Digitization and Preservation Assistance

Do you have collections related to local/regional/state history that you'd like to digitize and share online? 
For example:
Audiovisual recordings?
Photograph Albums?

Does your institution already have a digitization program and need help with a digital preservation plan?

California Revealed is a State Library-supported program that helps California’s heritage institutions digitize and provide long-term online access and preservation to collections that are significant to California history (e.g., books, documents, newspapers, and audiovisual recordings). We also provide access and preservation services for existing digital collections. A full list of our services is available here: https://californiarevealed.org/about

Major features of California Revealed include:

  • Partners nominate materials to be digitized (or existing digital collections to be ingested) and added to the online California Revealed collection 

  • Partners contribute discovery metadata for each nomination 

  • With LSTA funding, the State Library supports digitization (using selected vendors nationwide), online hosting for public access, and digital preservation 

  • Each partner has their own collection page at the California Revealed website that displays materials digitized by California Revealed 

  • California Revealed records are also accessible through the Internet Archive, the Digital Public Library of America, Calisphere, WorldCat, and the Home Movie Registry 

  • Partners receive copies of digitized materials 

  • Partners are responsible for fulfilling user/patron requests for high-resolution files 

  • Partners are eligible to apply for an outreach assistance award in order to foster community discovery and engagement with their digital collections 

An additional goal of California Revealed is to foster greater collaboration among cultural heritage organizations.

Collaborations between public libraries and other local libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies to collectively reveal their local heritage are encouraged. Regional partnerships between organizations can take many forms. Past collaborations have included helping one another with the nominations process, sharing shipment costs, working on shared outreach projects, and helping to serve as secondary digital preservation storage sites for files.

The 2022/2023 Application for Digitization and Preservation Assistance is now closed. Next 

There are two requirements to be considered for California Revealed Digitization and Preservation program:

  • Complete the Digitization and Preservation Application form
  • Attach your finished Nominations Spreadsheet to the Application form or email it to team@californiarevealed.org

Applicants also have the option to submit individual nominations using the California Revealed Repository. If you prefer this method, please contact us to set up an account, and please review initial instructions for accessing the Repository

We accept nominations for physical and digital materials, and there is no nomination limit. A record can represent a single object (e.g., an individual photograph, a video recording, a digital file) or a record can represent multiple parts or pages (e.g., a folder of images described at the folder level and pertaining to one subject, an oral history consisting of several tapes, a book of many pages). Please nominate newspapers and other serial publications as a single title or run. 

California Revealed prefers to digitize on a collection- or series-level, and mixed collections are welcome. Please nominate all items in that collection or series for consideration, as we would like to keep collections together. 

If demand exceeds available funds, partial awards may be given, and remaining nominations may be reconsidered for the next grant cycle. We try our best to award all that we can with ongoing State Library support.

Partners are required to follow our Metadata Guidelines. Please use them for reference as you create your records. Standardized, descriptive, metadata promotes wider discovery of your materials and helps create connections between collections. Records that do not conform to program standards will need to be corrected before they can be ingested into California Revealed's repository.

Please consult our Permissions Guidelines.

