Developing Special Collections of Interest to Local Communities

  • Iris Godwin Oregon Institute of Technology
  • Alla Powers Oregon Institute of Technology
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In the late 1950s, Oregon Technical Institute (OTI) in Klamath Falls, Oregon, was facing an uncertain future in its hometown. The former marine barrack facilities hosting the Institute were at the end of their lifetime and there was an offer to move OTI to Portland or Corvallis. Due in part to the concerted effort of the local community the Institute, now known as the Oregon Institute of Technology or Oregon Tech, is still located in Klamath Falls, on its geothermally heated campus. The Institute continues to maintain connections with the local community as an integral part of the university’s existence.

The Special Collections and University Archives strive to strengthen the relationship with local researchers by collecting and preserving materials of vital interest to the local community. This article covers community usage of the Oregon Tech Libraries’ Special Collections: the Shaw Historical Library (SHL), The Klamath Waters Digital Library (KWDL) and the University Archives Geo-Heat Collection (print and digital).


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Author Biographies

Iris Godwin, Oregon Institute of Technology

Iris Godwin is the Head of the Special Collections and University Archives at the Oregon Institute of Technology. For several years, she was Head of the Technical Services Department. She received her B.A. in history from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee and an MLIS from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with an emphasis on archives and special collections. In February of 2018, she earned the SAA Archives and Description Certificate. She currently serves on the Alliance, Unique and Local Content Team and chairs the Archival Collection Management Standing Group.

Alla Powers, Oregon Institute of Technology

My experience in the library world goes back to 1988. In my home country, Russia, I worked in academic and public library settings. In the United States I briefly worked in the Klamath County Library, and in 2004 I began my career in the Oregon Tech Library. Right from the start I was involved in both patron service and collection development, adding metadata to the scanned photographs for the Klamath Waters Digital Library. And so my love for digital content was born. Since then I expanded my experience by working with several digital collections. The work in the Special Collections is very versatile and challenging, and involves learning new skills. For example, mastering EAD encoding for creation of Finding Aids for the Archives West website.

How to Cite
Godwin, I., & Powers, A. (2020). Developing Special Collections of Interest to Local Communities. OLA Quarterly, 26(1), 9-16.