Northwest Digital Archives opens up GFU, other archival collections

Over one hundred additional archival collections at liberal-arts colleges in Washington and Oregon are now accessible on Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA).

Funded by a $123,188 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the granting arm of the National Archives and Records Administration, the project is assisting seven small liberal-arts colleges in Oregon and Washington with archival program development and expose basic information about their collections to researchers. Northwest Digital Archives is a program of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, a consortium of academic libraries in Oregon and Washington.

The project involves significant records held by small private colleges and universities in Washington and Oregon that document the activities of religious groups in the Northwest, including their roles in the development of educational institutions and the settlement of the Northwest. The religious groups documented include the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Society of Friends (Quakers), American Baptists, Jesuits, Free Methodists, and Congregationalists. Other topics include local and neighborhood history; the history of the Oregon wine industry, and the activities of individuals and organizations.

Institutions participating in the project are Concordia University, George Fox University, Linfield College, Pacific University, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, and the University of Puget Sound.

Each institution has worked with a consulting archivist to complete collection surveys of approximately 5,783 linear feet of materials at all seven institutions, produce catalog records and finding aids for collections, and make those catalog records and finding aids available to researchers in library catalogs and through the NWDA database (nwda.orbiscascade.org). The consulting archivists are also working with participating institutions to effectively advocate for archival program development.

Participating institutions were gratified to report immediate increases in collection use directly attributable to the grant. When the project concludes in June 2012, all participants expect increased use of their collections and a documented increase in institutional support for their archives programs.

About the Orbis Cascade Alliance:  The Alliance provides the popular Summit union catalog that allows students, faculty, and staff to easily search and request library materials owned by member libraries.  To provide fast, efficient delivery, the Alliance maintains a courier service providing daily pick-up and delivery of library materials at libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The Alliance also provides cooperative purchasing opportunities for databases, electronic journals, and other digital library services.

For more information, contact Jodi Allison-Bunnell, Northwest Digital Archives Program Manager, Orbis Cascade Alliance, 406-829-6528, jodiab@uoregon.edu

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