Summer Research Camp: Explore Oregon Historical Society Digital Collections

June 16, 2020

By Erin Brasell

In this 1903 photograph, Herman T. Bohlman and William L. Finley prepare a meal in their camp on the beach near Three Arch Rocks in Tillamook County, Oregon. The William L. Finley Photographs Collection (Org. Lot 369) is available digitally on OHS Digital Collections.

As the days (hopefully) get sunnier, and we all start to spend more time outdoors, the Dear Oregon team is going to downshift for summer — publishing one blog post per week beginning this week. This provides an opportunity for staff to regroup and plan for new and exciting offerings in the coming months. It also presents readers with an opportunity to dig a little deeper into OHS’s digital collections and projects, which we’ve highlighted in twice-weekly blog posts and in email digests during OHS’s closure to the public. It’s been a challenging three months filled with learning experiences — making connections between Oregon’s history and present day — that reinforced the importance of OHS’s mission of “preserv[ing] our state’s history and mak[ing] it accessible to everyone in ways that advance knowledge and inspire curiosity about all the people, places, and events that have shaped Oregon.”

In the spirit of inspiring curiosity, we challenge visitors to continue to learn about Oregon history through OHS Digital Collections. Consider it your own summer research camp, and this is your first lesson!

OHS launched its digital collections site in 2017, with the goal of providing high quality reproductions of materials from our research library collections to promote the use of primary source materials for teaching, learning, and research. Since the site launched, we have added over 28,000 items, including photographs, manuscripts, ephemera, oral histories, and most recently, film, and continue our work to make more of Oregon’s history available to all. Funded by private donors and foundations through the OHS FORWARD! capital campaign, investments in infrastructure such as the Digital Production Lab allow staff to digitize collections with greater speed and clarity than ever before. The necessity of remote learning this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic has further emphasized the importance of sharing digital access to collections.

Oregon Historical Society Digital Collections site
The OHS Digital Collections (OHSDC) site launched in 2017 and has since grown to a collection of over 28,000 items available to view online. OHS Research Library staff members are continually adding material, so be sure to check back often to see what OHSDC has to offer.

In that spirit, OHS Digital Collections Manager Mathieu Deschaine has created some short videos to serve as an introduction to OHS Digital Collections, to help readers navigate through collection materials, and describe how to view and understand the records.   We hope these videos are helpful and that you will be encouraged to search, use, and share these materials with fellow history buffs. Be sure to subscribe to our weekly email digest to learn about more fun ways to discover OHS collections during the hot days of summer.

Introduction to OHS Digital Collections

This video is an introduction to OHS Digital Collections and a quick rundown of navigation options on the home page,  intended for users who are brand new to the site and need a little more information about where to start.

Searching OHS Digital Collections

This video covers search options on OHS Digital Collections with some tips about constructing searches.  It covers viewing and interpreting search results, as well as some other places to look for more information about OHS Library Collections.

Viewing Items on OHS Digital Collections

This video covers navigating collections on OHS Digital Collections, viewing items, and understanding item descriptions.

Erin Brasell’s Other Posts

The views expressed in user comments do not reflect the views of OHS. The Oregon Historical Society does not participate in political campaigns, nor do we support or oppose candidates.