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Free website launches with 80,000 Oregon and Washington historical, cultural documents

Train wreck near Pendleton, Oregon, 1907.
Northwest Digital Heritage
Train wreck near Pendleton, Oregon, 1907.

A new online platform, called Northwest Digital Heritage, offers users free access to 80,000 historical and cultural records from 60 institutions in Oregon and Washington.

The Oregon Heritage Commission, the State Library of Oregon, and Washington State Library teamed up on the project. It allows libraries, museums, and cultural heritage groups to digitize and share their collections for a wider audience than they’d receive individually.

“So it’s very easy and accessible by the everyday public or researcher or historian, that wants to look for information,” explained Katie Henry, coordinator for the Oregon Heritage Commission. “Being a service hub for the Digital Public Libraries of America, it’s a national platform.

“So Oregon’s great history can be accessed by people across the entire nation.”

Northwest Digital Heritage launched Tuesday.  Henry expected the online offerings to expand as they continue work with regional museums, historical groups and libraries.

“Small, often rural organizations have limited people and capacity and money to preserve their heritage collections,” said Henry. “And digitization often comes up as a way to preserve archives and collections in general.

“We just want to make sure there’s a pathway for those organizations to get their collections digitized in a way that actually preserves them, which is more complex than just scanning a photo.”

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Brian Bull