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In Memoriam: Mark Redar

It is with deep sadness that the California Digital Library shares news of the passing of Mark Redar, Programmer Analyst on the Digital Special Collections team.

Since coming to CDL in July 2008, Mark developed and maintained tools used by hundreds of libraries, archives, and museums throughout the state and dramatically increased access to California’s most unique and treasured artifacts.

Mark was the main developer behind a number of applications that make it easier for organizations to contribute to the Online Archive of California (OAC) and Calisphere. For example, he developed the code for RecordEXPRESS, an innovative application that numerous OAC contributors–especially those with small staffs and few resources–have used and, indeed, rely on to make their collections known to researchers. He took the lead on deploying and hosting ArchivesSpace, an archival collection management system, for use by the UC Libraries.

Mark also played a central role supporting and planning for the ongoing growth of content on the OAC and Calisphere sites. For several years, he managed processes for publishing thousands of digitized historical resources owned by public libraries, through a project that expressly targeted local and “untold” histories from California. More recently, drawing on his specialized interest and expertise in technologies such as Django and Ansible, Mark took the lead on researching, designing, and implementing a new system and workflows for bringing in new collections to Calisphere. The framework he developed has resulted in a dramatic increase in the breadth and depth of collections available to UC researchers and the public, with almost a million items now available — four times the amount available just over two years ago.

This year, Mark was embarking on research and development work to incorporate Apache Spark, a cutting-edge data processing engine, into Calisphere to further scale and streamline the system — as well to as enable researchers to perform data analysis on collection metadata. His work made a real difference in many people’s lives, and he rightly took pride in it.
But Mark is, arguably, best remembered for the personality he brought to work and, indeed, to every part of his life. His infectious laugh, boundless energy, and adventurous spirit were known by everyone at CDL and throughout the UC Libraries.

Mark will be deeply missed. Our sincerest condolences go out to Mark’s family.

If you have thoughts or memories of Mark you would like to share, feel free to add a comment to this page or contribute to the family’s memorial website.