libraries and information technology

Project focuses on oral histories of African-American porters

Oregon State University’s Libraries and Press has been awarded a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust to transfer the oral histories of African-American railroad porters to digital form.

 The $5,000 grant will support the digitization of oral histories that came to OSU’s Valley Library in 2014 and form the African American Railroad Porter Oral History Collection, 1983-92. The historic recordings offer insight into the lives of African-Americans in Oregon in the early and mid-20 century, a time when job opportunities for African-American males were largely limited to service-related jobs.

 This collection is made up of 29 reel-to-reel sound recordings containing interviews between filmmaker Michael Grice and African-American railroad porters employed in the Portland area. The recordings form much of the background research used for Grice's 1985 film, "Black Families and the Railroad in Oregon and the Northwest."

 “The information gained through the interviews can be used to broaden the level of understanding of how African-Americans played a significant role in the social and economic changes to the Portland area and the state as a whole during the 20th century,” said Natalia Fernández, curator and archivist with the Oregon Multicultural Archives at Oregon State University’s Valley Library.

 “The stories shared have the potential to deepen public knowledge and appreciation of the African-American experience and perspective in Oregon.”

 The grant project will include the creation of Web pages to feature the oral histories. The interview audio and transcripts will be available online to researchers, students, teachers and the general public.



Story By: 

Natalia Fernández, 541-737-3653 or natalia.fernandez@oregonstate.edu

OSU acquires archives of ‘the founding father of American craft beer’

CORVALLIS, Ore. — The papers of renowned beer journalist and historian Fred Eckhardt have been acquired by the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives at Oregon State University’s Valley Library.

The Eckhardt collection provides a record of the craft brewing industry dating to the 1970s. It should be open to researchers by spring.

Few in the brewing world had Eckhardt’s influence on the history of beer in Oregon and home brewing nationwide, and his collection covers a broad range of topics related to craft beer as well as sake and wine making. Eckhardt, who died in 2015, was an advocate, critic, educator, mentor and historian, and has been called the founding father of craft beer.

“This is a cornerstone collection for the archives and a real treasure for the history of craft and home brewing in the Pacific Northwest and beyond,” said Tiah Edmunson-Morton, an archivist at Valley Library and the curator for the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives. “It’s a researcher’s dream that someone would keep all of this and an archivist’s dream that it would be this well-organized.”

Eckhardt became prominent in the brewing community with the publication of “A Treatise on Lager Beers” in 1970, the first modern American book on home brewing.

As breweries opened across the country in the 1980s and 1990s, Eckhardt travelled to visit with brewers and owners, take photographs, keep detailed records, and write for industry publications like Celebrator Beer News and All About Beer. He served on the American Homebrewers Association’s board of advisors for many years, and was one of the founding members of the Oregon Brew Crew homebrew club in Portland, where many professional brewers started.

More information about the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives at OSU’s Valley Library is available at scarc.library.oregonstate.edu/ohba.html.

Story By: 

Tiah Edmunson-Morton, 541-737-7387, tiah.edmunson-morton@oregonstate.edu

Historic Corvallis newspapers now available online

Corvallis newspapers from a 46-year period more than a century ago can now be accessed online, for free.

A collaborative effort of Oregon State University’s Libraries and Press, the Benton County Historical Society and Museum, and the University of Oregon’s Knight Library has digitized Corvallis newspapers from 1863-1909. Anyone can go online at oregonnews.uoregon.edu and see issues of the Corvallis Times or Corvallis Gazette.

Prior to 1909, the Gazette and the Times were separate newspapers. The recent microfilming and digitization of Corvallis newspapers from this period adds to the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program, which totals more than 700,000 pages of Oregon newspapers. The collection’s online holdings are primarily from 1922 and earlier because these are in the public domain and may be freely copied.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the availability of online digital newspapers,” said Irene Zenev, executive director of the Benton County Historical Society and Museum. “This is a powerful resource for researchers, genealogists and historians, not to mention students of all ages. We are proud of the fact that the bound volumes of the Gazette and the Times that we collected and preserved were of use in this important project.”

The time period covered by these newspapers was important for both Corvallis and Oregon State University, said Larry Landis, director of Special Collections and Archives Research Center at OSU Libraries and Press.

