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About UC Shared Images

UC Shared Images aims to meet the increasing need of faculty and students for access to digital images for teaching and research. It is a collaborative, cross-campus program for building an aggregated image collection across the UC system. The program strives to build a large and diverse shared collection through:

  1. Purchasing and licensing system-wide resources from third-party vendors.
  2. Selecting open-access resources through the JSCSC process.
  3. Loading built content into ARTstor, a shared database. Collections are created and managed locally at the campus or department level, then shared with the broader UC community.

The following principles and goals guide the UC Shared Images program in its work, developed by CDL in consultation with the UC libraries, visual resources curators, and other image stakeholders:


  • Facilitate resource sharing and co-investment
  • Reduce redundant effort (e.g., digitizing the same image twice)
  • Create efficiencies for users and contributors (e.g., simplifying workflow and user experience)
  • Anticipate future needs and trends


  • Provide an infrastructure for visual resources curators to contribute images to a shared institutional collection
  • Provide access to licensed images when the vendor does not provide access
  • Provide and manage end-user access to images
  • Enable use of images in the classroom
  • Enable faculty to share images with students
  • Enable faculty to reuse images in the future

In 2007, members of the Image Service Demonstrator Project team began to envision the next step for images at the University of California: a shared service that would leverage CDL’s strengths in licensing and facilitation and encourage the exchange of built collections (for example digitized slides) across the campuses. CDL partnered with nine UC campuses to implement this service.

In 2008, CDL and UC visual resources curators built the first set of shared collections. Since then, five other departments at four campuses have contributed images. Contributors upload content to the UC-wide ARTstor hosting platform, which also contains several licensed image collections. This means that researchers can go to one database for access to more than 1.75 million images, including those generated locally for teaching needs.

Get Involved

To learn more about UC Shared Images operations and current activities, visit the wikiwiki.

Last updated: June 13, 2014