California Revealed Minimum Metadata

  • Main Title - A name or label given to the resource.
  • Call Number or Temporary Identifier - Unique identifier.
  • Created Date - Date of creation of the resource. Enter YYYY-MM-DD, YYYY-MM, or YYYY. If unknown, enter "Unknown". If you are nominating a folder of items, please enter date range, e.g. 1941/1944.
  • Creator - An entity primarily responsible for creating the resource. The creator may be considered an author and could be one or more people, a business, organization, group, project or service. Enter following the format, Last name, First name. If name is unknown, enter "Unknown."
  • Significance - Please explain why this nomination is significant to California and/or local history. This is the major criterion for inclusion in the California Revealed collection. Please justify why the object should be preserved and made accessible for future generations. This field will not display online; it is for nomination purposes only.
  • Description - General notes or summary about the intellectual content of a resource. Please copy over any content description from the "Significance" field, and provide as much detail and context as possible to enhance discoverability. 
  • Copyright Statement - Information about rights held in and over the resource. See Permissions Guidelines for details. Three boilerplate statements are supplied; choose one and amend the statement as needed:
    • Public domain. 
      • Full statement: "Public Domain. No restrictions on use."
    • Copyrighted. Rights to the work are owned by the partner or copyright holder has given partner permission. 
      • Full statement: "Copyrighted. Rights are owned by [insert name of Library/Archive or Copyright Holder]. Copyright Holder has given Institution permission to provide access to the digitized work online. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the Copyright Holder. In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user."
    • Copyright status unknown. The work may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.), but its status is unknown. 
      • Full statement: "Copyright status unknown. This work may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, its reproduction may be restricted by terms of gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. This work is accessible for purposes of education and research. Transmission or reproduction of works protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. [insert name of Library/Archive] attempted to find rights owners without success but is eager to hear from them so that we may obtain permission, if needed. Upon request to [insert email address at Library/Archive], digitized works can be removed from public view if there are rights issues that need to be resolved." 
  • Media Type - For example, still image, text, newspaper, moving image, or audio.
  • Condition - If the material is deteriorated, damaged, or requires special handling, please comment accordingly. This field will not display online; it is mostly for nomination purposes initially, and can be helpful information for the digitization vendor.
  • Format - For example, book, photograph, text document (unbound), map, drawing. If a moving image recording or audio recording, then format specific type and gauge, e.g., 1 /8 inch audio cassette, Film: 16mm. See drop-down options.
  • Number of parts - For example, total number of pages (bound or unbound resources), images, cassette tapes, film reels, LP records, e.g. 3 Pages of 3, or 3 Tapes of 3. If you are nominating a folder of items, please let us know the number of items or pages in the folder. If you are nominating a scrapbook, please let us know the number of pages, and how many inserts there are per page. It can be approximate; this information is used to estimate costs for digitization.
  • Dimensions or Duration - Physical dimensions (width and height in inches) for texts and still images, e.g., 12 x 18 in.; total running time for audiovisual recordings, e.g., 00:40:00. It can be approximate. This information is used to estimate costs for digitization. If you are nominating a folder of items, please let us know the maximum dimensions of the biggest item in the folder. Please note that the maximum dimensions of oversize print materials, e.g., books, photographs, newspapers, that can be accommodated without digital stitching are 37 inches in the long dimension and 28 inches in the short dimension.

California Revealed Additional Metadata

In order to maximize the discoverability of your collection, we strongly encourage you to add more than just the required fields, with an emphasis on the following:

  • Item Annotations - Any relevant information as it is recorded on container, label(s), and/or the item itself. Record all text verbatim.
  • Subject Topics and Entities - Topic headings, keywords and/or personal names that portray the intellectual content of the resource.
  • Spatial and Temporal Coverage - The geographic location and/or the time period covered by the resource's intellectual content.
  • Genre - Categorical description informed by the topical nature or a particular style or form of the content.

Awards will be made based on the following criteria:

  • statewide and/or local historical significance that contributes to an understanding of the history of California and its people
  • availability of description for the nominations
  • intellectual property rights in the public domain, held by the owning institution, or secured from the rights holder, when possible
  • evidence of collaboration among community heritage organizations
  • technical limitations of equipment to digitize original sources
  • cost of digitization relative to available project funding

Preference is given to new partners, as well as to collections that reflect communities who traditionally have been underrepresented in the historical narrative of California.  

Pending budget approval, 2022/2023 project awards will be made in late Fall 2022 for an implementation cycle beginning in December 2022 and ending in June 2023. If an award is offered, participation will require the commitment of your participating institution and its director's signature on the California Revealed Digitization and Preservation Agreement.


Contact the California Revealed Team:
(916) 603-6719/team@californiarevealed.org