Take a trip through the Grateful Dead Archive Online

UC Santa Cruz launched the Grateful Dead Archive Online last Friday with tens of thousands of items. But it wouldn't be a Grateful Dead archive if all you could do was look at stuff, so you can also:

Add your own photos and stories - you can even tell us a story over voicemail.
Use the map to search for things related to a particular Dead show and venue - like photos, backstage passes, and envelopes that fans sent in to request tickets, and tapes from performances hosted at archive.org.
• Read Dick Latvala's original notebook from 1978 describing and commenting on fan tapes
• See Jerry and Bob with a tiger - and send us a comment if you can identify the two other folks in the photo! Our team has done a lot of work to get as many names on these things as possible, but did I mention the "tens of thousands of items" thing? It's a big job, and we appreciate your patience as we work to get comments posted and metadata updated.

We've logged visits from 97 countries so far (Hello there in Moldova, Montenegro, and Malaysia!), and as of yesterday the average visit lasted four minutes and twenty seconds, which we can't help but interpret as a good omen. The messages we're getting from the community have been full of warmth and love - of course! - and we're pleased as punch to be able to open up this collection to such a great (grateful?) bunch of fans, scholars, and researchers. We look forward to growing it with them and creating a fun and useful tool for understanding the Grateful Dead phenomenon and all the broader waves of American culture in the past 50 years it has impacted.

Posted by Katie Fortney of University of California Santa Cruz Library.



  1. Having poked around the site a little tonight I have to say I am disappointed.  It’s a strange layout.  You click shows and it takes you to a map of the world.  There isn’t a lot of music and videos so far though there are plenty of Audience recording but I’m not sure they can be downloaded.   The look of the site is also kind of dull.  With all the great artwork available on old concert posters I would have made the site look like a 60’s posters instead of just a boring layout.

    1. The site is a way to open up the collection the band gave to the library in 2008, and it reflects that. They donated physical stuff – photos, posters, files, envelopes, newsletters, fan zines – that you can’t see anywhere else, and that without this site you’d have to come to the library and request item by item. There was very little audio or video, and the audio there was wasn’t concerts, it was stuff like concert ticket line recordings.
      It’s not a commercial site or a band-run site – it’s a non-profit archive. And archive.org is already doing a great job of collecting audio. The map of shows, if you click on a particular location you’re interested in, will often bring you to a recording of that show hosted there. I’m sorry you didn’t find what you were expecting, and I hope you come back and try us again.

  2. I really enjoyed the launch event down at UCSC last week.  Moonalice did a nice show, and the room with the displays from the collection was well done.   Thanks!

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