“Having this content available online will be a boon to many researchers, especially as OSU moves toward its 150th anniversary in 2018,” he said. “Students at OSU have already used the online newspapers for research papers on OSU history.”

The digitization relied on original newspapers in the collections of Oregon State’s Valley Library and the Benton County Historical Society and Museum. The digitization was supported by funding received by the University of Oregon from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Story By: 

Larry Landis, 541-737-0540 or larry.landis@oregonstate.edu

CALYX, OSU Libraries and Press receive grant to support feminist literature

CALYX Press and Oregon State University Libraries and Press have been awarded a grant of $96,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize at-risk literature published through CALYX Press.

This grant enables important literary works from the last 50 years of the feminist movement to be transformed into openly licensed e-book formats. CALYX, founded in 1976, is one of the nation's oldest feminist presses, and has published diverse authors including Julia Alvarez, Chitra Divakaruni, Barbara Kingsolver, Sharon Olds, Linda Hogan, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The project goal is to foster wider readership and a renewed interest in the impact of the small independent press on national and international feminist movements. Taking advantage of contemporary e-book technology, the project will digitize and distribute out-of-print texts by authors now central to contemporary feminist literature.

“Feminist presses of the last 50 years, including CALYX Press, have been a fundamental part of the cultural discourse,” said Alicia Bublitz, managing editor of CALYX Press, “and we are dedicated to preserving those voices in a digital world.

 “The work of these presses is disappearing, and maintaining their foundational texts is essential for scholarship, history and art,” she said. “This project is an acknowledgment of our great debt to these often controversial, always passionate, and incredibly powerful leaders.”

 According to Korey Jackson, the Gray Family Chair for Innovative Library Services, and Jane Nichols, OSU instruction and emerging technologies librarian, the work was a great connection between CALYX’s independent lens and feminist literary connections, and the library’s dedicated infrastructure and support for open access.

 “Our hope is to inspire new audiences and foster new readers of feminist literature by making these texts openly available,” Jackson said.

Media Contact: 

Daniel Moret, 541-737-4412 or daniel.moret@oregonstate.edu


Jane Nichols, jane.nichols@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-7269; Korey Jackson, korey.jackson@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-6384; Alicia Bublitz, director@calyxpress.org, 541-753-9384

Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives seeks crowd-funding support

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Lovers of beer and history now have an easy way to support the preservation of Oregon beer history.

The Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives at Oregon State University Libraries and Press has launched a crowd-funding campaign to help expand their hops and brewing collection at OSU’s Valley Library in Corvallis.

Begun in 2013, the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives preserves the story of hop production and the craft brewing movement in Oregon. It’s the first archive in the United States dedicated to preserving and telling the intertwined story of hops and beer, documenting all facets of the craft brewing industry, and uniting the social and cultural aspects of brewing with the sciences of OSU.

“We are really proud of all the work we’ve already done highlighting OSU’s archival collections,” said OHBA archivist, Tiah Edmunson-Morton, “ learning more about OSU’s talented scientists, hosting researchers, working with the public, meeting with the community, and attending a wonderfully wide variety of events and conferences.”

The launch of the crowd-funding campaign will help support the work of OHBA, and organizers hope to meet a $5,000 goal by the end of October.

The Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives has been able to attract state, national and international attention and been featured in publications as varied as Draft Magazine and Library Journal, as well as on radio programs such as “Think Out Loud” and “Beer Radio.” More information about OHBA’s crowd-funding effort is available at bit.ly/fundOHBA

Media Contact: 

Daniel Moret, 541-737-4112 or Daniel.moret@oregonstate.edu


Tiah Edmunson-Morton, 541-737-7387 or tiah.edmunson-morton@oregonstate.edu

Building Oregon website offers architectural photos of Oregon

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new mobile-friendly website developed by Oregon State University Libraries highlights the architecture of the Pacific Northwest and offers a wealth of photos and information about historically significant buildings in Oregon.

Buildingoregon.org is a digital library that includes a collection of images of more than 5,000 cultural and historic properties. The site makes Oregon’s architectural heritage accessible on smart phones and tablets.

“This grant project is a terrific example of ongoing collaboration between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon,” said Faye A. Chadwell, Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian and OSU Press Director. “It leverages our respective strengths within each library to enhance access to important cultural content.

“I am especially pleased with OSU’s development work on this project as we’ve created an open technical framework for other cultural heritage entities such as museums, archives and presses to use to reach wider audiences.”

