The Online Archive of California (OAC) is the CDL's service for aggregating descriptions of collections at libraries, archives, and museums in California. Help your users find and explore your collections before they even set foot in your repository.

Contributing finding aids

We support collection guides in several different formats: EAD, MARC21, and PDF. You can use our "self-serve" process for contributing collection guides to the OAC. Your OAC account gives you the keys to be able to upload and publish collection guides.

Basic requirements

Collections don't have to be fully processed or described. If your existing finding aids are serviceable, and your staff and your users currently utilize them to interpret and locate items within your holdings -- then they're absolutely suitable for publication in OAC. We can consult with you on strategies for creating and publishing those finding aids in EAD, MARC21, or PDF format. We have some basic requirements and recommendations for finding aids -- namely, that the files are valid, and contain a handful of standardized descriptive elements. (For more information, see our recommendations for EAD files and MARC21 files.

If you don't have any software or platform for creating EAD or MARC21 records, don't worry -- we have some free tools that you can use to get started with publishing in OAC.

Not sure where or how to get started? Check out our handy guide to bootstrap publication of your finding aids in OAC.

We're here to help

We are standing by every first Wednesday at 1:00pm to chat with anyone who wants to get to know us. We’ll provide overviews of Calisphere and OAC, share resources available to contributors, and info on how to get started. This overview session welcomes prospective contributing organizations interested in participating in OAC and Calisphere. New staff, interns, volunteers, and student assistants from current partner organizations are also welcome to attend. Learn more about our upcoming overview sessions.

Feel free to also contact us directly if you have any questions.