OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Oregon State visitors can take historic tour of campus through mobile devices

05/06/2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Visitors to the Oregon State University campus can not only learn about OSU programs and people – they can open a window into the past by taking a walking historic tour of campus, guided by their mobile phone or other selected devices.

BeaverTracks Historical Locations and Walking Tour, an OSU Libraries mobile project, connects the past to the present by linking historic images to current campus locations. It is the latest in a long line of innovations library staff is introducing to adapt to the changing needs of users.

Using selected mobile devices, users can find historical sites of interest by searching for a location, viewing the locations on a map, or by browsing a list of names. At each of the 22 locations, users get a brief history and can browse a catalog of historic images. Depending on the mobile device they have, users can also take a historic walking tour of campus.

For instance, standing in front of the newly renovated Kearney Hall, users will learn that the building opened its doors in 1900, and was built on the site of Mechanical Hall, destroyed by fire in 1898. Coincidentally, the new building rose from the ashes with the help of aptly named architect Edgar Lazarus.

BeaverTracks provides photos of the original building, the destroyed shell after the fire, and the building that replaced it, which then was named Apperson Hall.

BeaverTracks draws its images from collections housed in University Archives and hosted on the OSU Archives’ Flickr photostream.  Last year, University Archives became the first university in the nation to participate in Flickr Commons, an online project aimed at increasing access to important publicly held photography collections around the world.

BeaverTracks release coincides with Historic Preservation Month and the annual OSU walking tour led by University Archivist Larry Landis, which takes place May 9, at 2 p.m.  The tour begins on the east side of Benton Hall. For reservations call 541-737-0540.

“We are always looking for new ways to engage with the community and share the great collections we have in the OSU Archives,” said Tiah Edmunson-Morton, archives reference and instruction coordinator. “The hardest part, from my standpoint as an archivist, was narrowing down the field of photos and limiting descriptions of the historic sites.”

To access BeaverTracks point your mobile device’s web browser to http://tour.library.oregonstate.edu. You can also access it from OSU Libraries mobile site, which provides hours, frequently asked questions, book searches and more.  Go to http://m.library.oregonstate.edu and click on BeaverTracks.