San Joaquin Valley & Sierra Foothill Photo Heritage

The San Joaquin Valley & Sierra Foothills Photo Heritage site provides access to a collection of nearly 3000 digital images created by the San Joaquin Valley Digitization Project. There are three types of access: browsing the collection by subject, browsing the collection by library, and searching the collection for keywords.

Browsing by subject:

Many of the images are easily grouped into subject areas of interest. There are currently 23 subjects. Some subject groups do not include every image that is related to that subject. Examples of these groups are animals, buildings, houses, businesses, and people. For these subjects groups, only those images where the subject is the primary interest of the image have been included. Other subject groups include every image that is related to that subject. Examples of these are railroads, oil, disasters, and libraries.

Browsing by library:

There is a page at this web site for each of the nine public libraries who participated in the project. From a library's page you can access that library's contribution to the collection. These images can be accessed by browsing or searching. There are two browsing options: browsing by thumnail images only, and browsing thumbnail images with some description of their content (i.e. title, abstract, and date). Not all of a library's images can be browsed using this second option; only those with descriptive metadata (see below).

Each library web page includes information about the library with contact information and a link to their web site. It may also include information about local history resources and the photographs that were selected for the project.

Searching the collection:

The image collection can be searched for keywords. The keywords that you enter can be searched in all -- or any one or combination of two -- of the three fields that may describe the contents of an image: Title, Contents description, and Subject terms. For more information about searching the collection, refer to the Search page.

Keep in mind that at this time, not all of the images have descriptive metadata, and these images will not result from a search.


Metadata, in this context, refers to textual information about an image. The metadata for each image includes the following elements:

  • Title
  • Photographer
  • Date Created: when the photograph was taken
  • Physical description: a description of the photograph as an object
  • Repository name: where the photograph is located
  • Contents description: a description of the contents of the photograph
  • Subject terms: subject keywords or headings that apply to the contents of the photograph
  • Misc. notes