How To Do More Efficient, More Effective ARTstor Searching
HOW TO DO MORE EFFICIENT, MORE EFFECTIVE ARTSTOR SEARCHING
Fine Arts Slide Librarian
Ask the Experts
START WITH ARTSTOR’S OWN SEARCHING TIPS
Tips for Keyword and Advances Searches: Using Wildcards
•underscore (_) The underscore (_) can represent any one character. m_net will
retrieve "monet", "manet", etc.
•asterisk (*) The asterisk (*) can represent zero, one, or several characters. ren* will
retrieve "rene", "reni", "renoir", "rendering", "renaissance", etc.
•dollar sign ($) The dollar sign ($) will expand the search to include terms that stem
from a given root. $poison will retrieve "poison", "poisoned", "poisoning",
"poisonous", "poisoner", etc.
•Capitalization There is no need to capitalize words in ARTstor, even in titles or artists'
names. When searching for Thomas Eakins, simply enter: thomas eakins
•Articles You do not need to use articles (a, the, le, la, etc.) before titles or other terms.
When searching for "The Judgment of Paris", you may simply enter: judgment of paris
•Exact phrase To search for an exact phrase, put the phrase in quotes ("..."). When
searching for the painting "Le Moulin de la Galette" by Renoir, enter: "le moulin de la
•Punctuation When searching for phrases or words that include punctuation such as
"self-portrait", you can either use the punctuation or leave it out. The following
searches will both yield the same results: self-portrait or self portrait
•Word order Unless your search phrase is enclosed with quotation marks ("..."), the
order of terms will not affect the search. The following searches will both yield the
same results: albrecht durer or durer albrecht
When to use quotation marks “”.
New Old South Church (all common words) -
97, many false hits
“New Old South Church” – 4, all true hits
_, $, or *. Practice till you know which one does what
Problem: Borobodur, (Borobudur, Boro Boedoer, Boro Budor, Boro Bodor)
TGN= Borobudur (deserted settlement) 7003697. Also Wikipedia. No other
variants given .
Will your user know to look for other forms?
Boro$= 61 results Boro$ Java =54 (all Echols collection, Cornell)
Boro*= 1,000+ Borob*=751 (most are relevent, but also Borobridge,
Borob_d_r = 45. all Relevant except for a few Gauguins
Borob_d_r – Advanced Search – Title Only
eliminates the Gaugins
(Still have to navigate 20 pages of returns.
But if you only want the Muktesvara temple,
just do that
Always use the most specific term possible.
Muktesvara = 76 records, all relevant
Muktesvara Temple, Bhuvanesvara | Bhubanesvara
Bhuvanesvara is in ARTstor under many variants.
bhu* returns too much.
bhu_an* is better, but also includes Bhutan.
Advanced search: Bhu_an* AND NOT Bhutan still has a few false hits.
Advanced search Bhu_an* AND NOT Bhutan* return all and only
Bhuvanesvara and its variants.
Then sort by title,
and you have a reasonably organized
578 images of the site.
Be wary of plurals and punctuation.
search Mohenjo seal for singles,
Mohenjo seals for group shots.
OR Mohenjo* seal* to get all variants
Tips for collection searches
While you may browse individual collections, you may also search for
particular collections by using certain search terms.
Collection name Search terms Collection status
Josef and Anni Albers Foundation albersfoundation completed
American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA) Collection (University of Michigan)
American Institute of Indian Studies indiastudies in progress
Andrew Dickson White Collection of Architectural Photographs (Cornell University Library)
dickson white cornell completed
Wayne Andrews: Architecture (Esto) andrews esto completed Architecture of Venice (Sarah
Quill) "sarah quill" in
Art, Archaeology, and Architecture (Canyonlights World Art Image Bank)
canyonlights in progress
Another examples of problematic spelling, abbreviations, and attribution
St. Michael’s Church, Charleston, SC.
problems of st./saint and ‘s,
real problem is with attribution. In my collection as Peter Harrison. All slides in ARTstor
either have Samuel Cardy, or no architect.
Creator: Architect unknown Creator: Cardy, Samuel, Irish; American, builder
Title: St. Michael's Church Title: Saint Michael's Church (SAHARA)
least subjective approaches = Charleston Michael church = 61
Learn to Expect Variation
Anonymous Sienese | Tressa Master | Traini, Buffamalco, Master of
the Triumph of Death*
Madonna with the Big Eyes | Occhi Grossi, other title variants
Pisa. Camposanto | Campo Santo di Pisa.
Tressa = 1 IMAGE
Creator: Maestro di Tressa (Master of the Braid)
Title: Madonna dagli Occhi Grossi (Madonna with the Big Eyes)
Work Type: painting
Repository:Museo dell'Opera del Duomo (Siena, Italy)
ARTstor Collection:Italian and other European Art (Scala Archives)
Occhi Grossi = 3 IMAGE (Because 2 don’t include Tressa
Master as creator)
* When attribution is a problem, find
Learn to expect Exclusion of information Cambridge, MA. Craigie House
Two views of the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow
House, home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
in Cambridge. (Schlesinger History of Women in
John Vassall (Longfellow) House
Longfellow National Historic Site
View Description: exterior
John Vassall House
Records from Sahara do not mention Craigie or Vassall.
