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Calisphere and the Online Archive of California (OAC) are gateways to unique collections held by libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions throughout California.

“They Were Really Us”: The UCSF Community’s Early Response to AIDS

A New Exhibition on Calisphere

When HIV/AIDS first seized the nation’s attention in the early 1980s, it was a disease with no name, known cause, treatment, or cure. Beginning as a medical mystery, it turned into one of the most divisive social and political issues of the 20th century. The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) was at the forefront of medical institutions trying to understand the disease and effectively treat early AIDS patients.

Drawing on materials from the AIDS History Project collections preserved in UCSF’s Archives and Special Collections, the UCSF Library presents “They Were Really Us”: The UCSF Community’s Early Response to AIDS, a new digital exhibition on Calisphere that highlights the ways UCSF clinicians and staff addressed HIV/AIDS from its outbreak in the 1980s to the foundation of the AIDS Research Institute in 1996.

From medical professionals defining the disease and developing a model of care, to activists calling for treatments and public education, this exhibition amplifies the resilience of a community not only responding to its local needs, but also breaking ground on a larger scale with efforts that continue to impact HIV/AIDS care and research today.

The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt panels displayed at San Francisco City Hall during San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day Parade, UCSF Library, Archives and Special Collections.

This exhibition, including the digitization of materials used in this exhibition, has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (PW-253755-17) “The San Francisco Bay Area’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic: Digitizing, Reuniting, and Providing Universal Access to Historical AIDS Records,” awarded to the UCSF Library in 2017-2020.

About UCSF Archives and Special Collections
UCSF Archives and Special Collections identifies, collects, preserves, and maintains rare and unique materials to support research and teaching of the health sciences and medical humanities and to preserve UCSF institutional memory. The Archives serve as the official repository for the preservation of selected records, print and born-digital materials, and realia generated by or about the UCSF, including all four schools, the Graduate Division, and the UCSF Medical Center.

About Calisphere Exhibitions
Calisphere Exhibitions are curated sets of items with scholarly interpretation that contribute to historical understanding. Exhibitions tell a story by adding context to selected digital primary sources in Calisphere, thereby bringing the digital content to life. Calisphere Exhibitions are curated by contributing institutions and undergo editorial review. We are currently refining these processes, which are outlined in the Contributor Help Center. Please contact us if you’re interested in learning more about Calisphere Exhibitions.

Project Update: Building a National Finding Aid Network

Collaborative Research and Development Initiative Receives IMLS Funding Support

We are pleased to announce a $982,175 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS - National Leadership Grants for Libraries grant program) to conduct a two-year research and demonstration project designed to build the foundation for a national archival finding aid network. The "Building a National Finding Aid Network" project will be undertaken in collaboration with OCLC and the University of Virginia Library, and in close partnership with statewide/regional aggregators and LYRASIS (ArchivesSpace). 

This project springboards on earlier findings and a subsequent action plan developed through a 2018-2019 planning initiative (supported by IMLS under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act and administered in California by the State Librarian), which was highlighted in an OAC contributor webinar last December. The network promises to have a transformative and lasting impact on cultural heritage institutions and the researchers they serve by reducing barriers to discovery, expanding the historical record, and establishing a national mechanism for solving shared infrastructure challenges. 

The project goals and timeline are outlined in this announcement. Over the coming weeks, we will share additional information about "Building a National Finding Aid Network" through a publicly-accessible online project workspace.

Updates on the Calisphere "User Interface"

Streamlining the Header and Footer Navigation Links

We have recently rolled out a few display enhancements that streamline discovery of Calisphere’s informational pages. These are described below.

Header links are now consolidated in a single header bar navigation:

Calisphere’s updated ‘header’ features a streamlined set of links.

Consulting with CDL’s User Experience team revealed that users typically expect to find links to “Contact,” “Terms of Use,” and “Help” pages in the ‘footer’ section of a webpage. These links could already be found in Calisphere’s ‘footer,’ which meant they could be safely removed from the header.

Which leads to our second update: the resource links in Calisphere’s ‘footer’ are now neatly arranged to facilitate navigation across Calisphere’s informational resources:

Calisphere’s updated ‘footer’ presents the site pages in a new arrangement.

Please contact us if you have any questions about these updates.

New "Solution" Article on the Contributor Help Center

Metadata Analysis Reports on Digital Collections

Recently developed “metadata analysis” functionality can now be applied to any given collection published in Calisphere. The resulting reports indicate the extent and degree of unique metadata values in the collection, which can be used for quality control checking and data cleanup purposes.

A “Metadata Summary” page is available for each specific collection, and is presented as a table:

A snippet from a published digital collection’s “Metadata Summary” table.

A brief set of step-by-step instructions are available: Metadata Analysis Reports for Collections. If you’re interested in a live overview, please join us on Wednesday, August 26 at 11AM as we introduce how to use these Metadata Analysis Reports with digital collections on Calisphere. We’ll start by sharing how to access these metadata analysis reports, as well as tips to navigate and interpret these summary reports. Please see meeting details to register.


New OAC/Calisphere Contributors

We are thrilled to debut our newest contributing partners, sharing their collections through OAC and Calisphere:

Henry W. Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry
Founded in 1996 with a generous contribution from Henry Wilson Coil, Jr., the library and museum collections and archives cover centuries of Masonic history as well as more than 150 years of Freemasonry in California.
Explore their collection on Calisphere.

Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography Archive, Artcenter College of Design
The HMCT Archive serves as a repository for original and rare materials that document the history and teaching of typography, letterform, and graphic design.
Explore their collection on OAC.

Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Gledhill Library
The Gledhill Library holds the research collections at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Collections focus on the history of Santa Barbara County with additional materials on California history and history of the American West.
Explore their collections on Calisphere and OAC.

Shoshone Museum
The Shoshone Museum, located in downtown Shoshone, preserves the history of the Southern Amargosa Valley.
Explore their collection on Calisphere.

Sierra Madre Public Library
The Sierra Madre Public Library, begun in 1887, is the fourth oldest city library in Los Angeles County and the tenth oldest in Southern California.
Explore their collection on Calisphere and OAC.

The Arc/k Project
The Arc/k Project is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving, archiving, and restoring physical sites of cultural heritage that have been destroyed or are in danger of being lost.
Explore their collection on Calisphere.

Upcoming Programs


Orientation for New Staff and Contributors

Wednesday, August 19 at 1:00 PM

Please see meeting details to register.

Webinar: Metadata Analysis Reports on Digital Collections

Wednesday, August 26 at 11:00 AM

Please see meeting details to register.

Orientation for New Staff and Contributors

Wednesday, September 2 at 1:00 PM

Please see meeting details to register.
View the Calendar
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