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San Francisco Public Library received a Library Services and Technology grant to finance the digital scanning and microfilming of the Library's print collection of voter information pamphlets and handbooks for San Francisco municipal elections. Although not complete, the collection dates back to 1907. List of S.F. Elections for which the Library does not have voter pamphlets. The original pamphlets were printed on newsprint-quality paper and are extremely fragile. To extend the availability of the materials, a major goal of the project was to preserve the pamphlets in alternative formats and create an Internet-accessible version. A microfilm copy was deposited with the California State Library. Approximately 59,000 voter pamphlet pages, including 1,500 propositions, were digitized into PDF files.

Some of the files are very large and may cause prolonged downloads. For some elections, separate pamphlets were created for each voting district or a combination of each voting district and political party, and there is no singular representative pamphlet which includes all of the candidates for that election. As a result, the hard copies of the various pamphlets were bound together to represent that particular election, and this resulted in extra-large digitized versions.

Because the PDF files of the voter pamphlets are images instead of text, they cannot be searched electronically. San Francisco Public Library staff developed the San Francisco Ballot Propositions Database to provide keyword access to San Francisco propositions. Although the database searches a separate, in-house-created index of propositions, results provide links to the full-text PDF pamphlet which contains the relevant proposition, as well as pass/fail outcomes and other information.

For information about San Francisco Voter Pamphlets and Ballot Propositions contact:

Government Information Center
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 557-4500
governmentinfo@sfpl.org

This project was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

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