California launches online catalogue of state archives

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen unveiled a unique online catalogue that gives researchers and history buffs access to information about the acclaimed collections preserved in the California State Archives.
The online catalogue, named Minerva after the Roman goddess of wisdom, who is also on the official California State Seal, gives descriptive details of all types of records stored in the State Archives, from maps and court cases to legislative papers and photographs.
Minerva replaces a paper-based recordkeeping system and is updated almost daily with the latest information about the Archives collection.
“Minerva is a dynamic goldmine for historians, journalists, students and anyone else who just loves California history,” Bowen said. “Minerva offers a real-time listing of everything we have on hand in the California State Archives, whether it’s a videotape we’ve just received or an old map we’ve been storing for decades.”
Several years in the making, Minerva is the result of expert input from dozens of archivists and information technology professionals.
Minerva integrates all internal State Archives functions for appraising, accessioning, processing and other workflow management. It also offers the public the ability to search or track collections from any computer with Internet access and connects users to the archives’ reference desk for more information. The new site is http://Minerva.sos.ca.gov.
“Until now, people had to come to Sacramento if they wanted to find an up-to-date listing of everything available in the State Archives,” Bowen said. “Minerva is tailored to meet the high-tech needs of modern-day archives users. It makes government records more accessible to the general public and makes research more efficient for professionals.”

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