Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fantastic Finds: Online Archive of California and Calisphere

During an online search to discover what gems of local history might be lurking in the special collections of San Diego State University's (SDSU's) library, I happened on this site. Here's what they have to say for themselves:
"The Online Archive of California (OAC) provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses."

Because I'm a visual person, the question near the bottom of OAC's home page caught my eye: "Need to Find a Digital Image?" And that directed my attention to Calisphere.

[Home page of Calisphere]

The California Digital Library explains the relationship between the two sites:
"The content in Calisphere is drawn from the digital content in the Online Archive of California (OAC). These two websites exist because they serve two very different user needs. For research-oriented users who want to go beyond what is available online and locate the actual, physical item, the OAC is the best starting point. For users whose primary interest is to view digitized images and documents, Calisphere is a place to explore online content. In addition, Calisphere provides K-12 educators with a subset of content organized and aligned with California Content Standards."
By the way, according to the OAC, SDSU's library holds 373 special collections including 19th century San Diego newspapers, historical student body and alumni association records, Old Globe Theater photographs, and many different collections of family papers. Sadly, none of them are available online. Here is how to contact the department and a video from 2010 explaining basic rules for a visit.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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