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OAC Redesign Project


In July 2009, CDL released a redesign of the OAC interface informed by user feedback and community input. We designed the new site to help both researchers and archivists navigate the collections and find primary sources. Some of the new features implemented included:

  • An online tutorial explaining the function of descriptive records and how the OAC aggregates and presents them
  • Clear indicators when material is online and when it must be viewed in-person at an institution
  • An interactive table of contents for collection guides that makes it easy to navigate them and drill down into series and container lists
  • A frame design with dynamic headings so users always have the collection and institution context
  • PDF format for easy printing and taking to the repository—with series titles on each page for quick reference
  • Facets for date, institution, and online items for quick narrowing of search results
  • An interactive “browse map” feature graphically displaying institutions
  • A self-serve administrative database for direct editing of institutional contact information (for OAC contributors).


The redesign grew out of several ideas. In 2006, CDL launched off siteCalisphere, which best serves general users and K-12 audiences. This freed the OAC to focus on being purely a site for researchers. In addition, since the previous redesign in 2001, OAC administrators had gained a good understanding of the OAC site's strengths and weaknesses, as well as the specific needs of users and archivists. These concerns, harnessed to new technologies, provided a unique opportunity to redesign CDL's flagship site.

Please see the bibliography [PDF] for background reading on some of the technologies and concepts we considered in redesigning the OAC.

Project goals

  • Create an easy to navigate, user-centered site that supports archival research and enhances discovery
  • Explore the feasibility of integrating relevant MARC records into the OAC
  • Investigate ways that will allow users to make the research experience participatory
  • Incorporate features and functions commonly found on the Internet in order to increase access and to meet users' expectations.

OAC Working Group

The CDL team was advised by an OAC Working Group, appointed by UC Heads of Special Collections. Members included:

Mary Elings, UCB
John L. Skarstad, UCD
Michelle Light, UCI
Genie Guerard, UCLA
Emily Lin, UCM
Eric Milenkiewicz, UCR
Josue Hurtado, UCSF
David Seubert, UCSB
Brian Tingle, CDL
Rosalie Lack, CDL
Jodi Allison-Bunnell, Northwest Digital Archives

OAC Working Group MARC Subcommittee

Terry Boom, UCB
Jain Fletcher, UCLA
Jeanne Gahagan, UCB
Ryan Hildebrand, UCI
Josue Hurtado, UCSF
David Seubert, UCSB
Jodi Allison-Bunnell, Northwest Digital Archives

Reports and Presentations

Last updated: August 20, 2013