The Online Archive of California (OAC) and Calisphere are two free statewide services designed to help California institutions expand online access to their collections. OAC and Calisphere are both services of the University of California Libraries, developed and maintained by the California Digital Library. We align our service commitments with the core values and principles promoted by the Society of American Archivists. We seek to partner with organizations that also embrace those core values and principles.

If your library, archive, museum, historical society, or other cultural heritage organization is located in California, you can contribute to the OAC and Calisphere. Both services are optimized for unique materials like records, manuscripts, artifacts, data sets, and other primary sources. Items can be on any subject and from any era. And, contributing is free!

Technical skills are not required to work with us. Whether you’ve got a staff of a hundred or just one, whether you’ve got a full-blown digital program or you’ve never used a scanner… we can help! Our goal is to make it easy for institutions of all sizes and with varying technical infrastructure to contribute.


Our services are available at no cost to California-based organizations that steward primary source collections, and would like to promote broad public discovery and responsible access to those materials. For more information on our commitment to providing responsible access to resources, see About the Collections in Calisphere.

Contributor Responsibilities

The California Digital Library (CDL) is committed to broad public access, maintaining continuous service, and acknowledging information that helps us better understand and interpret collections. As a contributing partner, you agree to the following terms of participation:

  • Comply with our terms of service agreement.
  • Respond to public inquiries pertaining to access and use of the collections.
  • Respond to public and/or CDL inquiries regarding removal, remediation, and other requests due to legal or ethical considerations (e.g. content not suited for broad access; updating metadata and/or content; etc.).
  • Maintain a current key contact on file with the CDL; notify the CDL if a new staff member or volunteer will be assuming the role as the key contact.
  • Notify CDL of changes to your digital collections platform, particularly changes that may generate new item record URLs in your platform. Where possible, maintain durable URLs for your digital collections and/or finding aids, to support long-term and continuous access.
    • Digital collections in Calisphere: Please consider maintaining stable URLs for items managed in your digital collections platforms. We recommend the use of persistent URLs (e.g., DOI, ARK, PID) or at minimum, supporting URL redirects (e.g., in cases where a domain name or URL scheme is changed, when transitioning from http to https, etc.).
    • Finding aids in OAC: Finding aids are assigned unique identifiers based on ARKs; for finding aid updates, please follow our replacement guidelines to maintain a persistent URL.
  • Securely maintain all accounts, and not provide logins and passwords to any third party. If an account holder's password has been compromised for any reason, it should be changed immediately.

This policy was last updated November 2021 and is subject to periodic revision. Any material changes to our policies will be communicated and shared with OAC/Calisphere contributors.