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June 21, 2012 / Charlie McNabb

Archives Visit: University of Oregon

I recently had the opportunity to visit the University of Oregon Digital Libraries Collection and Special Collections & University Archives, both housed in the Knight Library. Former Team Folklore colleague S.J. Rabun showed me around the public spaces as well as some nifty behind-the-scenes action.  For anybody living in or near Eugene, Oregon, I urge you to visit the UO Libraries. Not only is Knight Library the biggest library in the state of Oregon,  but the University is the premier research institution. The Archives are filled with incredible resources for academic and amateur scholars alike.

Rabun’s current work is with the Oregon Digital Newspaper Program, which digitizes and makes accessible historic Oregon newspapers from 1860-1922.  This initiative is under the umbrella of Digital Library Services, which also manages digital collections including but not limited to African Political Ephemera, Braceros in Oregon Photograph Collection, Historic Sheet Music, and Lesbian Intentional Communities photograph collections.  Here’s the general link for Digital Library Services:

I got to check out Image Services and the Conservation Lab.  Here are some photos!

This crazy machine is used to cut up historic newspapers so they can be repaired and digitized. It’s like a guillotine!

After they carefully apply heat resistant tape to any rips and tears, they iron the newspapers to flatten out the creases.

An enormous book press.

Various glues and waxes used to repair tears and brittle paper in the Conservation Lab.

I was thrilled to see a recent arrival in the Conservation Lab- homoerotic poetry from the 1850s written by some friend of Mark Twain! Apparently someone discovered it in their sewing machine and donated it.

After all the work area excitement, I checked out the public areas: the Special Collections reading room and the Microforms area.  Special Collections is where the physical materials live.  They include institutional records, medieval manuscripts, broadsides, poetry, ephemera, photographs, and much more. Check out the website:  Here are more photos of the lovely public spaces.

Microform stacks. Swoon!

The Special Collections reading room. Lovely hardwood shelving, long tables, comfortable chairs, and friendly and knowledgeable staff. Come visit!

Can you believe this gorgeous woodworking?

What a fabulous repository. Be sure to check out the ODNP blog to keep abreast of historic newspaper developments!


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