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Chaparral 2015-2016: 24.6 GCC Library Digital Archives Project

GCC Library Digital Archives Project (May/June 2016)

GCC Library Digital Archives Project

By Susie Chin



How to Use the (Digital) Archives for Curriculum Purposes?

As well as serving as a repository for the institutional record of GCC, the collection can be an inquiry-based teaching and learning classroom resource across disciplines, an organic way to infuse ILO # 3 (Information Competency) into your course curriculum! 

  • Analyze specific sections of a campus catalog from different eras and discuss the academic and professional expectations of the times.  
  • Trace and discuss the racial and cultural evolution of the campus through photographs of student gatherings from multiple eras. 
  • Look at specific student literary publications and discuss or analyze the values, concerns, and culture of the times. Were they similar to the concerns of today? 
  • Create a timeline of a specific event or issue on campus with images that represent different perspectives or aspects of the issue.  
  • Review archival material as primary sources to local history, college history, campus development history, and more.


Through a Foundation Grant, we have digitized a sample of the most compelling and interesting objects in the archives collection housed in the library. The grant funded for the equipment, software, licensing, professional consultant and training for both scanning of the individual objects and providing the metadata to identify each of the items.  

Items scanned included single page objects as well as multi-page objects, such as a yearbook from 1933, called the Log, an issue of the Galeon, precursor to the El Vaquero, photos of football, cheerleaders, students congregating outside the cafeteria, and more textual objects such as a postcard from 1973 from a community member to the Board complaining about the raise in taxes for a bond to support the college . Uploading of objects to a web-based  server  provides exposure to a collection that has not seen a wider audience.  

The project provides a glimpse into the riches of this collection. The GCC Library Archives has always been accessible in person during the opening hours of the library. Staff and librarians have contributed numerous hours responding to specific requests from remote audiences and users. As the collection gains more exposure, we hope the campus, community members, and alumni (or relatives of alumni) will contribute by providing additional information to identify these unique objects so that the knowledge pertaining to the objects can be documented. 

The GCC Foundation provided the seed money for this project now available through the Pasadena Digital History Collaboration (PDHC), the host of GCC’s collection. The PDHC is a natural partner. Mary Ann Laun, interim dean for the library, and retired, emeritus dean to Pasadena City College Library, is one of the founding members of the PDHC, and who strongly supported the collaboration between GCC and the PDHC. Mary Ann’s in-house expertise provided the impetus to pursue a GCC Foundation Grant for the project. Then the project got off the ground in the Spring of 2015, when the director of the PDHC was hired to consult on this digitization project.   We hope you will be inspired by this digital collection. With your support and contributions, we hope to digitize and identify more items in order to provide access to a broader audience.  Access the pilot collection here 







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