Skip to main content

Updates to Calisphere

What is Calisphere



Calisphere is your gateway to California’s remarkable digital collections. It provides free access to unique and historically important artifacts for research, teaching, and curious exploration. It is a site where you can discover over two million photographs, documents, letters, artwork, diaries, oral histories, films, advertisements, musical recordings, and more.

The collections in Calisphere have been digitized and contributed by all ten campuses of the University of California and other important libraries, archives, and museums throughout the state.

What’s changed?

We have rebuilt Calisphere’s underlying system that “harvests” collections shared by contributors. The system collects metadata (such as titles, dates, and descriptions) for items in the collections, as well as the content (such as images, videos, and audio files), from our partners. It transforms them so they are searchable, browseable, and viewable on Calisphere. The system also helps our staff to monitor and assess collections coming in from partners, allows our partners to preview those collections in Calisphere before they go live, and helps us automate the process. 

What’s the impact?

The biggest impact will be to the sustainability and maintainability of Calisphere. As a service that has existed since 2006, Calisphere has gone through many changes to how contributors’ collections are gathered, stored, and presented. The changes we have made modernize the applications and services that interact with our partner’s systems and the Calisphere application, allowing us to move our partner’s collections through our harvesting processes faster and more efficiently. It will also make it easier to bring on new partners and new collections quickly and with less staff effort. Additionally, because the new system is built to be easier to maintain, it should free up our staff to work on more new features to make Calisphere better for all users.