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Copyright and Image Use in the Artstor Digital Library: Artstor Digital Library collections

This LibGuide outlines the safe ways to use images from the Artstor Digital Library according to their Terms and Conditions of Use, how to identify the sources of images you are working with, and how to find and use images for publications.

Examples of permitted and prohibited uses

Katsushika Hokusai, Ejiri in Suruga Province, from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, 1830/1831.  The Portland Art MuseumExamples of permitted uses:

  • Slides for lectures
  • Student assignments
  • Research
  • Printing on handouts or posters for use in the classroom
  • Placing links in learning management software for use by your institution
  • Conference presentations or exhibitions

Examples that are NOT considered permitted uses:

  • Public display on the walls of your institution
  • Presentation on the open web (LibGuides, Pinterest, etc.)
  • Sharing images with alumni
  • Publishing in print or electronic formats for purchase or created for a commercial purpose
  • Promotional materials for the library or non-Artstor projects
  • Alumni promotional materials
  • Using images on items for sale (T-shirts, mugs, etc.)

Limiting searches to Artstor images

If you want to ensure you are protected by Artstor's indemnification clause, you can limit the images you view and use to just Artstor Digital Library content. There are two ways to do this: 
You can conduct a keyword search, then filter for Artstor Digital Library collections in the Filtered Search panel on the left. In this example, we have searched for the term "peony" and used the filter panel to limit our results to only Artstor images.


You can also limit advanced searches to Artstor Digital Library images by checking "Artstor Digital Library" under the Collection Type heading in the Advanced Search window:

Artstor's Teaching Resources

Abbie Trayler-Smith, A Tuareg herdsman fights his way through sandstorms at Lake Banzena, 2009. cAbbie Trayler-Smith/Panos Picturespanospictures; Artstor makes available a number of resources for faculty in the Digital Library, including:

Curriculum Guides: groups of images for specialized seminar courses selected by scholars and broken into thematic chapters. Subjects are interdisciplinary, ranging from Philosophy to Latin American Studies. Read more below.

Surveys: image groups centered on periodic and thematic surveys of art history. Each group includes the iconic monuments of the period based on an analysis of the images in the standard art history texts, thereby providing a basic teaching tool. Twenty additional groups are built around the curricula of Social Studies and Humanities, including subjects like Anthropology, The History of Medicine and Natural Science, and Women’s Studies. See box at right for some examples

Case Studies: an eclectic, interdisciplinary mix of image groups ranging from Art Therapy to Climate Control in the Middle East prepared by scholars in the field. See box at right for more details.

Ideas, Training, and Help

Tools for Teaching

Check the schedule below and sign up for Artstor's webinars "Teaching Resources: The Artstor Digital Library for Instructors" and "Making the Most of Your Presentations: Artstor Digital Library Resources for Teaching and Presenting" to learn more about features of Artstor's platform that are useful in teaching.

The Artstor Blog

Learn how other educators are using Artstor:

Mailing List

Sign up for Artstor newsletters and stay up to date on platform developments, technical issues, and how community members are using Artstor. To subscribe, go to:

Identifying Artstor Digital Library Content

When you view a page of search results in Artstor, you may see several icons under each thumbnail. Images from the Artstor Digital Library Content are identified in search results and on the image detail page by an "Artstor" icon: 

Images with this icon are covered by Artstor Digital Library's indemnification clause when used for educational purposes as described in our Terms and Conditions of Use. *

Artstor Digital Library Terms and Conditions of Use

* To be covered by Artstor's indemnification clause, when you work with images from the Artstor Digital Library's Content you must ensure that you follow the Terms and Conditions of Use, including:
1) Your use of images is non-commercial, scholarly, and educational.
2) Access  to the images is limited to the following categories of individuals:
  • Individuals officially affiliated with an Artstor Digital Library-participating institution:
    • currently enrolled students (including distance education students)
    • researchers and lecturers affiliated and/or visiting under the terms of an agreement with the institution
    • full and part-time staff, including volunteer staff
    • on-site users physically present and authorized to be in the institution
    • for public libraries and museums, off-site users accessing the content through a sessions-based arrangement as agreed with Artstor
    • individuals designated by the institution to access Shared Shelf Content
    • users of Shared Shelf Commons content
3) Images can’t be posted on the open web.
The full Artstor Digital Library Terms and Conditions can be found here: 


Artstor's Surveys cover many topics, including periods, cultures, and themes in art and social studies and the humanities. These image groups provide 100 suggested images for each area of focus, and are a great place to get started looking for images. Some examples include:

Go to Teaching Resources > Surveys to see more.

Case Studies

These useful and inspirational case studies showcase how educators are using Artstor Digital Library images in research and teaching.

Go to Teaching Resources > Case Studies to see more.


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