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History of the San Fernando Valley History Digital Library


The San Fernando Valley History Digital Library is the first effort to assemble, digitize and make globally available historically significant documents, manuscripts, photographs and related graphic materials from public and private collections in the San Fernando Valley. It provides full, open and equal access to materials demonstrating the socio-economic changes and cultural evolution of the San Fernando Valley from the early 19th century through the end of the 20th century.

The San Fernando Valley History Digital Library project creates a new and important link between the Library's traditional service community, our client groups, and the University's extensive holdings of non-circulating primary source materials. This Internet project will also expand the Library's user group globally, reaching all scholars researching the history of greater Los Angeles through the network. The digital library database will bring together, for the first time, significant historical photographs, illustrations, maps, manuscripts, documents and related graphic materials from a variety of collections located on the CSUN campus, including the Center for Photojournalism and Visual History, the Geography Department Map Library, and the University Library's Special Collections, which includes the Urban Archives Center and the University Archives. Added to these items will be a number of selected images from fourteen local historical societies in the San Fernando Valley. The web pages of the historical societies will be linked to the project.

The Digital Library was conceived in Spring 2000 after meeting with the newly formed San Fernando Valley Heritage Network. A project committee was formed consisting of Dean Susan Curzon, Tony Gardner, Curator of Special Collections and Archives, Robert Marshall, Head Archivist, and Cindy Ventuleth, Director of Development for the Library to submit a grant proposal to the State Library for funding through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant Program. Grant funding provided for equipment, database development and staffing for one year. The Library and Network are seeking new funding to continue the project.

Creating the Digital Library

The University Library began developing the San Fernando Valley History Digital Library project concept in 1999. The University Library is currently a partner in digital projects documenting the history and cultural recovery of Los Angeles. These projects include Faces of Los Angeles (Getty Information Institute), and Cultural Inheritance LA (Getty Research Institute and L.A. as Subject Advisory Forum).

Over a period of one year from October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2001, project staff borrowed, scanned, and cataloged objects borrowed from members of the Heritage Network and from collections in the University Library's Special Collections, Urban Archives Center, and University Archives and the Geography Department's Map Library.

The Project Archivist, working closely with Network members and the Project Manager selected objects for scanning. The Project Technician created a high-resolution digital master image. This image is the source for the two low-resolution images on the Digital History website, a small thumbnail used for previewing and a larger viewing image. Metadata Specialists cataloged the objects and uploaded the image and data to the CONTENTdm image database The database was developed at the University of Washington. The digital records conform to the California State Library Scanning Standards and the California Digital Library Digital Image Collection Standards.

Today the University Library's archival holdings represent the largest and most complete assembly of information on the San Fernando Valley.