Courtesy of Alfons Morales via Unsplash

Northwest Digital Heritage (NWDH) — a Washington State Library, State Library of Oregon, and Oregon Heritage Commission collaboration — is now a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) “service hub” enabling local cultural institutions to make their digital archives more visible and accessible nationwide.

“Cultural heritage organizations have been digitizing archival and special collections for more than two decades, but many of these collections are dispersed across the internet in multiple locations,” said Washington State librarian Sara Jones in a prepared statement. “The Northwest Digital Heritage initiative combines state and local resources to give historians, researchers, teachers, journalists, and the general public across the country easier and more convenient access to our historical treasures.”

As a DPLA “service hub,” NWDH provides cultural institutions the following services:

  • Metadata “Harvesting,” through which records are copied from their home systems, standardized, and then transferred to DPLA;
  • Digital Collection Hosting, which offers smaller institutions an online platform to host their digitized items including historical documents, photographs, oral-history recordings, and more;
  • Training and Support, through which service hub staff, composed of teams at both state libraries and the Oregon Heritage Commission, train cultural heritage organizations to digitize collections, edit, and preserve digital files, and catalog material to archival standards.

Northwest Digital Heritage’s inaugural data set includes archives from more than 70 contributing institutions, with more expected to join later this year and in 2022. Many of these materials were digitized through Washington State Library’s Washington Rural Heritage program, a community digitization model that will be expanded to Oregon through this partnership.