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Archive for January, 2012

Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA) database

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

The Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA) provides enhanced access to archival and manuscript collections in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington through a union database of Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aids.

SCUA contributes our online finding aids to NWDA to make them accessible on the web. To date we have 572 finding aids in the system. Over the past year we have developed new, enhanced procedures that will enable us to add more finding aids than ever before to NWDA.

The Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology defines a finding aid as:

n. ~ 1. A tool that facilitates discovery of information within a collection of records. – 2. A description of records that gives the repository physical and intellectual control over the materials and that assists users to gain access to and understand the materials.

Put more simply, a finding aid is a document that provides information about a specific collection.

There are many ways to search NWDA and on an upcoming post we’ll have tips for locating our finding aids.

SCUA also has paper finding aids available in the Paulson Reading Room. Many collections only have a paper finding aid to date. Even some collections that have NWDA finding aids may have paper finding aids with additional information or more detailed information.

Meet the staff

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Here’s a list of our hardworking staff.  In the coming months we will be posting short profiles of each staff member including descriptions of their positions and activities  in the department. We hope this will serve as a resource to help people figure out the best person to contact with questions.

Name (alpha order) Title Phone Number
James D. Fox Head of SCUA 541-346-1904
Normandy Helmer Access & Preservation Officer 541-346-1864
Kira Homo Electronic Records Archivist 541-346-2487
Linda Long Manuscripts Librarian 541-346-1906
Tanya Parlet Project Archivist (NHPRC) 541-346-1899
Marilyn Reaves Assistant to the Head of SCUA 541-346-1949
Cassandra (Cassie) Schmitt Archivist (Collections Management) 541-346-1597
Bruce Tabb Rare Books & Public Services Librarian 541-346-1846
Vacant Collections Coordinator
Vacant Corrigan Solari University Historian and Archivst

We will be sure to update and introduce our new staff members as our searches for vacant positions conclude over the next several months.


Defining hidden collections

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

“Hidden Collections” is certainly a buzz term in the library and archives world. The term is sometimes used to discuss different types of materials. The best definition I have found comes from OCLC’s Survey of Special Collections and Archives in the US and Canada:

“Hidden collections” are those special collections and archives that are undescribed or underdescribed, and therefore undiscoverable.

Many of our collections fall into this category. These collections are open for research, but users typically do not know they exist unless they speak with a staff member who can point them towards a specific collection or they have found out about it from another user.

Here are the characteristics of collections we consider “hidden”:

  • Collection has no online finding aid and/or online library catalog record
  • Collections would only be used if staff alerted users in some way (in person at the reference desk, phone, email) to its existence or another user who has utilized the collections has described it in some way (could be word of mouth, blog post, citation in papers, articles, or books)
  • While we do have listings of the majority of our collections on our website, we still consider the majority of these “hidden” as the website only lists the name of the collection and call number. This does not provide enough information to make the collection discoverable.

SCUA is committed to making the existence of these collections known online so that all users can know about their existence. As we make progress on our Uncovering Hidden Collections project we will be posting updates about the collections here (in addition to NWDA and the library catalog).

Winter term hours

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Hours for winter term, January 9 through March 23 are as follows:

  • Monday-Friday, 10am to 4:30pm
  • Saturday, 11am to 4:30pm
  • Sunday, closed

Paging ceases half an hour before closing.

At times we may close for events so please check our Hours page for updates.

We encourage travelers to contact us before planning a trip so we can confirm our hours and make sure the collections you need are available when you arrive.

Paging materials from our off site storage location may take additional time as well are currently down two staff members.  Please contact us with as much advance notice if you know the materials you are interested in seeing are stored off site.

Uncovering Hidden Collections: NHPRC grant intro

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

In October 2011 SCUA began working on an important project: Uncovering Hidden Archives and Manuscript Collections in Special Collections and University Archives. This project is generously supported by a two-year grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a division of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

The project will create access to hidden historical materials in SCUA by creating electronic, collection-level records (series-level for University Archives collections when appropriate) for 1,128 collections of manuscripts and university records.

The goals of the project are:

  • to provide basic, intellectual access to permanent university archives and manuscript collections.
  • to create EAD finding aids, deposited into Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA), and MARC records, deposited into the UO library catalog, for 1,128 collections.
  • to make reappraisal decisions on collections that may no longer fit the collecting goals of the department.

We will be sharing our progress as well as information about collections made available during the grant here, so stay tuned!


Monday, January 9th, 2012

Welcome to the blog for Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Oregon Libraries!

We are excited to start sharing information about the diverse and wonderful resources we have available.  Here are a few examples of the types of posts we will be publishing:

  • Announcements
  • Information about events and presentations
  • Tips on finding SCUA materials
  • Information about newly available collections
  • Highlights of interesting collections
  • Statistics of reference use
  • Publications using SCUA materials
  • Classes and primary source instruction
  • Project updates
  • And much more!

Stay tuned and as always please let us know if you have any questions.

You can reach the Paulson Reading Room reference desk at 541-346-3068 or send us a reference email at: spcarref@uoregon.edu