UC Santa Cruz launches the Grateful Dead Archive Online

Grateful Dead Archive Online
The Grateful Dead Archive Online can be found at www.gdao.org.

The UCSC Library announced today that the public can now access the Grateful Dead Archive Online through the GDAO website at www.gdao.org.

Several years in the making, GDAO features nearly 25,000 items and over 50,000 scans selected from the Archive at UC Santa Cruz, documenting the Grateful Dead’s 30-year history from 1965–1995.

Students, scholars, and anyone seeking to learn about the Grateful Dead will be able to access digital surrogates of a broad range of historical artifacts including photographs, fanzines, and fan-decorated envelopes.

According to Nicholas Meriwether, UCSC Grateful Dead Archivist, GDAO will “showcase thousands of images, artifacts and materials drawn from the Grateful Dead Archive.”

The collection contains works by some of the most famous rock photographers and artists of the era, including Herb Greene, Stanley Mouse, Wes Wilson and Susana Millman.

In keeping with the participatory nature of the Grateful Dead phenomenon, fans will be encouraged to submit their own digital photographs and memories to GDAO and comment on and tag digital content using social media tools.

Meriwether sees GDAO as a “remarkable, innovative website featuring a groundbreaking, socially-constructed collection built on fan-contributed content.”

University Librarian Ginny Steel is enthusiastic about the launch of the new web site.

"This is a significant contribution to the Deadhead and Grateful Dead scholarly community,” she noted.  “The functionality included in GDAO will offer new opportunities for people to engage with the band's legacy and to help build it, so we are excited to be able to provide such wide access to this collection."

The Grateful Dead Archive has been the focus of a great deal of attention since 2008, when UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, university librarians, and band members Mickey Hart and Bob Weir announced that the band would donate its archives to the campus at a press conference held in San Francisco’s historic Fillmore Auditorium.

The Archive documents the Dead’s remarkable creative activity and influence in contemporary music history, including the phenomenon of the Deadheads, the band’s remarkable following, as well as the extraordinary range of their musical, artistic, and innovative business endeavors.

Researchers interested in cultural history, the 60s, the counterculture, and the many other facets of the Grateful Dead phenomenon, will now have access to original source materials in the UCSC Library’s Special Collections, along with digital facsimiles through GDAO.