OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU Library earns grants to support digitization of key pieces of Oregon history

11/19/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore.  – Oregon State University’s Valley Library is the recipient of two new grants that will support digitization of key images from the state’s past, a new Web-based portal where the images will be publicly accessible and digital archive assistance for cultural institutions around the state that otherwise might not be able to afford such services.

The grants and the Oregon Digital Library Project (ODLP) that they’ll help create will enable the Valley Library to build on its critically acclaimed role in preserving material documenting the history of Oregon and its people, said Terry Reese, who holds the Gray Family Chair for Innovative Library Services at OSU.

“The new portal will serve an important function in making material that can be very difficult to find available at your fingertips, whether you’re a researcher, a student or just someone with a personal interest,” said Reese. “Right now, if you want to find material that’s been digitized, even at large institutions, you might have a hard time. The ODLP will address that and make significant new material available in the process.”

The first grant, $69,800 from funds associated with the federal Library Services and Technology Act, will cover costs of servers and programming upgrades that will increase storage and service capacities, as well as staff time in developing the ODLP portal. The federal funds are being made available through the State of Oregon Library, which is also a partner in the project.

The second grant, $11,800 from the Oregon Heritage Commission, will help fund digitization of 12,500 historic images from the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and the Oregon Coast History Center, said Reese. It will also defray costs associated with digital storage for other cultural institutions around the state that may have important contributions to make to documenting “what it was like to be here when Oregon was founded,” said Reese.

“As a large cultural heritage organization, we’re going to lower the barriers to this work. If small museums can provide the people, we’ll provide the infrastructure to store and access the materials and purchase equipment that would be available for lending to support the digitization,” said Reese. “For a lot of small archives and museums, this is a cost they can bear.”

For more information on ODLP, contact Reese at terry.reese@oregonstate.edu.