Don’t be too literal
James Brice House – no returns
Brice House – return
Medford Royall House – 1 b/w
Medford House – shows that most images use
Royal, not Royall. 8 images
Take the “Path of Least Resistance”
M*C*PH*DRIS will do the job if you think out
all the places you might need a wildcard
Portsmouth Warner is just as effective
Judicious use of NOT to eliminate a large group of
Sukhothai brings up 115 images, including many
news photos by Abbas
Sukhothai NOT abbas
eliminates the false hits (76 images
But a typo while searching shows that some images
are actually under Sukothai (20).
Suk*thai NOT abbas returns full set of 96 images
Learn to “think outside the box”
“Kakcho Tomb. Wrestling Scene. Koguryo Dynasty. Three
Kingdoms Period. Wall Painting”
Kakcho = 0
Korea Tomb = 0
Korea painting – more than 1000
Three Kingdoms = 145 hits. (on page5 of 7)
Korea Wrestling = 2, including right image
Use One or two words, and make them the most distinctive words.
For “South Berwick Hamilton House “
search “Berwick Hamilton”
Learn to spot the crucial word to search.
“San Antonio. Mission Muestra Senora de la Purissima Concepcion de Acuna”
“Acuna” gives many false hits
Search “Acuna Antonio“ or “Acuna San” or
AVOID LIKELY PROBLEMS: ARCHITECTURAL ATTRIBUTION, VARIANT SPELLINGS, ETC.
Richard Taliafer(r)o. Westover.
The variant spelling can be solved with a wildcard: taliafer*o (All in ARTstor are
But- Search on Westover shows many hits for which no creator is
Westover + sahara shows an
View Description: exterior
Work Type: Plantation
Date: Creation date: ca. 1730-ca.
Location: Charles City, Virginia,
Cleanest Search is “Westover” in A.S. Title only
Go with most distinctive term, least subjective term
“Brandon” Plantation House near Burrowsville Virginia, Prince
George County” aka. Brandon on the James
Go with Brandon Virginia
Remember the classic problems with Classical Art
Knidian Aphrodite in Munich
Knidian or Cnidian
Aphrodite or Venus
Knidian or “Of Knidos”
Knidos or Cnidus
“Praxiteles Aphrodite” seems to give best results,
but nothing says “Munich”
Avoid use of NY or NYC or New York if possible. Just too many hits.
Watch for alternate terms, i.e. House vs. Mansion
NYC, Morris (Jumel) House. 1765.
Nothing under Morris house, (Manson, not house)
“Residence of Roger Morris (Jumel Mansion)”
Jumel locates image
(Madame Jumel (morris) mansion Residence of Roger Morris (Jumel
When dating is concrete, use it
How to be sure you are getting all the images that are acutally in ARTstor
Battle of Issus.
Battle between Alexander and Darius
Greek or Roman?
Pompeii or Naples?
Be sure people understand the collation icon and know to look for it. Easy to pass over the
single image of the full mosaic that shows up.
KEEP TRYING COMBINATIONS
Our label: gravestone of Holmes sons, Glastonbury, Ct., 1795
“Holmes Sons” does not return it.
“Holmes” alone is 20 pages of returns. )
“Holmes Grave” & “ Holmes Gravestone” – no color image returned.
“Holmes 1795” produces one color;
“Holmes Glastonbury” produces two color images and several b/w’s
Don’t ignore the Value of info on bottom label:
“Anonymous Man’s bust. Early 19th c.
wood, originally painted. Newport News, Maritime Museum”
(No mention of Commodore Perry)
In ARTstor as
“Ship Figurehead” (no mention of bust).
Commodore Perry. Newport News, Mariner’s Museum.
Only words that overlap are “Newport News”
But how likely is a user to know the location of an object?
Don’t just keep plugging more words into ARTstor.
Sometimes better to go to the web first.
Find out what other variations, attributions, alternate language titles might be.
Locate sites or archives that specialize in what you are looking for
Use both Google and Bing image searches to find usable images and/or look for
The value of Google for solving problems can’t be
For the Redon, it’s about the only way to confirm that “Face in
Window” and “Lamplight/Lumiere” are truly the same work, as
just visual comparison can be misleading.
So when we’re instructing our faculty, students, and other users,
it’s going to be important to show them several strategies, and
how they can work together. If we don’t they are just going to get
frustrated, give up, and ask us to scan something that is already
There is a big difference between searching ARTstor for something you
already know, and may even have in your hand and searching ARTstor
for “something representative”
There is also a big difference between searching for images for use and
searching for massive numbers of slides to “see if they are in ARTstor”
For the latter, you, and your assistants, need to be quick, precise,
inventive, and persistent.