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About CDL

The CDL was founded by the University of California in 1997 to take advantage of emerging technologies that were transforming the way digital information was being published and accessed. Since then, in collaboration with the UC libraries and other partners, we assembled one of the world’s largest digital research libraries and changed the ways that faculty, students, and researchers discover and access information.

In partnership with the UC libraries, the CDL has continually broken new ground by developing systems linking our users to the vast print and online collections within UC and beyond. Building on the foundations of the Melvyl Catalog, we developed one of the largest online library catalogs in the country. We saved the University millions of dollars by facilitating the co-investment and sharing of materials and services used by libraries across the UC system. We work in partnership with campuses to bring the treasures of our libraries, museums, and cultural heritage organizations to the world. And we continue to explore how services such as digital curation, scholarly publishing, archiving and preservation support research throughout the information lifecycle.

Serving the UC libraries is a vital component of our mission. Our unique position within the University allows us to provide the infrastructure and support commonly needed by the campus libraries, freeing them to focus their resources on the needs of their users.

Looking ahead, the CDL will continue to use innovative technology to connect content and communities in ways that enhance teaching, learning, and research.

CDL Timeline

Systemwide licensing for scholarly journals saves UC $2 million. Online Archive of California integrated into the CDL.


UC-eLinks provides access to full text journals online. Request service for inter-library loan launched.


eScholarship initiative established.


Systemwide licensing for scholarly journals saves UC $25 million.


Digital Preservation Program established. Melvyl Catalog re-launched with 23 million records.


CDL partners with Google to digitize millions of books. Calisphere launched.


Work begins on the Next Generation Melvyl Catalog.


CDL and UC Libraries join the HathiTrust to establish a shared digital repository.