In June 2004, Artstor initiated a year-long pilot of its proposed institutional hosting service. This service will enable local institutional collections to be hosted by Artstor and served back to the participating institution alongside Artstor’s Charter Collection, and using Artstor’s software environment and tools. Ten colleges and universities have been working with Artstor to assess the usefulness of this service to institutions, as well as to evaluate the financial and organizational impact of hosting at each institution.

The Artstor user community has expressed a great deal of interest and enthusiasm about the hosting service for several reasons: (1) hosting will allow institutions to supplement the images in Artstor’s Charter Collection with additional images that meet the specific needs of an institution and its professors; (2) all hosted images will be retrieved via Artstor’ tools and software, which means that local collections can utilize the searching, browsing, and zooming capabilities of the Artstor software; (3) for many institutions, hosting will also provide organizational benefits, since Artstor’s underlying database can function as a useful tool for the campus-wide management of images and data.

The ten institutions involved in the pilot, which include universities and colleges, were chosen for their diversity in the type of institutional collections, the size of those collections, and the media on which those institutional collections are stored. While some institutions elected to host art-related collections, many have contributed collections that represent a wide range of departments and disciplines, including biology, astronomy, maps of Africa, and Cuban Heritage objects.

Over the course of assessing the pilot, we are gathering data from institutions about current practices in image collection-building and management, and asking participants about the pedagogical impact of having local collections made more widely accessible alongside the Artstor collections. Artstor is working with the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE) and seven NITLE-member colleges on the formal assessment of the hosting pilot. NITLE has provided these colleges with funds to access Artstor for the length of the pilot, and Artstor is working with these schools to assess the financial and organizational impact of institutional collection hosting in an educational environment.

The hosting pilot project is scheduled to run through the summer. Once the results are complied and reviewed we will be announcing the next steps.

The institutions currently participating in the pilot are:

  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Denison University
  • DePauw University
  • Emory University
  • Grinnell College
  • Sewanee: The University of the South
  • Stanford University
  • University of Miami
  • Washington and Lee University
  • Williams College