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Digital Collections

Over 45,000 unique digital items that document the many diverse communities of the University of San Francisco, the City of San Francisco, and beyond.

Project Criteria

The purpose of this page is to state and clarify the criteria for prospective digital projects.


Project proposals should describe their relevance to the University of San Francisco; to the City of San Francisco; to the diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence (DEIE) goals of Gleeson Library and the University; and/or to the larger national or global events to which project items are connected and can be used to guide and/or educate the University community and beyond. From a marketing standpoint, the project must be an asset to the University and Gleeson Library, and be used to promote the Library’s Digital Collections and Special Collections and Archives.


Preference will be given to prospective digital projects for which the University, Gleeson Library, or Special Collections and Archives has ownership of the original items that will make up the digital collection. Digital projects in which the original owner (that is not the University or persons affiliated with the University, Gleeson Library, or Special Collections and Archives) maintains ownership of the items in the collection will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Item Type, Number, and Format

The decision to approve a digital collection depends on the number of items in the prospective digital collection and whether or not they need to be digitized; the date range of the items in the collection (e.g. SF Monitor, 1904-1908) – the date(s) may involve copyright and thus affect usage/permissions; and the types and/or formats of items in the collection. Currently, the Library’s Digitization Office is set up to only digitize 2D objects—for example, newspapers, photographs, broadsides, etc. The type and/or formats and number of items designated for a prospective digital project will impact the cost and amount of digitization and the online space required for the digital collection. For example, audio and video files typically take up more online space than items digitized from print. Thus cost, in terms of digitization and online storage space – for both access and archival copies – is another criterion.


Cost includes digital scanner supplies and maintenance, OCLC rates for monthly online space, hourly wages of student workers who assist in the digitization process, and full-time employee hours – such as those for the Digital Projects Assistant – needed to complete the project. The expense of a prospective digital project must be weighed when deciding whether or not the library is able to accept this project. The questions must be asked: Will scope and format result in a significant increase in rates for monthly online storage, and if so, will the library budget allow for this increase? If the library budget won’t allow for this increase, will there be an outside source of funding, e.g. grants or donations, that would allow the project to be created and maintained in the longer term? If a prospective digital project is deemed too large to be cost- efficient within the library’s budget, then the library may not be able to accept the project.


Please indicate the name, job title, organization or USF department, and contact information for the primary point of contact for this project, if it is not the requestor. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis in consult with the Associate Dean of Technical Services and the Digital Collections Assistant before a decision is made and the requester is informed of the decision by the Digital Collections Librarian. The decision will be stated in writing, in print or electronically.


All project proposals must include deadline information or the preferred time of completion. Deadlines may include ones that are dependent upon project funding, e.g. grants from national organizations, such as the NEH; the academic calendar, i.e. faculty requesting digitized materials for classroom use; and special events/anniversaries. Ongoing digital projects that do not have set deadlines may be temporarily deprioritized but will still be processed as time allows.

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