Heritage Collections on HistoryPin

I’ve begun loading a selection of photos to HistoryPin, which is a “way for people to come together to share and celebrate local history. It consists of a shared archive, a mutually supportive community and a collaborative approach to engagement with local history.” HistoryPin allows us to share our collections in a new way by making it easier to see images in geographic and historical context by way of timelines and Google StreetView mashups.

I uploaded a group of San Francisco photos to start, including a group of gorgeous Lothars & Young prints of the SF waterfront and Sea Cliff neighborhood in the 1920s, as well as some featuring Sonoma County residents, including the late Petaluma Library librarian Maxine Kortum, shown above outside the SF Main Library about 1948. Photos can be “pinned” to a collection (including collections other members create) and arranged for tours. We will pin more photos to the SF collection as well as to other collections as time allows. In the meantime, HP members from around the world have uploaded tons and tons of great images and more that tell stories of their communities — have fun exploring!


Beta Testing our Digital Projects

We’re inching closer to putting our various digital projects out to the world. I just sent out the following announcement to our reference librarians (you, too can help):

Help us fine tune our digital projects before we put them out the the world…

Tomasini Hardware advertisement

Tomasini Hardware advertisement (courtesy, the Sonoma County Library)

We are putting the finishing touches on two major digital library projects:  Community –Sonoma County Local Authors and the Sonoma Heritage Collections, and several related pieces. These projects will be further integrated with the Sonoma County Archives and Archival Collections site in the near future.


The Sonoma County Library Community project has two aims. Firstly, it is a platform to publicize authors with connections to Sonoma County and to make their works more visible online and in the catalog. Secondly, there has been growing interest from local authors in having the library host their e-books and to make them broadly available to the library community.

Sonoma Heritage Collections

While our digitized photos have been available through the Library’s catalog for some time, they are often lost among the other items and we have needed to force Horizon to display them correctly. This project, built on the digital collections management software, CONTENTdm, will soon be the preferred site for viewing locally digitized materials of all kinds — photographs, maps, newspapers, audio files, videos, books and more. The Collections currently include slightly over half of the digitized photographs, with another 6,000 to be added in the near future.

The SHC is divided into several collections, some of which are based on the type of material and others of which are by theme; in addition, the items are each assigned one of 22 SHC Themes.

Sonoma County Local History and Genealogy

We are also launching a Local History and Genealogy blog to highlight items in the Annex collections, with an eye to promoting the Heritage Collections.  A feed from the blog is featured on the SHC home page

Sonoma County Digital Collections on Flickr

We will be loading a selection of our digitized images to Flickr Commons and we are also encouraging visitors to help us identify images with  unknown people and places. A viewer of Flickr images is featured on the SHC home page

Sonoma County Library on YouTube

We will be uploading selected videos to our YouTube channel. Currently we have only one available, but will be adding more soon.

By April 16, we would like to get feedback about what works — and even more importantly, what doesn’t work, from navigation problems to design/formatting issues, as well as editing suggestions. There are a few known issues (see below), we’re most interested in other problems you might spot. We will look carefully at all suggestions and make changes where needed before making public announcements or sending out PR.

Known issues

Sonoma Heritage Collections

  • Display issues in Internet Explorer 8 and older (okay in IE9, Chrome, Firefox):
    • Apostrophes display as “'” (to be fixed in the next version of CONTENTdm)
    • Formatting on collection landing pages is off (IE7)
    • “Suggested Topics” formatting on home page is off


  • About page will be updated

Thank you so much for your help!

We expect to make a real public announcement by the late April.