By Rosalie Lack, CDL Digital Special Collections Director

CDL is pleased to report that in its first year, Calisphere ( has become a valuable resource for scholars, a popular destination for the general public, and an essential site for K-12 educators, who call it “a dream resource” and “a teacher’s dream come true.”

Calisphere’s success rests on the quality of the primary source images and documents provided by CDL’s content contributors. The site’s unique organization and intuitive user interface makes these resources easily accessible to the general public and educators alike. Throughout the state and nationally, teachers report that Calisphere’s targeted organization of primary sources allows them to locate specific types of images quickly, and to build classroom lessons that motivate and inspire students to learn:

“So much easier!” “Your website has made it so much easier. Two years ago I created a PowerPoint presentation on Japanese Internment. I searched the web for countless hours trying to find images! If only I knew about your website then! Your images are excellent and very helpful to educators and students.”

“Thankful to have this program” “I used the complete collections in preparing my lesson. A new teacher would be so thankful to have this program. I intend to use it next year when I change grade levels to go to 5th grade. I will be the Social Studies and History teacher for 90 4th and 5th graders.”

“The lesson came to life”
“I downloaded the images into a PowerPoint presentation, then used the PowerPoint over three lessons . . . I have taught this lesson previously, without the primary sources. This time . . . I feel my students got a lot more out of the experience. . . . The lesson came to life.”

As Calisphere continues to evolve, students, educators, and the general public will have unprecedented access to an increasing number of unique images and documents. In the coming year, CDL will be working toward broadening and deepening existing categories and adding new features that will continue to attract more and more users to explore the site.

Calisphere’s Year in Review highlights the successes and future goals of this important resource.

Learn more about what Calisphere has to offer:
Calisphere Year in Review  <>(PDF)