Archives in Context: Teachable Topics from the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project

CSUJAD Users' Guide

The California State University Japanese American Digitization Project (CSUJAD) is scanning and describing primary source material from the Archives of the California State University system and a growing, extended group of partners from other institutional archives, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage organizations. There is a special focus on the experiences of Japanese Americans in California and the incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II. Touching on a wide range of topics, the CSUJAD brings disparate archival collections together in this searchable online collection of national importance. 

CSUJAD is made available online through the use of the CONTENTdm digital collection management software, centrally hosted by CSU Dominguez Hills, with the original primary sources remaining at the home institutions. In-depth descriptions of each of the archival collections from which these digital materials were derived can be found on the CSUJAD website at It also provides contextual and educational information for users of the online collection. For example, links to other important Japanese American history projects and information about visiting the war relocation centers. 

Keyword Search 

On the CSUJAD website, there are several tabs to explore that provide information and you will find a “Search the Collections” button on each of these landing pages. 

When selected, the user is redirected to the CONTENTdm landing page or search directly here. On the CONTENTdm landing page, there is a browse button and a short list of popular topics, from which the user may make a selection. Any of the choices take you into the CONTENTdm search interface where simple keyword or advanced searches lead the user to the digitized archival materials. 

In the upper right hand corner, there is a keyword search box in which any terms may be tried by the user, or just underneath it, a link to the “Advanced Search” option. The retrieved results can be further refined. For example, a search on “Pearl Harbor” results in hundreds of digitized items. To refine the search results, there are facets on the left where the user can drill down more, rather than paging through all of the results.

These facets include: 
  1. Collections - CSU Japanese American Project should be selected)
  2. Contributing Repository - Choose from any of the institutional partner archives
  3. Genre - Select from the various archival formats included in the collection
  4. Facility - Choose a specific type of camp and location
  5. Subjects - Select a more specific subject
  6. Location - Choose a geographical location
In summary, the facets allow the user to hone general searches by selecting from any of the following categories for more precision: CSUJAD institutional partners, genre terms that describe the various archival formats included in the collection, incarceration camp facility names, the controlled subject terminology that is used to describe the archival collections, and a variety of geographical locations. 
Advanced Search 

The “Advanced Search” option allows the user to search among all the digital collections hosted by the CSU Dominguez Hills campus. By selecting the “CSU Japanese American Digitization Project” and saving it, a user can perform an advanced search of the CSUJAD, combining search terms and specifying the fields to search. 

To refine these search results, click on the “Advanced Search” link again, so it will take you back to the current search terms where you can edit them or add additional information. 

The downloadable document below provides users with a lists of the controlled terms that have been used as subject terms to describe the archival materials in the CSUJAD project. They provide the user with a sample of popular subject search terms that are effective in returning interesting archival items. The terms can be used in a keyword search, but it is recommended that you choose the “subject” field from the drop-down menu in the advanced search for the best results. Select the term you want to search, copy (ctrl + c), then paste (ctrl + v) into the search bar in the database.

Suggested topics:

Pre- and Post WWII 
World War II 
Life during the Incarceration 
Student Life during the Incarceration 
Military Service 

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