OSU Libraries developed the website, which makes the University of Oregon’s “Building Oregon: Architecture of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest” collection accessible to users on smart phones and other mobile devices. Building Oregon uses a map-based interface to allow people to search for buildings by location and to retrieve related images and information.

Many photos in the collection represent cultural heritage sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mobile website has potential to inform and inspire educators, students, architecture buffs, historians and tourists.

The development of the Building Oregon website was supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services Technology Act and administered by the Oregon State Library. The open source code for this application is available via GitHub.

Information about Oregon State University Libraries and Press and their collections can be found at osulibrary.oregonstate.edu. More information about the University of Oregon Libraries and their collections can be found at library.uoregon.edu.

Media Contact: 

Daniel Moret, 541-737-4412


Margaret Mellinger, 541-737-9642, margaret.mellinger@oregonstate.edu

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Oregon State University yearbooks digitized and made available online

The Oregon State University Libraries & Press has digitized a rich source of OSU history - almost every OSU yearbook - and made them freely available online.

The collection is available at http://oregondigital.org/sets/osu-yearbooks

The website begins with the first yearbook produced in 1894, titled The Hayseed. All of the 109 yearbooks published from then to the 2012 edition are now accessible, and the 2013 and 2014 Beaver yearbooks will be added soon.

Each yearbook provides a unique glimpse into the academic and social life of OSU students through the decades, including such details as students taking train rides to Newport for a beach picnic around 1900, or the fact that tuition was $15 a year in 1909. Even the paid advertisements in the yearbooks have been digitized, giving a unique look at businesses around Corvallis and the mid-valley over the last century.

“The digitization of OSU’s yearbooks has long been a goal for the Special Collections & Archives Research Center,” said Larry Landis, director of the center. “They are one of the most used sources of OSU history, and now students and other researchers have access to them 24/7 via the web. As we move toward OSU’s sesquicentennial in 2018, all sources of OSU history will gain in importance.”

A goal, Landis said, is to have all major OSU publications available online. So far the OSU catalogs dating back to 1867 and all of the Extension and Experiment Station bulletins, circulars, and special reports are available online. Archival versions of the Oregon State alumni magazine and the Barometer student newspaper should be available by 2018.

“The yearbooks are important in that they provide a perspective of OSU from the students’ point of view,” Landis said. “In that sense they almost serve as the students’ annual report of the university.”

The collection will be a major resource for scholarly investigations into the OSU undergraduate experience, helping to chronicle student life, the campus climate, and the evolution of cultural trends, attitudes, and fashions.

The full text of this digital collection is keyword searchable, both across the collection and within an individual volume; online viewing of given volumes is user-friendly; and users can zoom into a page for easy reading.

All of this has been accomplished through the implementation of a new digital collections platform, called Hydra, through a collaboration of three divisions of OSU Libraries & Press staff. 

The school yearbook has variously been titled The Hayseed, The Orange and, since 1917, The Beaver. Two yearbooks were also published, in 1900 and 1905, as souvenir editions of The Barometer. The last-ever edition of the Beaver yearbook was published in 2014.


Story By: 

Larry Landis, 541-737-0540, larry.landis@oregonstate.edu

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The Hayseed

OSU Press publishes new book by Portland author Brian Doyle

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Award-winning Portland author Brian Doyle has written a new book that explores encounters with astounding animals and humans through a series of short vignettes that feature sons and daughters, inebriated robins, Charles Darwin and roasting squirrels, among others.

His book, “Children and Other Wild Animals,” has been published by the Oregon State University Press. It is available in bookstores, or may be ordered online at www.osupress.oregonstate.edu/book/children-and-other-wild-animals, or by calling 1-800-426-3797.

Doyle will read from his new book on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at OSU’s Valley Library Rotunda. The reading, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7:30 p.m. The event kicks off the 2014-15 OSU Presss Authors Across Oregon reading series. For more information on the series, visit www.osupress.oregonstate.edu/AuthorsAcrossOregon

Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland. He is the author more than books, including “Mink River, “The Plover” and “The Grail,” with its lengthy but descriptive subtitle, “A year rambling & shambling through an Oregon vineyard in pursuit of the best pinot noir wine in the whole wild world” (OSU Press, 2006). His essays have been published in Best American Essays and Best American Spiritual Writing anthologies.

