Calisphere is based on a harvest model, where we pull in item records (metadata and associated thumbnails) from your digital collections platform. These harvested item records point users to the content published through your own digital collections platform. 

Setting up the harvesting process requires some initial setup at the beginning, so that we can establish a connection with your digital collections platform. Most contributors have found the harvest process to be quick and easy. Although it requires some set-up at the beginning, once the process is in place, we can easily grab new collections (and pick up changes and additions to existing collections). Learn more about becoming an OAC/Calisphere contributing partner.

In 2021, we started an active development project called Rikolti, to replace our current Calisphere harvesting infrastructure. Please note that through 2023 we will temporarily pause harvesting from any new platforms not already in use by current contributors. For more information about the temporary pause to harvesting activities, please see the Rikolti update and temporary pauses to Calisphere harvesting announcement.

1. Contact Us!

Once you are a contributing partner, the first step to contribute to Calisphere is to simply let us know you're interested in having your collection(s) harvested! Contact us if you're ready to start. 

We'll set up a time to talk about your digital content and systems, and to map out the best method for harvesting data.

2. Establishing a Connection to Your Digital Collections Platform

We’ll review the protocol or method supported by your digital collection system to share metadata, review test outputs, and work towards building a harvesting connection from Calisphere to the platform.

3. Defining Collections to Initially Share

Calisphere's harvest works on a collection-by-collection basis. By "collection," we mean a group of digital item records which are hosted in the same source, which can be harvested according to the same protocol, and which you’d like to appear together as a set within the Calisphere interface. Some institutions have a single collection, and some have many.

Please share information about the collections that you’d like to share and are within Calisphere’s scope of supported content, including the collection title and a description of the collection. Feel free to also include a link to any related finding aids or collection guides.

4. Verifying the Metadata

Once we've determined the collections you'd like us to harvest, we'll review the source metadata to confirm required metadata is present, and that it is mapped correctly to our metadata scheme.

Some key bits of metadata are required -- but if it's not already in your records, no problem! We can globally "inject" the metadata into every object in the collection at the time it is harvested. We'll just need to confer with you on what information should be added.

5. Harvest to Calisphere Stage Environment, QA, and Publication

Each time we run a harvest of your collections, we'll first put the records in a stage Calisphere environment where you can preview and perform quality assurance (QA) on them.

If everything looks OK in the stage environment, we'll ask for your approval to publish the records in Calisphere.

That's it! Your collections will immediately be available on Calisphere, and they'll appear on the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) soon thereafter (DPLA harvests from Calisphere twice a year).

Bonus Step: Add Custom Filters to your Published Digital Collection

Digital collections on Calisphere are published with two default filter options: Type of Item (e.g., image, text, audio, etc.) and Decade (e.g., 1910s, 1920s). Interested in adding custom filter selections to your collection? Learn more about Defining Custom Filters in Digital Collections...

Share Additional Collections or Request an Update

Updating or adding to collections? Have new collections to share? We understand that your digital collections evolve; items are added or deleted, and metadata changes. Our aim is to reflect changes to your collections as quickly as possible in Calisphere. Learn more about the process...

⚠ NOTE: Temporary pause in the Calisphere publication service during our transition to the new Calisphere harvesting system:

As mentioned in our recent progress update to develop the new Calisphere harvester, we are planning to transition all harvesting operations to the new harvesting system early this year. To prepare for this transition period, we’d like to share a few anticipated service updates:

  • Our current harvesting system will conduct a final publication run on Thursday, January 11. 
  • After January 11, we will briefly be unable to publish new or updated collections as we transition Calisphere to work with the new index. 
  • Once we fully transition, we anticipate the new system will support a more frequent and nimble publication schedule for new collections and updates.

In the meantime, please feel free to submit requests to harvest and re-harvest collections; we will queue up your requests to publish your collections to the new index. Our intent is to have the new harvesting system in place by early this year; we will be in touch with a specific date to officially launch the new harvesting system.