Sautter Award Logo

Information technology staff from UC Santa Barbara Library and UC San Diego Library were recognized at the Virtual UC Tech Conference hosted by UCLA on Aug. 11 with a Golden Sautter Award for their work on Starlight, an open-source, cross-campus collaborative project to create a UC-specific platform that enables librarians, curators, and others who are responsible for digital collections at the UC libraries to create attractive, image-rich websites that highlight these collections. The platform underlying Starlight is Spotlight, an open-source digital exhibit platform. 

The annual Sautter Award Program, created by the UC Information Technology Leadership Council (ITLC), recognizes information technology projects that advance the UC mission of teaching, research, public service, and patient care; and/or that improve the effectiveness of academic, business, or administrative processes.

Interim Chief Information Officer Mark Cianca announced this year’s 10 winning teams from across the UC. The Starlight team was one of three teams that received a Golden award, the highest honor. 

“UCSB and UCSD libraries had the same problem - they needed library-specific exhibit software to show off the collections they had worked hard to digitize,” said Jessica Hilt, manager of applications development at the UC San Diego Library and member of the Starlight team. “The two campuses decided that their needs were enough alike that it was more effective to pool their resources and expertise together to tackle the problem.”

The Starlight project is part of a larger collaborative effort of the UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara libraries nicknamed Project Surfliner after the Amtrak route that links the campuses together. Project Surfliner is more than shared code or even shared objectives, it is the collaborative effort. It is building and leveraging the strengths, experiences, and resources of each campus partner to focus on shared concepts and products in a sustainable way.  

All Surfliner applications are designed to be ready-for-use across UC campuses, while giving each institution control over its content and how it is organized and displayed. The software is free and open source so it can be easily adopted by outside collaborators and extended to support a wide range of content types. 

UC staff who worked on the Starlight project include:

Chrissy Rissmeyer, UC Santa Barbara (Primary Product Owner)

Jessica Hilt, UC San Diego (Product Owner for UC San Diego)

Matt Critchlow, UC San Diego (Technical Lead) 

Alexandra Dunn, UC Santa Barbara 

Tom Johnson, UC Santa Barbara

John H. Robinson IV, UC San Diego (now at UCLA)

David Trujillo, UC San Diego