appear warning you how many images you've downloaded in the last 120 days and how many more you may download - up to 2,000 in any 120 period. Click "Submit" to agree, and ARTstor will generate and download the ZIP or PPT file.


ARTstor will help you create citations by saving all necessary citation information, but will NOT format citations according to a specific citation style (such as APA or MLA). For assistance formatting a citation, please ask a librarian!

To download the citation information, you must first save them in ARTstor. Select any images you need citations for (or add them to a group), and then go to the Tools menu and select either "save citations for image group" or "save citations for selected images." Once the citations have been generated, the option for "view and export citations" will become active.

Clicking the "view and export citations" option will open a new window, from which you can email yourself citations or download them to your computer. Several export options are available; of those, Mercer University Library only subscribes to EndNote - a guide to this resource is available here. If you use Zotero (guide to this resource), you may also save citations in "export format" and upload them into Zotero. The citation information is also displayed for you to work from directly, for creating citations manually or typing into an online citation generator.

Faculty Services

ARTstor offers several features to assist faculty both for teaching and research/publishing:

  1. Create shared Image Groups for class materials
  2. Upload and manage a personal collection of your own images and files (including PDF and audio files)
  3. Add personal notes and shared notes to images and Image Groups
  4. Teaching Resources and guides created by ARTstor staff
  5. A discussion list on teaching with ARTstor. Join by sending a blank email to 
  6. Images marked IAP are available for Academic Publishing - details of this service are available directly from ARTstor

All of the above are available only to users with ARTstor accounts granted "Instructor Status." Request this status by logging into ARTstor and going to "edit profile" in the upper right. Select "Instructor Privileges" to see the contact information of the current ARTstor administrator. S/he will contact you with the necessary information.

1. Create shared Folders and Image Groups

You must first create a new folder to share - previously created folders and/or image groups cannot be changed to shared after the fact (you can, however, add items from a private image group to a shared image group). Begin by selecting the "Share" tab at the top of the page, then clicking "Create folder." A window will appear allowing you to name your folder and then select your preferred options for sharing the folder, as well as who will have the ability to edit the folder. You may change these settings later if needed.

You can then create image groups within this folder and work with them as you would any other. Note that shared folders will appear under "Institutional Folders" instead of "Private Folders" when you are selecting an image group to save images to. Also remember that the first time you save new items into your shared folder, you must first create an image group within that folder. All image groups within that folder will have the same shared settings. The advantage of this is your ability to create a single shared folder for a class, and then have it subdivided into image groups by lecture or topic.

Note that if you are using a password-protected folder, other users will need to unlock the folder to access it. After logging into ARTstor, they should open the "Find" menu and select "unlock password protected folder" - from here, they can type in the password for the folder to access it.

2. Create a personal collection

You may also upload image and audio files into ARTstor in order to share your personal items alongside images in the ARTstor Digital Library. To begin uploading images to your Personal Collection, go to the “Upload” toolbar menu and select the “Upload to Personal Collection” option. A new window will open where you can upload files. You are allotted 1 GB of storage space and the supported file formats include: JPEG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, and PNG, as well as MP3.

Once you have uploaded files to your Personal Collection, you can manage it through the “Upload” menu; select “Manage Personal Collection” to see your items.

3. Add personal and/or shared notes to images

Add personal or shared notes to any image - first search or browse for an image, then open the image information window for any item by clicking on the title of the image (underneath the thumbnail).

Select either "Instructor Notes" or "Personal Notes," enter your notes, and save the information. You will be able to edit and/or remove this information later. Keep in mind that Personal Notes are always private - you must create Instructor Notes in order to share them. You may also change the privacy setting for instructor notes - in the bottom right corner of the window, select "Hide," "Restrict," or "Public." Always be sure to click save before closing this window!