Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

May 31, 2002

Whitworth, Regional Institutions Receive Grant for Digital Archives Project

Whitworth College is part of a consortium of 13 institutions in the Pacific Northwest that have received a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create a shared database known as the Northwest Digital Archives. The two-year grant will provide for training and resources to digitize the guides to participating institutions' archival collections.

The digitized guides will be encoded in a standard format and will be available online through a searchable database, allowing users to learn what resources exist at each institution and how to access the materials at the host site.

"Users of archival collections are aware that locating materials on specific topics can be difficult and time consuming," says Whitworth Archivist and Project Director Janet Hauck. "The Northwest Digital Archives will allow researchers to enter a keyword into an online catalog of the archival holdings of the 13 member institutions, and the researcher will receive a list of desired materials and their locations throughout the region."

Actual archival materials won't be included in the new, combined catalog, Hauck says, although digital versions of the materials in many of the collections will most likely be added in the future.

In addition to Whitworth, participating universities in the Northwest Digital Archives project include Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington University, the University of Idaho, and the University of Montana.

Other participating institutions include the Oregon Historical Society, the Montana Historical Society, the Washington State Archives, and the Seattle Municipal Archives.

"As one of the smallest participating institutions, Whitworth will benefit greatly from the project," Hauck says. "The variation in institution size is viewed as an asset to the project, since each archival collection, large or small, is unique."

The 13 institutions house a total of 2,300 collections covering such topics as the region's political history and the Northwest's resource-based economy, including forestry, agriculture, fishing and mining. Collections at OSU include items from the career of Nobel Prize laureate Linus Pauling and materials from the career of environmentalist and photographer William L. Finley, while the University of Washington houses a collection on longtime U.S. Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson.

Whitworth's unique contribution to the digital archives is its collection detailing the history of Protestantism in the Pacific Northwest, Hauck says.

"Religious archival collections have been typically underrepresented, especially in this region," Hauck says. "The Whitworth Archive includes the complete records of many Protestant churches and other faith-based groups throughout the Pacific Northwest. The archive also includes 50 diaries written by George Whitworth, who founded 20 churches in the Northwest as well as the college bearing his name, and 20 diaries written by George Whitworth's wife, Mary."

When completed, the Northwest Digital Archives will be housed at Washington State University.


Janet Hauck, Whitworth Archivist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4751 or jhauck@whitworth.edu.

Hans Bynagle, director of Harriet Cheney Cowles Memorial Library, Whitworth College, (509) 777- 4482 or hbynagle@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu .

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