Community Vision Driven by Data

Our Engage San Francisco Director, Karin Cotterman, was instrumental in the creation of The Fillmore/Western Addition Gleeson Resource Page. The page features photos, videos, and news stories that document the history of The Fillmore. In this week’s blog, Karin answered a few questions on what prompted the compilation of these resources, and how they highlight an important and iconic part of San Francisco.

Karin Cotterman, Director of Engage San Francisco

What was the need for these resources and how were they compiled?

The Fillmore/Western Addition Resource Page was first created in 2015 through a partnership with Carol Spector, Government Information & Reference Librarian at the Gleeson Library/Geschke Center. Since Engage San Francisco is a campus-wide initiative, there is a need to have easy access to resources, writing, and data of, by, for and about The Fillmore/Western Addition. The resource page is used by students as they learn about The Fillmore and much of it is available to the general public; we make an effort to include resources that are not behind a paywall, such as San Francisco Public Library.  If you click through the tabs on the right side, you will find links to community newspapers, photo archives, and government publications, including resources related to redevelopment, etc. By no means would I say it is complete, but it is a good starting point for someone beginning to start a research project. 

The resource guide came about due to a few factors: Our previous Director, Corey Cook, did a presentation to community members at a Mo’MAGIC meeting where he highlighted various databases that community could access to get information to use in grant and report writing, and folks requested more information after that talk. Additionally, Professor Rachel Brahinsky had resources about the history of The Fillmore she was using with her graduate students that were valuable to students, staff, faculty and community. And there were examples of Resource Guides already in use at Gleeson/Geschke for other areas of study. So I connected with Carol and she added links to various databases that might be relevant to research projects and she and I have both added resources as time goes on. 

[View of the Western Addition district from Golden Gate Avenue and Webster Street, looking southeast] [graphic]. SF Public Library Archive

Who do these resources help/who were they created for? How are these resources used?

Students use these resources for research or papers, or sometimes tutors call upon them if they are new to working with The Fillmore. One of my favorite moments was when a professor who works closely with the McCarthy Center found the guide and sent it to a colleague and excitedly wrote, “Have you seen this?!!!” That was a good indicator of two things: 1) This resource is useful, as she was going to use it in class; and 2) We should really promote it more so it isn’t a surprise that she has to seek out. 

Ideally this guide will be used far beyond faculty, staff and students here at USF. It should be a tool that breaks down the invisible walls of USF by making information accessible to all so that community members and partners have access to data about their community that helps them realize a community-driven vision. 

Explore the full resource page here. If anyone has any additions or corrections for the resource page, they can email and/or

Community Partnerscommunity-drivenEngage San FranciscoGleeson Librarynewspapersphoto archivesThe Fillmore

Leo T. McCarthy Center • April 11, 2021

Previous Post

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *

Viewing Message: 1 of 1.

Important: Read our blog and commenting guidelines before using the USF Blogs network.

Skip to toolbar