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North County Volunteers Needed to ID Historical People, Places, Events

Did you live, work or attend school in North County between 1968-2001? The Escondido Historical Society (EHS) and the Cal State San Marcos University Library seek volunteers for a community project to identify people, places and events in historical photographs taken by Dan Rios, chief photographer for the Escondido Times-Advocate newspaper from 1968-2001. We need your participation!

Rios’ photographs cover an important era in the development of San Diego’s North County region: newsworthy stories but also portraiture of locals, nature photography and images of our built environment. When he was not on assignment, he traveled the county, documenting what he observed.

Images in this collection also include negatives from a pool of diverse professional staff photographers who were also the staff writers/journalists, adding to the large output for this daily newspaper that covered North County. The library estimates that there are roughly one million images in the collection, and perhaps half of them lack context like the place of photography, the people in the images and the happenings that were photographed.

To fill in these gaps, the EHS and CSUSM library are enlisting community volunteers with memory and knowledge of this time period, roughly 1968–2001. With funding from CSUSM’s Community Engaged Scholarship initiative, the library is scanning 11,000 images and posting them on the Flickr digital media platform, where community members can comment on images about the who, what, when and where of these uncontextualized photographs.

Expanding this community memory contributes to the public good by documenting the forces, events and people that have influenced the region’s evolution, and this documentation will be available to researchers for generations into the future. With this community input, the library will update its records, making Rios’ images valuable to future researchers, students, faculty, genealogists and lifelong learners.

To participate, community members should create a Flickr account. For more information, please visit the Dan Rios Photo Identification Project webpage.