Campus: CSU, Northridge -- September 26, 2000

Cal State Northridge Receives Grant to Preserve Valley's History Digitally

Cal State Northridge's library has received a $153,298 grant from the California State Library to digitally preserve the San Fernando Valley's history.

The library will be working closely with local historical societies to select documents and images from their archives, as well as the university's, to be copied digitally and made available to the public through the web.

"This is the first time that all of the historical societies, the library and a museum have come together to make available the Valley's history," said Susan Curzon, dean of the University Library. "This not only increases the profile of the Valley's history, but teachers, students and researchers will now have access to a wide range of material that they never have had before."

Curzon said the project will digitize about 2,400 selected items that would otherwise be accessible only by on-site visits. Work is expected to start next month and last about a year.

State librarian Kevin Starr said he is confident that Cal State Northridge will "lead the way in preserving local history through digitalization."

"I see this as a model program for the other CSU campuses," Starr said.

Jane Lowenthal, a commissioner for the California State Library and a Porter Ranch resident, hailed the collaboration between CSUN and the local historical societies.

"This project will help us chronicle and document our past, showing its significance in both what the San Fernando Valley is today and what it will become tomorrow," Lowenthal said. "I have seen a part of the materials that will be digitized and they are fasciniating."

She added that she is "pleased that the utilization of the Internet will provide easy access to both academic scholars and the lay public--tens of thousands of interested taxpayers--alike."

The digital library database will bring together, for the first time, significant historical photographs, illustrations, maps, manuscripts, documents and related graphic materials from a variety of collections on the CSUN campus, including the Center for Photojournalism and Visual History, the Geography Department Map Library and the University Library's Special Collections.

The project also will tap into the collections of local historical societies, including Burbank, Calabasas, Campo de Cahuenga, Canoga-Owensmouth, Chatsworth, Topanga, as well as the Little Landers Historical Society and Bolton Hall Museum and Los Encinos State Historic Park.

The Oviatt Library is home to more than one million volumes, three million microfilms, 125,000 government publications, 59 art prints, 2,500 periodical titles and an extensive historical collection of mixed media, rare books and archives. It serves as the main research facility for the San Fernando Valley.

The California State Library provided 60 grants this year totaling $5,458,000 for a variety of technology, literacy and service projects throughout California.

California State University, Northridge has more than 27,000 full- and part-time students and offers 48 bachelor's and 39 master's degrees. Founded in 1958, it is the only four-year university in the Valley.

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