Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The California Ephemera Project and the Online Archive of California

The California Ephemera project (CEP) currently brings together the ephemera of four institutions:, all located in San Francisco: the California Historical Society; the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society; the San Francisco Public Library; and the Society of California Pioneers.   The date span is 1850 onwards and many genres of ephemera are included, notably advertisements, announcements, brochures, catalogs, menus, pamphlets, billheads, theater programs, clippings, bylaws, flyers, tickets, and travel guides.

The CEP links very seamlessly  (through 'browse all collections' or "search OAC") into the Online Archive of California, which provides: "free public access to detailed descriptions of primary source collections (artwork, manuscripts, papers, historic photographs, and so on) maintained by more than 200 libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California — including collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses".  A search of OAC for ephemera returns an impressive 2954 collections (from the output of fine presses to Walt Disney) and 847 items.

While many Online Archive of California searches bring up finding aids to the collections, others reveal multimedia approaches, such as the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, presented by the Bancroft Library, which has an online exhibit, interactive map and 360 degree panorama.

Collections can be searched or browsed. Browsing is by collection or institution, and a little eye symbol indicates digital image content.

A box titled 'Need to find a digital image' takes the user to Calisphere (which is not devoted to ephemera) where you can search by topic or genre, e.g. Advertising (screen shot). There are also themed selections for Educators.

Copyright © 2011 The Regents of The University of California

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