May 28, 2022

Projects: UC Merced Library Chosen to Digitize AIDS Historical Archives

Note: Info about access to the digitized materials is found at the bottom of this post.

From the UC Merced:

The UC Merced Library’s digital assets team is playing an important role in providing access to a swath of modern history that will contribute to research and society.

The team has been asked to digitize about 127,000 pages from 49 archival collections related to the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco Bay Area as part of the AIDS History Project, which is being funded by a two-year, $315,000 Implementation Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The project is a joint effort of the Archives and Special Collections department of the UCSF Library, the San Francisco Public Library, and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

This is a great opportunity to look deeply into how community groups and the medical community mobilized to help combat the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco,” said Emily Lin, head of the library’s Digital Assets Unit. “It will give people a much more detailed look and different levels of understanding about how these people and groups went about solving a problem, including how effective they were at shaping public opinion and affecting change.”


The 127,000 pages include handwritten correspondence, personal notebooks, typed reports, agency records, printed magazines, photos, negatives, transparencies and posters. The effort will digitally reunite these collections and make them available publicly and globally.


Each of the items in the collections will be carefully examined for privacy concerns, but once they are determined to be ready for release, they will be disseminated broadly through the California Digital Library, with the objects freely accessible to the public through both Calisphere, operated by the University of California, and the Digital Public Library of America. UC Merced will also host an exhibit and public symposium in the second year of the grant, to amplify outreach efforts.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.