Revs Digital Library

Over 400,000 images documenting the history of the automobile

2012 – present

The Revs Digital Library is a large, publicly-accessible digital library of automative history developed at Stanford University Libraries. The primary goal of this project is to ensure access and preservation of materials from the Revs Institute, an independent educational organization that advances the scholarly study of automotive history. As the Revs Institute digitizes items from their collection of over 1 million images, research books, ephemera, and specialized documents, they are transferred to Stanford and accessioned into the Stanford Digital Repository using an automated pipeline.

The Revs Digital Library is a web-based discovery environment designed to make this huge, unique collection—once available to a select few— available to a wide range of visitors for research and general interest purposes. Features that we have built into the digital library include:

  • Galleries, theme-based collections that can be created by both official curators and registered end-users and can be either public or private
  • Profile pages, favorites, and a feature to annotate details of images
  • Item detail pages that include rich metadata, full image zoom, and a feature for providing item metadata corrections and enhancements (over 50,000 submitted so far)
  • Administrative section that enables the Revs Institute admins to easily update collections and galleries featured on the site and to manage users and roles
  • A set of curator pages, which enable approved curators to address corrections flagged by users, make metadata updates (include bulk updates), and monitor item edits, annotations, etc.

The digital library currently contains over 400,000 images and eventually will encompass many more images, research books, ephemera, and specialized documents, including research data and other materials produced by the Revs Program at Stanford.

My Role: I did the user research, user experience design, much of the front-end development, and visual design.

More Information

Revs Digital Library website Link
The public Revs Digital Library website.
GitHub code repository Link
Public repository for the Revs Digital Library code (Blacklight-based Ruby on Rails project).
Revs Program at Stanford project description Link
An associated project that I also worked on.
Revs Institute Link
The website of the project funder and the provider of the digitized digital library content.


Jalopnik blog post Link
Lavrinc, Damon. "This Amazing Vintage Car Photo Database Is Our Fappening." Jalopnik. Tuesday, September 9, 2014.
Open Culture blog post Link
"178,000 Images Documenting the History of the Car Now Available on a New Stanford Web Site." Open Culture. Tuesday, September 9, 2014.
Stanford Report news story Link
Parker, Clifton B. "Stanford's new Revs Digital Library spotlights the automobile as cultural icon." Stanford Report. Friday, September 5, 2014.