“Children and Other Wild Animals” combines previously unpublished works with vignettes that have appeared in Orion, The Sun, Utne Reader, and other publications. Doyle’s trademark, quirky prose has been described as “at once lyrical, daring and refreshing; his essays are poignant but not pap, sharp but not sermons, and revelatory at every turn.”

One essay in the new book is “The Creature Beyond the Mountain,” which won the John Burroughs Award for outstanding nature essay. It is, Doyle says, his tribute to all things “sturgeonness.”

Sometimes you want to see the forest and not the trees. Sometimes you find yourself starving for what’s true, and not about a person but about all people. This is how religion and fascism were born, but it’s also why music is the greatest of arts, and why stories matter, and why we all cannot help staring at fires and great waters.”

Story By: 

Marty Brown, 541-737-3866; marty.brown@oregonstate.edu

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Brian Doyle
Brian Doyle

Valley Library celebrates 15 years

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is celebrating the Valley Library’s 15th anniversary this month with guided tours led by student employees highlighting the many services and resources the library provides, far beyond books and study space. 

Tours take place between 2 and 4 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 16, and run every 15 minutes (the final tour starts at 3:15 p.m.) They meet in the library foyer on the second floor.

Remodeling of Valley Library began in 1996, and was completed in 1999. Former university librarian Karyle Butcher oversaw the completion of the $47 million project, which improved the original Kerr Library. Kerr had been designed to store 750,000 volumes, approximately half of what Valley Library contains today.

The old building was designed long before computers and digital archives moved to the forefront of library technology. Valley Library has continued to adapt to changing technology, offering classrooms that allow for interactive multi-media lessons, like the Autzen, and providing services like 3-D printing.

Valley Library is also home to University Archives & Special Collections, which offers treasures ranging from dated manuscripts to the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers. It also includes many online collections accessible to anyone around the world.

Additionally, the library houses the OSU Press, one of the few thriving university presses in the Northwest, as well as the Center for Digital Scholarship, Oregon Explorer, ScholarsArchive, and Oregon Digital Collections.

To learn more, take one of the tours or visit: http://library.oregonstate.edu/

Story By: 

Faye Chadwell, 541-737-7300, faye.chadwell@oregonstate.edu

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falllibrary Valley Library

OSU seeks public’s help to transcribe historic letters from start of the Cold War

CORVALLIS, Ore. – After the atomic attack on Nagasaki at the end of World War II, America’s jubilation at the ending of the conflict turned to fear as the real implications of nuclear war began to sink in. In 1946, Albert Einstein founded the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists to educate the public on the dangers of atomic warfare and the mounting need for world peace.

A portion of the records from that committee are now available in an online exhibit through the Special Collections & Archives Research Center at Oregon State University Libraries and Press, and help is being sought from the public to transcribe the letters in the collection.

The exhibit includes documents and letters to and from the nine scientists making up the committee, including appeals for donations to support the group’s mission of peace.

Though only a portion of the collection has been loaded into the exhibit so far, each letter will be digitized and available for reading within the exhibit. Special Collections is crowdsourcing transcription of the letters, and encourages viewers to help create a full-text database of the letters' contents.

The collection was received at OSU as part of the personal papers of OSU alumnus and Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, who was a member of the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists. It includes thousands of letters, and responses to them, reflecting appeals from ordinary Americans. Citizens sent anything from $1 to $10,000, along with letters expressing deep fear about the new world they lived in. In a personal and intimate tone, they wrote to Einstein expressing their distress at the idea of such a powerful and destructive weapon, and lamented the potential for atomic war.

The exhibit explores the work of the committee and illustrates its story through items from Special Collection’s extensive nuclear history collections. It highlights different types of letters received by the committee, including letters of criticism, encouragement, and advice, and closes with a brief look at the impact of the committee’s efforts. 

The exhibit also features maps, timelines, and other interactive features via Viewshare, a platform from the Library of Congress that creates visualizations of digitized cultural heritage collections.

Viewers of the exhibit can also browse a comprehensive list of tags for each letter, showing city, state, and donation amount, as well as the occupation and organizational affiliation of the sender.

The exhibit is of interest to a broad swath of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, including the history of science and technology, peace studies, public policy, sociology, political science, communication, and more.

Story By: 

Anne Bahde, 541-737-3331 

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